(Left: I created a virtual Jowyang, complete with spiky black hair)
Habbo is a web based play world, a better description than a virtual game, a cross-combination of Cyworld, and a neopet, much in the spirit of Club Penguin, which I was experimenting with in 2006. The graphics are simple 2-D bite based graphics, it’s a cute design.
I dipped into Habbo world after reading James Wagner Au’s excellent coverage of this new virtual experience, Weekend Feature: The How of Habbo Hotel, see other conversations. I created a new character, started a very spartan room (but have not earned enough coins to add furniture) and saw groups, games and met others. The room I created? The web strategy room of course.
I found the country segmentation interesting, this will help to create separate communities around cultures, there’s certainly a nationalistic spirit as members can purchase national flags to sport and wave.
What’s fascinating is he Habbo coins, which are a virtual currency, which can help buy and sell virtual items that don’t exist in real life. Since members can continue to create their own spaces, and perhaps goods, it’s a self-perpetuating economy. It appears this world is aimed at 8-18 year olds, on a global basis, there’s advertising opportunities. I’ll try to get my hands on some demographic and media information, that would help me to better understand the opportunity. Other interesting events include a film award, which is awarding members who create their own films within Habbo world.
My take? While there are many virtual worlds appearing, (see this growing list) it’s still too early to tell who will be a dominant winner, it’s an emerging industry, I predict that these worlds will start to segment by culture and demographic, and the savvy worlds will grow as their demographic ages. I took some screenshots, to save you from registering, creating a character, and learning the navigation. As I get more information, I’ll post details.