Viacom’s 1 Meeeellion Dollar gift to its Virtual Worlds

MTV/Nickelodeon to Invest $100M in Casual Gaming, Changes for Nicktropolis, AddictingGames, Neopets

NMTV Networks’ Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group today announced that it would invest $100 million over the next two years in casual gaming titles, sites and platforms. Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group President Cyma Zarghami said that “with more than 86% of kids 8 to 14 gaming online, we see great momentum for online casual gaming. This investment will not only benefit our audiences, but also our marketing and distribution partners.” To build into that space the group will be undertaking three major changes for Nicktropolis, AddictingGames, and Neopets.

To capture some of the casual gaming market, Nicktropolis will now include cooperative multiplayer games as a part of the online world in addition to its social functions. Nick.com’s New Game of the Week franchise will also begin focusing on multiplayer experiences. From their grouping in the release, maybe there will be some crossover here.

In the other direction, MTV-owned property AddictingGames will be expanding into the virtual worlds space. AddictingGames recently partnered with Habbo Hotel and has an existing partnership with sister site
Neopets. The new project will be titled AddictingWorlds and will feature a variety of virtual worlds and casual MMOGs.

Lastly, Neopets will be changing to Neostudios. The group will continue to support Neopets, but it will also be focusing on developing new virtual worlds. The first world will launch at the end of 2008, and the company aims to release a new world each year.

Virtual Worlds News: MTV/Nickelodeon to Invest $100M in Casual Gaming, Changes for Nicktropolis, AddictingGames, Neopets

…Well well well. Interesting right?

While everyone else is shifting focus from social network platforms (myspace) to virutal worlds (webkinz & club penguin & second life) back to social network platforms w/applications (facebook)… MTV is sticking to it’s surreal life guns.

Thoughts:

a) “100 miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillion dollars” -Dr. Evil

b) Nicktropolis needs that money & the additions to the site. Again, my complaint is that it is based around “roaming roaming roaming” and barely anything interesting. I love Nickelodeon. I have high expectations. I’m hoping they come through with this money.

c) Addicting games is like “the place to be” — I swear. Whenever I ask kids where they go– consistently across the board for BOTH genders, it’s “addicting games” from kids 6 to 16. Creating addictingworlds will be interesting. I get this feeling where they were successful because they KNEW what they were– a gaming site. I’m worried that they’re going to spread themselves out a bit too much and lose the point of where they were. Hmmm… Plus, for as great as Habbo tries to make itself– I’m not a fan of their avatar system. Everyone looks like lego pieces. I don’t want me as a lego piece unless I’m on lego. Barbiegirl is awesome (college kids telling me they have barbie girl avatars for strawberry crepes sakes).

d) Neopets as Neostudios? Let’s see how the uproar goes on that (they’ve already offended their community by forgetting their “it’s free” stance with the NC mall & real money bit). Plus– I’ve seen the shorts on Nickelodeon and, I hate to say it, but they’re kinda cute yet forgetable. Hmm. Nothing to get psyched about. Wouldn’t you want to make them with enough “dun dun duuuuun” or energy that kids would be like “I want to go to Neopets and see more of what I’m missing!” and not so much “this is a short that reminds me of a direct-to-DVD disney flick and I am okay in the fact I don’t need to see any more”? Sigh. Neopets, Neopets, Neopets. Go to your community. Seek their guidance. Make it a community party to be on TV. Involve your users. UGC in the APPROPRIATE, excitable kinda way.

Your thoughts?

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