Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Engage! Expo Conference Prezzie

September 27, 2010 1 comment

Hello, hello. Long time no talk. Yes, I realize this, and I send my apologies.

Last week (Sept 22nd), I spoke at the Engage! Expo conference in Santa Clara on User Engagement – aka, the art of engaging users (specifically online gamers 13 and younger, although you could argue for a General rating).  It wasn’t one of my most stellar performances, I drown a bit in having FAR too much to say… but I successfully rambled a few decent points & tales, and hopefully shared some new understandings as well.

I am always grateful to the Engage! Expo team (Tonda you’re amazing), and it was great meeting some new people.

Now, prepare yourself for some Heavy. Duty. Slide. Action.  I Powerpointed it up HARD CORE (my speech teacher would be throwing ninja stars at me if he knew).  Luckily, many people have contacted me asking for my Powerpoint slides… so, I am providing a video of them here.

Questions, comments, problems, scenarios, rambles, quips, complaints, queries, and soliloquies should be directed to the comment section of this post.  I’ll do my best to get back to you.

Things I’m kickin’ myself for leaving out: Monetization and the “velvet rope”, How to use live staff well,  the Parental Unit, and The fine art of event planning and support.  Thank god there’s always future conferences – I can do a “Part Two” slide set 😉


The Conundrum that is Planet Cazmo

August 2, 2010 6 comments

Planet Cazmo is going to partner with Fox’s Teen Choice 2010 awards and entertainment mogul Tony Mottola to create a custom virtual environment called the Virtual Teen Choice Beach Party. The special virtual environment will be directly accessible from a link on the Teen Choice Website. The Teen Choice 2010 awards will air August 9 at 8 EST on Fox Users will be able to visit the virtual beach party after casting their votes online.

In the Virtual Teen Choice Beach Party, users will be able to design an avatar and a virtual home. In the virtual world, users can chat, play mini-games, virtually dance, and even purchase virtual goods. One of the goods for sale will be a branded good shaped like the award show’s signature Teen Choice Surfboard. This won’t be the first virtual event Planet Cazmo has developed for a major brand or celebrity partner. Previous projects developed by Planet Cazmo were primarily virtual concerts or music-themed, though.

Virtual Teen Choice Beach Party

Okay… So, wow.

First, I do find it absolutely RAD that Planet Cazmo has broken the start-up, non-uber-brand IP curse and managed to score such a marketing bonanza as TEEN CHOICE AWARDS on Fox.  That’s kinda huge.  Brings in the eyeballs – aka, sudden brand awareness.

For the last two years I’ve watched Planet Cazmo score quite a few influential contracts with big music peeps… They’re freakin’ email machines – no one sends as many newsletters as this site… seriously.  There is always something going on it seems.

The art is easy, not too complex. The world is expansive (almost too expansive, but they try to pack everyone into the same server- providing the PARTY! feel of busy-busy).

Again, I’m still floored by their marketing department and promotions… well played for such high profile awesomeness.

PROBLEM: I just logged in as a minor and was able to share “my” phone number (or, ya know, the Empire Carpet guy’s number, five eight eight two three zero zero), “my” address (or, ya know, the white house), amongst other things.  Then I created another account, logged in, and watched myself say the same content all over again (aka, the public can read it, its not just author-only jedi-mind-trickin’).

At least they caught “shadows are as dark as holes” – but as holes, for as swarthy a curse as it is in kid land, is NOT A LEGAL PROBLEM.

I can’t believe I just logged in, approved my “child” via email plus, and then passed out faux-personal information.  What the what?!  AND THEY’RE GOING UBER-PUBLIC WITH A TV SPONSORSHIP!  It makes me very, very nervous for them.

Talk about disappointed.  I’ve been dealing with several companies lately that are looking to ensure that they’re sponsorships/partnerships/etc with youth virtual worlds are LOCKED DOWN and safe… why the heck didn’t Fox check into the legal nature of Planet Cazmo?

I’m still absolutely astounded that I could give addresses and phone numbers. Baffled, even.

