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Casual worlds and MMOGs are proliferating February 29, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in games, gaming, kids, mmorpg, strategy, virtual worlds.

The casual world and MMOG space is getting increasingly crowded. Many of the big media companies are launching virtual worlds now, often targeted at kids. Disney just launched Pixie Hollow, to go with its other virtual worlds, Toon Town, Pirates of the Caribbean Online and Club Penguin, and have reorganized to focus on launching more – investing up to $100m in new online world launches. Nickelodeon, MTV, Cartoon Network, and others are all also throwing their money and brands against portfolios of virtual worlds launches.

Another trend is the expansion of physical toys into virtual worlds. Webkinz led the way here, but many more toy companies are leveraging their offline distribution and brand recognition to create virtual worlds loosely coupled to a physical toy, including Barbie, Beanie Babies, Lego, Build-a-bear, Bella Sara and many more. The BarbieGirls virtual world hit 10 million registered users in 10 months, a remarkable growth rate for a virtual world. (Second Life reports 12.5m residents, equivalent to a registered user, and has been around since 1999).

In addition to these branded launches, a number of companies are bringing a portfolio of asian MMOGs to the West, including K2 Network, IGG, Acclaim, Aeria and OutSpark.

Startups looking to launch a single title MMO in this environment should think carefully about their player acquisition strategy, and how they will be able to stand out in an increasingly crowded environment. It is not enough to simply build a better product. With such a plethora of choice available, your users may not even get to try you to discover how much better you are. Smart approaches may include explicit plans for viral growth, particular expertise in user acquisition, targeting a less saturated demographic or genre, and novel channel strategies. But the best teams will always find a way to be successful in even this highly competitive environment.


1. Robert Brackenridge - February 29, 2008

If you think about the stage of this industry you can see a similar development where many of the competitors (those that offer something unique to the mix) will be aggregated into a common collection, a roll up if you will. We already see this in television, where programs are grouped into channels which have some sort of theme and organization.

IMHO, there is plenty of room for the wave of competitors, especially when you consider the shifting viewer habits. The new show with a compelling storyline and audience appeal will always have an opportunity to prove itself in the market.

It is interesting though that a company on the internet can put together something informal and play with it for a while, but a network will give you only one shot at it. If you don’t hit the required number of viewers, you’re gone. I hope the internet remains an area where content can continue to develop and ultimately find its niche.

2. Casual worlds and MMOGs are proliferating - February 29, 2008

[…] Read the rest of this great post here […]

3. Oren Raboy - February 29, 2008

This is a good point. The casual/web/mmog marketplace has surely changed in the last year with both many independent and “branded” games (at a wide-spectrum of quality and success)

two additional observations:

– New ventures should not only think about initial user/player acquisition, but also on longer term players retention and engagement. The fact there are so many choices nowadays make the challenge bigger than ever – and since the business-model for these projects often relies on virtual-goods and commerce, repeat/committed users are vital for actual success.

– It appears to me that this growth in demand should-be/is creating a need for infrastructure to make it much cheaper, faster and easier to launch a new concept/game.. To a point where the complexity in building such an mmo is on-part with (say) building a “web2.0 website” today… The effort should be in coming up with that unique idea/niche/distribution-model and not dealing with the common complexities of building&running a service. We’re not there yet, there’s only a handful of efforts taking a stab at that, but I expect we’d see more in the near-term


4. Gaia’s new MMO is likely to become a major contender « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - April 30, 2008

[…] the kids/teens based MMOG world is getting increasingly crowded, especially as the media companies like Disney and Nickelodean launch new games, I think […]

5. Ron Buchino - October 11, 2008

New Meaning to “Social Site”

Online Mafia Mob game goes Hollywood!

New York

Online Mafia-themed game http://www.MafiaMob.com released its second “MafiaMob Web Episode” this weekend. The response has been astounding and emails have been pouring in as members of the online site try to get ‘made’ and earn a part in the next episode. Who wouldn’t want to be in a Mafia series!
Creator Ron Gastelu envisioned MafiaMob.com as more than just an online game. “Imagine a game on the web that combines the elements of a social network and puts its own players into broadcast quality films.” Gastelu adds, “The Web is where television is headed. The major networks are positioning themselves on the internet for the future battle against millions of web television stations like MafiaMob.TV.” With radio advertisements on Sirius Satellite radio’s Howard Stern channel and upcoming spots on XM, MafiaMob.com has plans to produce new episodes every month, that everyone can watch them for free at (www.mafiamob.TV). MafiaMob.com is owned by Groove Club LLC, a New Jersey based production company behind a series of entertainment projects.

Groove Club LLC is presently seeking a game partner.

6. Dottdogg - December 6, 2008


La Cosa Nostra is the most realistic mafia game on the internet. You will start your new life off as a civilian. you will have 2 options you can either join a family or you can create your own. Joining a family will place you as a associate and you will have to work your way up to becoming a made man in the family. You can become a caporegime and run your own crew of soldiers and associates. You will do criminal activities such as robbing a bank, hijacking trucks, producing drugs, going on union strikes and much more.

Join now and live the life of a mobster

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