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Virtual wrolds 2007: TyGirlz.com case study

Case Study: TyGirlz.com – Building the First Virtual World for Girls
What does it take to develop a kids virtual world from the ground up? From concept, to design to ongoing updates and user community issues: come find out how to develop a highly scaleable web-based virtual world. Animax Entertainment, the developers of the TyGirlz.com virtual world for toy company Ty, Inc.’s Ty Girlz brand will share best practices established during the development of the TyGirlz.com web site and virtual world.
– Michael Bellavia, Managing Director, Animax Entertainment

– creates character driven content and experiences for all screens
– founded in 2001
– hq: LA/Toronto & Kiev
– staff of 95
– 2005 winner of first ever broadband emmy
– 2006 nominated for another family
– webbys, web awards, LA Ad club

– lean back – broadcast animation
– lean forward – websites, games, vws, interatcive learning
– clients: ty, film roman, kodak, abc family, bet,
– white label apprach to vw developemnt

producers guild new media council
american film institue new media

Were charged to produce a kid safe, girl focused vw for a new product intro in a crowded competitive makrtet…
– they took it as simply “sell more dolls”

rfp was recieved in january
– finished in 2 months
– partnered with tokenzo (?)

others in space (that I haven’t explored yet)
– maple story
– horseland
– shinging stars
– kookeys
– t-works

rather inappropriate presenter
– dissed some of his competitor and had very sarcastic tone with client
– said that when users ask about boys in the world it “gets the girls all titilated” (?!)
– said 3D avs are creepy in this space/demo

must haves:
– focus on kids and specifically girls
– focus on safety – clised-end, controlled, moderated environment
– no ads
– simple
– lo-fi vs hi-fi
– browser based, no downloads
– virtual economy
– virtual rewards
– no subscription fees
– tiers

– pure flash front end
– as2 transitioning to as3
– mult development teams in mutl time zones

topics he think are still not resolved:
– can you launch a toy without web presence
– does a toy have value?
– is there value in being the indoctrinator of virtual world play patterns?
– can you transition kids to more age appropriate worlds as they grow older? can you “own” them?
– how many profiles will kids maintian? is there an opportunity for cooperation across species?
– does kid fickle factor ovrcome switching costs
– do kids get as jazzed as adults by new technologies wll they prefer smart toys or even playful devices over toys are toys dead?
– will parents get fed up?

question: size of support team?
– initally had moderators that were visible
– now moderators are not visible
– moderation is contracted out. didn’t say who by

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Virtual Worlds 2007 – Designing Stickier Virtual Worlds Talk

Technical Perspective: Designing Stickier Virtual Worlds Builds
What are the key elements of a truly engaging build that can attract and retain significant avatar traffic, and what level of technical complexity is involved in creating them? This presentation will explore how design and ongoing creative programming can keep digital tumbleweed from blowing across an island, and specifically describe some of the technical challenges and solutions associated with innovative programming. It is intended to help brand managers and developers get a behind-the-scenes sense of the work that goes into a virtual world campaign, along with costs and technical complexity associated with various activities. This presentation is for technically sophisticated brand managers, creative staff with technical experience, and developers. It will require an intermediate understanding of basic principles and technologies underlying virtual worlds. Attendees will gain perspective from the intersection of creative programming and technical logistics, learning: -the technical possibilities and limitations of virtual worlds platforms -how near- and long-term technical advancements will expand the possibilities for creative programming.
– Christian Lassonde, President, Millions of Us Inc.

Wht is sticky?  What makes the experience sticky?  What have we leaberned from previous media

Classic example – ebay
– sticky from auctioneer nand buyer perspective

Now we act synchronusly and face to fave (avatar)

principle #1 – change and make it obvious to user
– people form a theory about whether an experience will change within the first few moments
– as designers we must convey that an experience will change and how a user can participate

principle #2 – percieved popularity
– nodbody goes there nymore, it’s too crowded

What to do? – Events?
– events clearly spike traffic,
– can be costly,
– user ownership and particpationis more effective,
– open ended storytelling most effective

how do you make the users come back afetr the events

storytelling is key and letting them help develop it

user-driven change
– how do you show the user that change has happened.  you have stats, but the user coming in needs to see that otehrs were there if they are not immediately apparent

2.5D isometric worlds
– gaia, zwintopia,

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Virtual Worlds Forum Interview

Lizzie: What do you think draws children towards immersive environments and virtual worlds?

Joi: I think role playing, that playset, that play house thing and
that play pattern has always been there. And I think what’s happening
now is that technology is just allowing that experience to be played
out in a different way…Allowing them to go into those virtual worlds
and actually be that character, be the doll, be whoever they were going
to be as opposed to just holding the dolls and playing so….

Lizzie: This is a natural extension?

Joi: I would say so…I think virtual worlds are very much at the
beginning and of course kids are always right there in all the stuff.
Kids are always right there, right at the beginning when something
comes out. I don’t think the virtual worlds that are out right now have
really figured it out. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Lizzie: What needs to be there to get children going?

Joi: I definitely think games…I think the video games right now,
especially the first person, real time, strategy type of things? Those
ones are really hitting it…If you need that complete immersion you
definitely have to have game play, you definitely have to have
interaction between the users, they have to communicate with each other
and not be hindered by a specific list of words or pre-defined chat.

Lizzie: Should businesses launch their own virtual worlds?