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Wowza: Designing and practice for kid sites

January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

How would you like to design a beautiful, colorful, stimulating website that is captivating, memorable, and allows you to let your creative juices flow without the need to worry too much about conventional usability and best practices? In today’s web design market, it’s rare that such a project would present itself — unless you were asked to design a website for children!

Websites designed for children have been largely overlooked in web design articles and design roundups, but there are many beautiful and interesting design elements and layouts presented on children’s websites that are worthy of discussion and analysis. There are also a number of best practices that are exclusive to web design for children’s sites — practices that should usually not be attempted on a typical website.

This article will showcase a number of popular commercial websites targeted towards children, with an analysis of trends, elements, and techniques used to help keep children interested and stimulated.

Designing Websites for Kids: Trends and Best Practices – Smashing Magazine


I can’t go into a ramble, as it’s Friday and I’m a busy-busy gal.  However, its definitely FANTASTICAL for the amount of content the author goes through. Seriously – check it out.

And to you, Mr. Louis Lazaris, thank you for creating such a jam-packed info-share!! Props.

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Virtual Worlds and Youth: Accessing Explicit Content

December 10, 2009 2 comments

FTC Report Finds Sexually and Violently Explicit Content in Online Virtual Worlds Accessed by Minors

Recommends Best Practices to Shield Children and Teens

The Federal Trade Commission today issued a report that examines the incidence of
sexually and violently explicit content in online virtual worlds. The congressionally mandated report, “Virtual Worlds and Kids: Mapping the Risks,” urges operators of virtual worlds to take a number of steps to keep explicit content away from children and teens, and recommends that parents familiarize themselves with the virtual worlds their kids visit.

The report analyzes how easily minors can access explicit content in virtual worlds, and the measures virtual world operators take to prevent minors from viewing it. According to the findings, although little explicit content appeared in child-oriented virtual worlds, a moderate to heavy amount appeared in virtual worlds that are designed for teens and adults.

Virtual worlds are popular with children and adults because they blend 3-D environments with online social networking, allowing users to interact in and shape their own online content. Through avatars – digital representations controlled by humans in real time – virtual world users socialize, network, play, or even conduct business in graphics-intensive landscapes using text or voice chat, sounds, gestures, and video. Despite the educational, social, and creative opportunities virtual worlds offer, the FTC’s report found that explicit content exists, free of charge, in online virtual worlds that minors are able to access. In fact, some virtual worlds designed for teens and adults allow – or even encourage – younger children to get around the worlds’ minimum age requirements.

“It is far too easy for children and young teens to access explicit content in some of these virtual worlds,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “The time is ripe for these companies to grow up and implement better practices to protect kids.”

The FTC surveyed 27 online virtual worlds – including those specifically intended for young children, worlds that appealed to teens, and worlds intended only for adults. The FTC found at least one instance of either sexually or violently explicit content in 19 of the 27 worlds. The FTC observed a heavy amount of explicit content in five of the virtual worlds studied, a moderate amount in four worlds, and only a low amount in the remaining 10 worlds in which explicit content was found.

Of the 14 virtual worlds in the FTC’s study that were, by design, open to children under age 13, seven contained no explicit content, six contained a low amount of such content, and one contained a moderate amount. Almost all of the explicit content found in the child-oriented virtual worlds appeared in the form of text posted in chat rooms, on message boards, or in discussion forums.

FTC Report Finds Sexually and Violently Explicit Content in Online Virtual Worlds Accessed by Minors


Okay, for as much as I would love (and you know I would) to ramble ramble ramble about my opinions on this piece, I am going to stay MUM.

Why, you ask? Well, because according to, I am (and very happily so) speaking on this VERY topic with Phyllis Marcus, who was commissioned by the FTC to research and report on youth and virtual worlds.

