Kids and virtual worlds: the ever-growing market

Virtual worlds metrics gurus, Kzero, have done some further hypothesising on the growth of the kids market for virtual worlds in the next year or two.

If the prediction of 110 million kids using virtual worlds by 2010 is close to the mark, even the most cynical corporates are going to start taking notice. Take Hello Kitty as an example. That one brand is likely to draw an enormous following if their latest trailer is anything to go by:

Hello Kitty virtual world on the way

Hello Kitty Online is likely to be one of the larger virtual world launches in 2008. If you know any child under twelve you’ll likely have been exposed to this franchise and it also has a teen / young adult following in some countries. It’s development is currently in the closed beta phase with a launch expected second half of this year.


The description of the environment:

“This game is not just about fighting monsters – there are many activities for players to choose from. Aside from the monster-filled adventure areas, players can dig for ore in a mine, or range the forests to pick fruit from trees. Farming allows you to plant, grow and harvest your own crops; be sure to take good care of your crops so you will have a good harvest, and if you have a healthy farm you can even show it off to your online friends! You can use many other skills like cooking, tailoring, making furniture, and building houses. Commerce with other players will allow you to make a living and – perhaps – even get rich!”


It’s classic game-based virtual world fare that when combined with a large fan base, is likely to generate a lot of interest. There’ll be no subscription fees – revenue is will be generated from in-world commerce.

The full media release text:

“Sanrio Digital’s “Hello Kitty Online” accepting players for closed beta

Hong Kong – February 13, 2008: Sanrio Digital ( today announced the closed beta launch of “Hello Kitty Online”, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) based on the famous Sanrio characters. Hello Kitty Online allows players to explore and adventure in Sanrio’s fantasy world, a magical land that has recently fallen under the influence of a mysterious and malevolent power.

Players for the closed beta version are invited to apply at the official game site ( or community site ( and experience Hello Kitty Online in advance of the game release expected in the second half of 2008. Targeting female players from their pre-teens to twenties, Hello Kitty Online is the first installable MMORPG to set its sights on this demographic profile.

Hello Kitty Online is fully integrated with official Sanrio portal, which utilizes blogs, email, video sharing, Sanrio merchandise sales and more to create a digital and social experience accessible at any time. Players of Hello Kitty Online can extend their game experience on by interacting with other players, purchasing upgrades for their in-game characters, etc.

In addition to the standard MMORPG features such as customizable avatars, guilds, skill systems, and player economy, some of the outstanding Hello Kitty Online features include:

Unique game world: a persistent, beautifully designed environment where thousands of players and NPCs live, explore and quest in a magical world with real and imaginary zones such as the Flower Kingdom, Tokyo, Paris, Moscow, and more. Real world locations offer players the ability to learn about those places.

Unique NPCs: players will encounter and interact with popular Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty, Badtz-Maru, My Melody, Keroppi, and many others, all animated with a variety of contextual facial-expressions.

Free to play: Hello Kitty Online is downloaded and played free of charge. There are no subscription fees.

Character upgrades: the Item Mall allows players to use real money to purchase special items and upgrades for characters.

Player housing: players can build and customize their own houses after acquiring the necessary licenses and materials. Houses depreciate over time and need to be maintained properly or will fall in disuse. A homeowner can invite someone to visit by making an in-game telephone call, and the player called will automatically be transported to the house if she agrees.

Crafting system: Hello Kitty Online has an extensive crafting system with output such as tools & weapons, farming implements & furniture, a wide variety of cooked dishes, and clothing for decorative and stat-modifying items. Raw materials include wood, minerals and metals, and crops.

Farming: players can run their own farms, which offer extra storage room and have the potential to produce important raw materials. The farming system incorporates a number of variables such as fertility, pest infestations, and crop characteristics.

A different focus: although it has a sophisticated combat system, unlike other MMORPGs combat need not be a primary objective for players of Hello Kitty Online. There are many puzzles to be solved, mini-games to compete in, story lines to follow, and adventures to experience.”

Previous Posts