A Canadian digital entertainment company, GS New Media, have announced development of a virtual world based on The Saddle Club ™ TV show, a Canadian (Protocol Entertainment) and Australian (Crawford Productions) co-production. It’s a show targeted squarely at pre-teen kids with a heavy female slant.
Crawford Productions Pty Ltd. (Australia) and Protocol Entertainment, Inc. (Canada)
The platform for the world will be Sun Microsystems’ Project Darkstar, which can be seen here:
For a glimpse of the tween fan base for the show:
The purpose for the development is not surprising and transparently stated:
“The online tween and teen market is a hot spot for investors and advertiser alike, a result of critical user mass meeting proven subscription-based business models. More than $1 billion was invested in 2007 in virtual world companies with an additional $185 million committed in the first quarter of 2008 alone.”
GS New Media have some fairly subsantial people on board although this it’s the company’s first development of this scale.
This is the type of virtual world development (like Hello Kitty) that’s leveraging off a huge fan base. The perpetual challenge is to convert that group into devoted virtual world users. There’s plenty of failures in these developments but at this early stage you’d have to put money on some degree of success with the popularity of the franchise.
2009 is the broad launch date. I can already hear the squeals of a few hundred thousand or more tweens…