Safety in Online Worlds: How the Federal Trade Commission Sees It
In March of 2009, Congress mandated that the Federal Trade Commission study the types of content available in online virtual worlds — paying close attention to explicit sexual and violent content — and the mechanisms those worlds use to manage access by minors. In this unique session, the Commission’s senior most attorney assigned to the 2009 Virtual Worlds Report to Congress will present results and discuss the agency’s recommendations for strengthening access controls to virtual worlds while allowing free expression to flourish online. This first-ever analysis of virtual worlds by the FTC will be discussed by senior attorney Phyllis H. Marcus who heads the Commission’s children’s privacy program and is responsible for enforcing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Marcus expects this session to be the first detailed public reveal of her division’s nine-month study of virtual world content. She will present data, offer recommendations, and participate in a lively one-on-one interview with virtual world child safety advocate and online community activist Izzy Neis.
Phyllis H. Marcus, senior attorney, Div of Advertising Practices, FTC’s COPPA lead
Izzy Neis, Senior Community Safety Lead, Gazillion Entertainment

Score, right? Right. Couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity 🙂

I’m looking forward to this, especially after reading the article on the FTC page, and subsequently skimming through the document while printing (it’s a relatively good sized print, fyi).

I’ve never been shy to discuss the social (and sometimes sexual) exploration of youth in free, identity-less (or identity-filled) web environments – from Language play in phrases to bumping to sexting to warplay.  Playgrounds can be a very confusing/odd place for those who do not understand or are not a part of the intricate socialization patterns and learning curve.  And even for those of us who DO understand these same things, it’s still nerve-wrecking and frightening to behold (don’t even get me started on my 13 year old cousin’s behavior on facebook).  But, we react that way because we MUST.  It’s the elder’s duty to help guide and educate the young.  But, that’s not always enough (this doesn’t mean stop, it just means, more is needed).

We cannot expect kids to just inherently know NOT to behave certain ways – especially if that behavior or action can illicit some sort of euphoria or adrenaline rush.  They don’t learn “No, don’t do that” through osmosis.  Fire = bright & warm & pretty & powerful, but you don’t know it hurts until you touch it… you could listen to your folks who say “don’t touch the fire, it burns”, but the curiosity will always be there because you don’t precisely understand the magnitude of “it burns”.

Naturally, someone has to say it – NO, don’t do that.  And when youth refuse to listen (and when they decide to touch the fire), we have to be there to guide, educate, and then PICK THEM UP once they learn their lessons, or after they suffer the consequences… and then, encourage them to share their lessons with others – peer mentorship.


Moderation is expensive. It just is… Before you even contemplate the idea of “moderation” and how to lower the cost for a teen & younger site – companies really, truly need to accept it.  Say it out loud. Do a little jig. Throw a party. Make a badge and wear it everyone “YOUTH MODERATION AND ONLINE COMMUNITIES ARE EXPENSIVE”, and then swallow that pain.  NO amount of cheating  or pinching the system is going to replace the expense without putting your audience or your brand at risk, UNLESS you employ full restrictions. Full. Restrictions. As in, no UGC – this includes user created avatarnames/usernames, open or filtered or dictionary chat, no pictures, or uploads, no fan fiction, no forums, no blog posts, videos, podcasts, art, nothing. Kinda takes the community out of community, doesn’t it? Yep – remember that jig you did and that badge you wore… there’s your reason.

If a user can type or upload and submit – that’s UGC, and it needs moderation before it ever appears on any live site.

User Generated Content is a privilege for your audience, but also a privilege for your site/brand/ip/experience as a company.  With privilege comes someone else’s responsibility, and that lies with the company to offer opportunity.  Think about it 😉

Anyway… take a look at the FTC article (link above) and follow the white link rabbit to the pdf itself.  Happy reading!!

