Heads Up: Planet Soccer Live

Planet Soccer Live is an exciting, fun and safe online virtual reality social networking game for kids centred around the number one sport in the world… SOCCER!!!! It is a world where soccer-passionate kids can be their own soccer star, interact, socialize with other kids, go shopping and play and compete in games.

Once you set up your character, you can custom design your “pad”, personalize your character and play a variety of single and multi-player games where you can compete against each other for a place in the “Hall of Fame”. Playing games earns you Soccer Dollars which enable you to go shopping for soccer kits, haircuts, furniture for your “pad”, boots, emoticons and chat phrases, soccer balls and many other accessories. Players can safely chat with each other and use emoticons. Planet Soccer is continually growing with new games, things to do and areas to explore integrated regularly.

Planet Soccer Live – Information for Parents

I’ve been out of town for the last few days – and saw this in Cynopsis this morning.  Soccer is leading the pack now in regards to sports virtual worlds.

Registration is quick & safe.  The art is an easy-style (not too flashy) cartoon-look, which ultimately leads to easier & quirkier customizations (3d, although looks snazzier, has more effort with rendering & such).  This seems to be initially British-based (based on teams & locations of choice), but it was great to see I could pick my Chicago Fire as my favorite team.

One thing that I see happening a lot these days – as companies try to get users into the world faster and faster – the lack of avatar building (right off the bat).  Maybe I’m getting old – but I don’t like walking into a virtual world looking like someone I didn’t design (I just gotta be meeeeee).  It kinda irks me, like I have to explain to others that I don’t have black hair or pigtails.  Even if I DID pick black hair & pigtails, the point is – i picked it and accepted it.  Randomizations don’t thrill me, but I understand their need.  I think there’s a better way to use randomizations that are less… necessary.  And I’ll tell you what – having to pay for a representation of ME in the world?  Hmm. I am not a big fan of paying for my own color hair or facial features – but I do know that there are other sites that do this, and they do well with it.  I’m lazy and tend to believe in the “i didn’t pay for my face in real life, I don’t wanna pay for it in virtual worlds either” – unless it’s “enhancements” hahahahahaha, but that’s not really my bag.

It’s funny to me also – these days we have to paint everything for kids.  Gone are the days where kids just stumbled around and figured it out.  Now we have to have huge arrows pointing to games and explaining anything & everything because – competitive sites have little time to thrill & entice… so you want kids to experience your top attractions.  I’m not a big fan of huge arrows either, but unfortunately, time is an issue and certain things need to be blatantly obvious, at least until you have such a heavy usership that you can lean on kids to aid kids (ala Club Penguin), or you’re able to provide some sort of responsibility (like tour guides, etc).  Stuff to think about – not to mention, how can you use your scenery to lead the user where you want to lead them?

All the chat seems to be canned at the moment (unless you can unlock the ability to free-chat once a membership is purchased).  I am so-so about immediate canned chat.  1) Yay. It’s safe & you can put stiffer perimeters on your early users who haven’t quite gotten the hang of the world, thus making the environment age appropriate for youth, 2) Yay.  It’s easier on the moderation department’s scalability & staffing costs.  3) Boo. it’s quite a deterrent from large groups of users because they can’t be lazy and chat the way they wish – and since they can find that elsewhere, kids disappear into the competitive market void. 4) Yay & Boo. Kids can’t be naughty, and since tweens in particular are keen on naughtiness (oh the stories I could tell you at the moment…), they don’t like the limitations.

It’s still quite a young site, and with the draw that soccer commands internationally – hopefully they’ll be able to harness some of that power.  Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. 

Check it out, it’s always good to keep any eye combing through competitive sites, yeah?  You can see how certain trends in virtual worlds are becoming almost standard 101 for the noobs, and which sites have created a new experience (or in the midst of doing so). 

I’ve really started to believe that you can’t see the ultimate worth of a virtual world until it turns 6 months old.  If they haven’t shown you any progress, etc, it’s hard to imagine what they’ve got behind the big red curtain called “future life”…

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  1. January 2, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Hi Izzy,

    Happy holidays and nice post. I liked your comments on the concepts of immediate avatar building and the issue of pointing the way vs. allowing kids to explore. These are topics that we spend a lot of time thinking about (and experimenting with) on Dizzywood. Our whole product is built around the philosophy of exploration and fun, but we’ve found that new players often need a little bit more of a guided approach to the game and environment. If it’s too confusing at first, a player won’t stay for very long.

    P.S. I got my first good look at ActionAllStars.com today. It looks great!

  2. January 2, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Happy Holidays to you, Scott!!

    I have to say – one of the greatest things about Dizzywood is your ability to experiment with adventure. Props to you for always being willing to try new things – and you do it in a way that doesn’t seem rushed or forced or fake. Seriously, I give you a lot of credit for that, because it’s often a very difficult battle trying to stop people from the quick-kick-fix.

    And thanks for the props on the site. We still have a LOT of work to do…, but it’s got a lot of great potential, so fingers crossed.

  3. January 12, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    As one who has tested Dizzywood with tweens up the wazoo (ok, and adults too, frankly) I have to agree with Scott, there’s a ‘fickle finger of fate’ that points to the exit screen when kids don’t feel that delicate blend of ‘mastery and challenge’ simultaneously…

    I’ve seen some ‘get it’ sooooooo fast it’s daunting, while others struggle with the ‘how do I do this, get this, go there’ bit to the point where they may accomplish the task but miss the bigger picture of why it’s there in the first place (e.g. the storyline, citizenship message, or collaborative element)

    I’m very thankful Dizzywood continues to experiment with this, because personally, as a parent, I’d advocate for the play being outdoors rather than in if they’re not ‘getting something fun’ out of it…In other words, kids don’t need more stress/frustration factor in their lives as they’re being pushed to ‘get it’ on a variety of levels from media/marketing these days from adolescence to behavioral cues WAY too early on.

    Know what I mean? p.s. concur with Scott on the All-Stars preview too…I haven’t written it up yet until I get my act together in putting out fires on the homefront this New Year.

  1. January 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm

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