FYI: Barbie, Barbie, Barbiegirls.com
The MP3 player toys that unlock content on the virtual world, though, are now available at retail stores. The most interesting bit of information that no one has commented on here is that “Accessory Packs are sold separately for $9.99 and include various fashions, accessories and pets, as well as additional, exclusive content that comes to life online.” It’s worth noting these as an alternative to platforms like Habbo’s prepaid cards that are available at retailers like Target.For $12.95, this fashion pack gets you the physical goods, but it also provides a matching outfit online along with 100 B Bucks. This Deco Pack provides a virtual pet and 100 B Bucks. Since most kids may not have access to credit cards, real-world micro-transactions seem like a much easier way to get those transactions into easy nagging level and down to impulse buys.It’s also an interesting reversal from platforms targeted at older audiences, where the buzz is usually about allowing users to buy virtual outfits for their avatars and then have the real-world counterpart delivered.
Mattel announced today that BarbieGirls.com had hit 4 million users. It announced in July that it had hit 3 million users after only 60 days of a pubic beta, growing at a rate of 50,000 members per day. That’s slowed down a little to around 40,000 new members per day. However, as spokesman Rachel Cooper told VirtualWorldsNews, “The toys are just hitting store shelves now. So we’re anticipating another push in growth.” The site is scheduled to come out of beta in late August.
The company also announced that it would be launching in French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese on August 13.
So Barbiegirls.com keeps on trail blazing with innovative ways to make virtual worlds cost efficient. For as much as we’d ALL love VW to be free– for the tykes, it gets expensive. Why? Scalability, my friends. Constant staffing, screening, world building, databases, upkeep, maintenance, and rollin’ with the times.
Yes we can all poo-poo these initiatives as ways to manipulate kids into marketing schemes and purchasing power and becoming materialistic. I get that. But– the ability to play with the toys you love online? That has to have some sort of cash backing it. At least barbiegirls gives kids the opportunity to play FOR FREE online– and roam and love the brand and love their dolls and make new “friends” etc. There are other sites (*ahem*) that such luxuries are banned from the start– making the tater tots shell out 30+ dollars to even have a GLIMPSE of the world online created for their favorite toy. Ya know? <shrugs with cheeky grin>
Maybe that’s why barbiegirls.com has such a rapidly increasing fanbase, and such great stats.
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