Annnnnnnnnd, if you’re going to be in attendance for Engage Expo on February 16th & 17th in New York City, please bring some of your lovely and oh-so-brazilliant questions to the 3:30-4:30 chat on Weds the 17th.  I would love to see your smiling faces and bask in your question-filled glory. 😀

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The Unmentionables: Sexting & Surfing

December 7, 2009 1 comment

New national sexting numbers that have sparked headlines all over the Web about higher-than-ever sexting rates among US youth actually show that 90% have not sent naked photos to someone. Sammy, a San Francisco 16-year-old cited in the Associated Press’s coverage and one of the 10% of youth who have sent “sexts,” told the AP that he probably wouldn’t do it again knowing that sexting could bring felony charges. I think all the above says a lot about the importance of 1) educating teens about this (see ConnectSafely’s tips for starters ) 2) reporting surveys accurately, and 3) applying some critical thinking to breaking news. [In CNET’s coverage, co-director Larry Magid points out that the MTV/AP study of 1,247 14-to-24-year-olds “confirms what many Internet safety experts have been saying for the past several months: Young people are far more likely to experience problems online from their peers or from their own indiscretions than from adult predators.”]


Wow.  Youth are exposed to some serious behavior online (and hell, why not through TV in there, thank you HBO & Cinemax), and there are not enough outlets of education ready & at hand for guidance for youth to understand what they’re emotionally experiencing when confronted with this aggressive/stimulating (enticing?) information they’ve surfed across… That same information affects behaviors on the playground, at lunch, in the halls at school, in games, on the phone, in texts, etc.  A friend of mine had some great insights on this topic as well.  She said,

But with the internet, kids are learning, seeing and talking about these concepts at earlier ages each year. Without proper understanding of the context of sex and how it fits into our lives and our culture, the act of sex become a detached activity. They have a basic misunderstanding of why access is so prevalent and the politics around porn and it’s availability and how it fits into the debate of freedoms of expression. What results is a growing subculture of early teens participating at sex parties or video taping sex acts and posting them on the internet – because they can or because they think it’s an act of expression or simply from peer pressure. If they learn to detach intimacy and love from sex, which is what most porn does, especially from an age when they were not ready developmentally to learn it in the first place, we have a recipe for a disastrous cultural bomb to go off. And I think it already has.’

This goes back to a lot of the content you can see across the net (obviously), phones (sharing or net), tv (anything from over sexualized prime time to HBO/Cinemax), to books (mangas, etc).  There’s a lot of curious information that teases and excites youth made readily available.  How they consume that, and then repurpose on their own?  That’s what we will continue to encounter for some time.

I haven another blog in prep-mode for this conversation that I’m trying to work through.

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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!


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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live action, tv, tweens, and twitter: Hmmmmm?

April 13, 2009 3 comments

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Nickelodeon is stepping up its live-action comedy efforts with two pilots, one about surfers and the other revolving around telepathic high-schoolers.

The untitled surfing show from producer Tommy Lynch, written by Boyce Bugliari and Jamie McLaughlin (“Quintuplets”), is a single-camera buddy comedy about two high school surfers who spend their lives in pursuit of the perfect wave and the perfect taco.

Lynch has a long-standing relationship with Nickelodeon, having produced such series as “Romeo!” and “South of Nowhere” for the network.

“Telepathic,” from Conan O’Brien’s Conaco Prods., is written by Darin Henry (“The War at Home”). The multicamera comedy concerns two underdogs and a popular girl who navigate high school with the added benefit, and hindrance, of telepathic superpowers.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

Live-action pilots get green light at Nickelodeon | Entertainment | Industry | Reuters

Is it bad that I saw this and was disappointed not to see a goofy tween/teen comedy, the likes of “Ned’s Declassified: School Survival Guide”????  That’s still my favorite tween live action to date (totally the younger version of Scrubs, lol).

