Noteworthy: Virtual World Play

When toy companies talk about new toy products, there’s often a lot of discussion around a toy’s play patterns. What is it about the toy that resonates with a child? What play patterns will the toy tap into? Will the play pattern extend across age and gender differences?

Sometimes answering play pattern questions like these are pretty straight forward, other times their answers are not as clear cut. Potentially even more complicated is describing the play pattern around a toy product tied to a virtual world or online experience. What kind of play pattern are we talking about now? How does the play experience through an avatar in an online world differ from that of a child playing with a physical toy in the real world?

These are hard questions to answer, but they are ones I’m betting more and more people will be asking in the world of youth marketing.

360blog » Blog Archive » What Works For Virtual Play? – Questions to ask about Web-enabled toys

Head over to 360blog for some great questions & insights into Virtual World play from a toy perspective.

Play.  That’s what virtual worlds are about.  A sincere engagement of a youth online to encourage play through interaction, exciting environment, emotional attachment, exploration, adventure, a sense of belonging, and mystery – each like crayons necessary to fill in the coloring sheet of your product.  Visual:

Give the kids the tools.  Purple interaction = chat, friending, forming social bonds through whatever tools you allow.  Blues environment = fun-to-look at visuals that help build context and allow the user the opportunity to create assumptions and understandings and attachments to setting.  Red emotional attachment = the drama of competition, peer to peer activities, causes to one’s sense of belonging to the world, events, etc.  Green exploration = a world to roam, games to conquer, thriving nature of a world that always has a new play pattern to follow or new things to collect or new behaviors to explore, or new story lines to attach to.  Yellow adventure = a chance to change up every day, an opportunity to try new things and seperate from reality, new opportunities, escapism and the open world that offers.  Pink belonging = a sense of home, entitlement, an opportunity to build connections, a fantastical safe-haven when needed.  Black mystery = Never knowing what will come next, being confronted with the excitement of mystery and shadows and how it affects the emotional attachment and exploration and adventure. The coloring page = your property, your virtual world context, your site’s purpose and goal for the end user.

No one color can complete the overall picture, otherwise it would be pretty boring.  Mixing of colors helps illustrate all the complex additions to the site, and help the user enjoy the constand “change” of color/behavior/offerings.

In the end, the act of the child using the crayon to fill in the experience you’ve offered becomes the play… keeps them entertained, their minds working, their engagement high.

Anyway – sorry, I got into a tangent I wanted to explore. I found a crayon in my desk and had an epiphany, lol.   What do you think?  Share!

update:

Thanks to my dirty-minded, darling friends who pointed out that my previous coloring page (an ode to this week’s Star Wars “May The Fourth Be With You” day) was inappropriate with a bit of a different perspective.  I’m so glad you work in online communities like me.  TEST = PASSED. hahahahaha…….. yeah.  Enjoy Squidword cleaning tables.

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