Vtech’s future virtual world?

Edutech firm VTech has just announced its product line for 2008, and it includes something called Planet VTech, which is described as “an online virtual world for kids ages 5 and up”. I’m always a bit wary about this kind of announcement, as it could just be a community site, rather than the kind of avatar-based virtual world covered by this blog. However, assuming it’s the latter, it sounds interesting.

It’ll involve a range of web-connected learning laptops and handhelds, which connect to the internet via USB to let children access the Planet VTech website. Games are a big element, with players earning points that can be redeemed for “great rewards”.

It also seems that community features will be part of it, including direct interaction between users – although the announcement also mentions that the content is safe and contained, for parents’ peace of mind. The world is also intended to promote VTech’s other products too, with three dedicated areas to showcase the latest. The tie-in products will come with a free one-year membership to Planet VTech, but the company hasn’t said how much a subscription will cost after that point

Virtual Economic Forum Content Library

I love the Virtual Economic blog. They’ve got some great gems to check out. I almost wanted to just cut and paste their entire site into one entry… lol. But of course I wouldn’t. I’d suggest heading over and checking out some of their latest stories– they’re mostly around the youth audience.

Oh, edutainment. Early 2009 (late 2008) seems like it will be the period of “edutaining virtual environments for youth”. There’s a growing buzz around it. I’m quite content in the entertainment virtual worlds for youth (hoping to build some sort of role modeling of social behavior within the entertainment needs of this demographic). But I’m always floored to see the edutainment trend grow from others.

Also, I continue to update my Beta Virtual World list, so if you have any more to add, please speak up– or if you’re looking for a running list, take a wee gander.

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