Noteworthy: Pixie Hollow

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–At the 2008 American International Toy Fair, Disney Online officially unveiled the next exciting addition to the company’s line-up of virtual worlds – Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow, based on the wildly popular Disney Fairies franchise. Visitors to the new online world will be able to explore the homes and meadows that make up Pixie Hollow. Fans will play and chat with Fairy friends, go on quests for Tinker Bell, play games, earn badges, craft jewelry and clothes and personalize their Fairy world. The first phase of Pixie Hollow is scheduled to launch later this year, followed by a continuous roll out of in-game enhancements and product features.

Disney Fairies has proven to be one of the companys most successful franchises and we are excited to give fans the chance to live and play in the magical world of Tinker Bell by bringing Pixie Hollow online, said Steve Parkis, senior vice president, Disney Online. Fans have already created millions of Fairy avatars on DisneyFairies.com, making it evident that there is a strong desire for additional content around these beloved stories and characters.

In 2007, the Disney Fairies franchise generated more than $800 million in global retail sales with a wide range of Disney Fairies products that have captured the imagination of girls worldwide. Also unveiled at the Toy Fair event was an innovative new line of Disney Fairies Internet-connected toys featuring Clickables technology. The products will be the first to link online play within the Pixie Hollow virtual world to play in the real world. The new Disney Fairies line featuring Clickables technology will give girls new ways to extend their online experience by sharing Fairies, creating friendships, earning in-game items and unlocking exclusive content through traditional toys.

In anticipation of the games launch, fans can now visit www.DisneyFairies.com to create their very own personalized Fairy avatar, complete with the ability to select clothing styles and colors, accessories, hair style and more. After creating and naming their Fairy, online guests can share their Fairy with friends and family via e-mail, choose from a selection of approved messages to leave others who have made and published Fairies on the site, and decorate a room in which their Fairy will live. To date, nearly 5 million Fairies have been created at the popular Web site.

Disney Fairies is the latest endeavor in the creation of immersive and engaging virtual online worlds for kids and families that Disney pioneered in 2003 with the creation of Disneys Toontown Online, and followed up with the addition of Club Penguin and the recent launch of Pirates of the Caribbean Online. Leading virtual world industry analyst eMarketer predicts by 2011, an estimated 53% of U.S. children and teen Internet users will visit virtual worlds–up from 24% in 2007. (Source: eMarketer, September 2007)

Disney Online’s Pixie Hollow Takes Flight at Toy Fair; New Fairies Virtual World Officially Unveiled: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

I’ve known this was coming for quite some time, and I love it. They did a fantastical job on the Disney Fairies page— and if you view my avatars, you see I’ve already started my own collection.

One of my friends who works with the Mod team gets giddy every time she talks about the details within the world (buzzing of the wings like humming birds!), and naturally I follow suit with my giddiness.

I’m looking forward to seeing if there is any difference between “Clickables” and regular buy-able assets and their unlocking capabilities. Is it just a clever name for branding? Or does it have some unique characteristics UNLIKE the webkinz, neopets, bratz, barbiegirls, etc, etc, etc that have the “if you buy this too, you get it in the virtual world too!” yadda bandwagon. Or if Disney is doing something funky with the process. Fingers crossed.

Overall, I’m looking forward to it — as both an industry chick who wants to see revolutionary methods, and a fairies fan who just like Gail Carson Levine, Neverland, and fairies-in-general (plus, I’m enamored with my own disney fairy creations, lol).

Here’s a great passage from the Virtual World News: Round Up of Disney News (thanks, Joey Seiler) that might help clear up my confusion about the unique-play pattern of the accessory-buying unlockables:

Connecting Pixie Hollow to the real world are Clickables, a patent-pending technology for Internet-connected toys that Disney plans to roll out to its other brands as well. They sound pretty interesting, actually, just from a pure technology and interaction perspective.

Pixie Dust eJewelry Collection includes a magical jewelry box, a charm necklace and three exclusive Disney Fairies charms powered by Clickables™ technology. When a girl touches a charm to the Clickables center of her jewelry box, Pixie Dust sparkles and music plays as the jewelry box comes alive. Each charm unlocks a unique fairy gift at http://www.PixieHollow.com, including exclusive clothing, and décor. Girls can store their Disney Fairies jewelry sprinkled with magical Clickables technology in this enchanting box where it will be protected by the magic of fairies.

Tink’s eCharm Bracelet is customizable charm bracelet and three themed charms, where each charm unlocks a unique Pixie Hollow item. That’s fairly standard, it Disney is actually encouraging copying and sharing of the digital items by touching the charms Pixie Dust eJewelry box, a physical jewelry box that also tracks the digital items, or Tink Friendship eBracelet. The Friendship bracelet is linked online once a user creates her avatar. The avatar s well as message and gift are stored offline on the bracelet and can be shared just by touching bracelets together. They glow, and the transaction is complete.

Hey, that’s a cool idea.  What a new level of community that makes, right?  Not to mention sharing & caring.  Very nice indeed!!  It’s like they took the idea of trading cards & product-based VWs and tossed in some (dare I say it?) PIXIE DUST!  Can’t wait to see how it works with the audience.

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  1. February 22, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I think the major difference, and the one that’s got me interested, between Clickables and the other toy/VW combos is that Disney is encouraging users to share digital and physical assets. There’s a jewelry box that can copy the digital versions of charms from the bracelets, and a Friendship Bracelet also carries around the information to transfer one user’s avatar, information, and a gift to another’s just by touching bracelets.

    I’m really not in the target demographic, but….
    Round Up of Disney News

  2. February 25, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Collaborative play could be the key here to unlocking a more robust/fun experience, while teaching ‘sharing is caring’ in a do-gooder kinda way…(yah, I’m always lookin’ for that element, sorry!) Anyway, I’ll run this past my tink-tween goddaughter who literally has every fairy-fixation known to marketers and then some…(kinda like my propensity for alliteration and word play) 😉 Thanks for the post, Izzy, something to keep an eye on for prototyping more meaningful digital communities that could extend beyond ‘consumption and coinage’ as we consistently say…

    I’ll ping Kirsten at Dizzywood about it too…as it’s akin to a virtual ‘lab’ concept that I wanted to test out in there…

    p.s. Will reconnect w/you when my hard-drive is fixed as all of my data is in lockdown, so I’m awol in ‘comments only’ for awhile…ttys, Amy

    p.p.s. You goin’ to the CyberSafety Summit in Burbank? –a.

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