Joi: Is your audience, you know, screaming they want to get to that next level or is it just because it’s in the news right now? I think there’s a lot of those really basic questions that people have skipped over. Do you need a virtual world? How are you going to justify the costs? These are questions…I don’t see people having those kinds of conversations. I think the hype is making people skip some basic strategy questions.

Virtual Worlds Forum Blog » Blog Archive » Interview with Joi Podgorny

Even though my name is spelled wrong (the “r n” DOES look like a “m”) and I have a tendency to say “you know” way to much, still fun to show off another interview.  🙂

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Day 2 OCS 2007 Notes

Demos:
– Forum One – Live Interviews
– Telligent
– Sun- Java forum
– Youtube for Nonprofits
– Online Community Research Network
– Liveworld’s Moderation tools (and Digital Korea book plug)
– Groupswim
– Community Services Platform

Breakouts I have been to
– Social Media Stratgeies
– Youth Communities

——

Presidential Campaigns and Online Communities
Description: Every four years the presidential campaigns get way out ahead of everyone else in the use of interactive technologies. What is their experience to date?
Introductory comments: Michael Slaby / Obama for America
Introductory comments: Stuart Trevelyan / NGP Software

my.barackobama.com
– timeline on presidential campaigns is very different
– myspace, facebook
– eventful
– glee, faithbased, blackplanet, xanga
– not pandering to everyone, but find them where they are
– tailor your message to the audience you are talking to
– guidelines involve not just play, we need help
– even internal/external support
– can track offline participation
– no message boards

NGP Software
– works with all the campaigns
– climate of the campaigns has changed dramatically in the past decade, or even still 2004
– used to be tech or marketing people, now they are the commmunity
– tons of experimentation
– ROI on social networks friend gathering is still hazy
– using them as a launch pad
– Working Assets module

——-

Now What?
Description: What are the most significant trends and opportunities looking forward?
Introductory comments: David Forrest / Motley Fool
Introductory comments: Bill Johnston / Forum One Communications
Discussion

supernova of social media
– building the platform
– allow for reputation to be built
– provide sustainable incentiv
– solve a problem

prediction
– the novelty of contribution will diminsh
– implicit collaboration will explode

3 calls to action
– use what we are learning – expereiment with welcome emails, look at Mech turk
– always answer both questions – how is this good for the customer and org?
– lets be bff and kit 🙂 rfh – request for help

book:
5 elements of user design

ROI Survey results
– dimensions of value – results on wiki
– corporate communities
    – roi iis expected soon
    – comm is in flux (ownership, roles, funding)
    – comps struggling with strategy
    – corp web is evoloving – audienc eis expecting bi-directional communication
    – attention is saturated

what are the big take aways
– recognition programs
– building the confidence to defend
– comm profs having to wear so many hats
– 3rd party apps/sites and whether they are going to remain in the limelight

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Unedited YPulse Mashup notes

ypulse mashup

Kyra Reppen, SVP and GM Neopets

5 keys to tweendom
– control
– social
– safety
– self expresion
– fun

JAX is toy partner with special codes that unlock things

trends to watch for
– media convergence
– hybrid business
– mobile is everything
– shared entertainment experiences

expanding into neo studios
– developing new vws

Question re: where did learning go from neopets now that viacom bought
– handled well – talked about how the games are more covert learning – web design, html, critical thinking, etc

—-

Old School to New School

Byron Cahill, Editor, read Mag

—-

Tweens Online: Permission is Key

Denise Tayloe, CEO, Privo, Privacy Vaults Online

YAY!  I Love her

—-

Kajeet

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OCR Interview

This month’s Online Community Expert interview is with Joi Podgorny of Ludorum, Inc. Joi’s area of expertise is the post-Facebook crowd, Tweens and Children.

OC Expert Interview: Joi Podgorny, Ludorum, Inc. – Online Community Report

Wanted to post a link to an interview I did with Bill Johnston at the Online Community Report. I was able to talk about tons of different areas that I am interested in, in our industry.

Also, working on finishing Izzy and I’s first podcast. I will post when we are done with that – audio editing is hard! 🙂 Big week!

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Kids online podcast

I’m jumping the gun– but I’m giving ya’ll a weekend heads up. Ms. Joi Podgorny and I will be starting a podcast regarding kid communities, kid media, online media, and entertainment. Why? Because I strong arm her into thoughtful chats nearly every day (or vice versa)– and (if you’ve followed this blog at all you’d know–>) I love to ramble, and she does too. So, between me & joi, you’re gonna get a HUGE dose of everything-ness (and yes, that’s my new technical term).If you are interested in participating in our adventure, let us know.

We’ve already started a “wish list” of contibutors (and if you and I have previously spoken, or you’ve ever come into contact with this blog –> you’re probably already on that wish list).

Podcast. Modcast. Tween Cast. Kid cast. Us-cast? « Izzy Neis

Brilliant Suess-esque title of this post from Izzy and of course wanted to alert everyone that this is what we are thinking. I am a podcasting junkie and thought it was high time I added my (and Izzy’s) voice to the dull murmur of voices online. Plus, I have yet to find a good podcast about the kids online business. If you know of one, please let me know.

So, starting this week, Izzy and I are going to record one of our weekly chats about kids online and share it via rss with all of you. Like Izzy said, the format we want to try is the two of us, a guest and a online-kid-centric topic, so if you are interested in also being recorded talking about kids online, let one or both of us know.

Wish us luck and stay tuned!

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