<warning: this is what I like to call a ‘yellow flag warning’ – something that sticks unhealthily in my gut, like delicious gum I swallowed, for eons.  Twitter, youth, and celebrity is a concept I’m battling.  I thought it’d be better to address the battle with you, mid-cluster, then sort on my own and miss the chance to open up discussion outside my brain, lol. After rereading, I did notice that I bounce around a lot in it – hopefully I’ll be able to settle into this discussion a little more fully in the coming weeks>

Also, I’ve been happily/merrily following Dan Schneider (of Schneider’s Bakery, creators of Drake & Josh, All That, The Amanda Show, Zoey101, Kenan & Kel, and iCarly, and a genius).  He’s @Danwarp

Ya know, I’ve always been a HUGE fan of his – mainly because he just GETS kids in this weird way that few people can understand, let along speak to… I don’t always agree with some of the tactics, approaches, etc… but you cannot doubt when someone has a gift, one I’m both jealous & enamored of.

He’s been twittering – spoilers, show notes, etc: fun things that his audience/youth might find enticing.  He’s always been up on UGC, from podcasts to social networks ( to video cam (Drake & Josh opening testimonials were alluding to video casting).  Although much of this stuff seems to be paralleling the social media front, it’s often difficult to get tweens & younger to buy into it if there seems to be some sort of work (understanding) involved.

I have issues with Twitter & kids/youth in general. There is a LOT of education & understand that needs to go on re: identity & how quickly it is for Superman to spill the beans about Clark Kent (and vice versa) in a quick, little-public-barrier, hardly-any-safety-protocol site like twitter – which is more like quick thinking, off-the-cuff, and self-obsessed.

All it takes is for one 12 year old to have his/her location “Branson, MO” in their small profile with a single tweet of “walking to cherryvale mall to shop with lucy!” – to open up a range of possibilities (and I’m not just talking about the perps, but bullying, etc).  Myspace is a big enough problem – and that’s not even up-to-the-second as twitter can be.

But that’s all assuming that twitter picks up with the U13 (or even U18, since 1/2 teens can’t even take care of themselves these days).  So far, so limited.  A few weekends ago Anne Collier (, @annecollier), Amy Pritchard (, @twigtomorrow), and I chatted at length about the trials & tribulations of Twitter & Tweens ON Twitter, lol (topics like: twitter becoming a call-for-help tool or used by wolf-in-sheeps clothing people starved for attention, or mistaken “friendships” through celebrity contact, furthering the Paris-Hilton-idus of popularity for no reason, or quick-communication and bad assumptions with friends, etc).  I wish I had saved that conversation because it was a fun (and probably insightful) conversation with a lot of questions & thoughts & rambles in the twittersphere.

I bring all these twitter-tangents & pop culture tangets up because – last Friday I saw a message come from @DanWarp (Dan Schneider) to his followers/fans.  Basically, he had been “concerned” with the type of feedback he was getting regarding set pic leaks, info, etc.  The situation seemed to have cleared itself up a bit, at least – by the types of apologies in the comments section of his letter.  But overall, communication with tweens/teens can be tricky, especially when you’re coming from a place of power (in his case, celebrity power).

With new tech coming out, like twitter, and the opportunity to use it as a closer form of communication with your audience – “with great power comes specific responsibility”.  Understanding the turns of the tide and where the lines are at.  It’s very easy to start up certain social tools, but without the right guidance in customer service/audience liasonship, it can be a tricky road of understanding…

Demi Moore was lucky when she reached out to the woman who threatened to kill herself.  Trajedy averted? Yes. However – issue become publicized, woman gain popularity/celebrity, and if things had gone badly, that could have a sticky/frightening situation for all.  Just. Gotta. Be. Careful.

I don’t – in any means – want celebs, people in places of knowledge & power – to stop this quick connection to their audience.  It’s exciting and inspiring and feels the audience with a greater connection to the content/context/person, etc.  However, having a strong knowledge base of things that may happen, how to understand your audience, danger perimeters of conversation, etc are all very, very important as well.  And if you have youth – who have an innocent/curious/thirst for attachement & popularity & acceptence??? That can get even hairier.

Just another reason why community managers & social media consultants are so damn necessary, isn’t it?  Indeed.

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Noteworthy: Sofa Boy

February 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Langteau has just published a children’s book called “Sofa Boy,” which tells the story of a kid who spends too much time sitting on the couch with controller clutched in hand and the rather dire consequences that follow.

It’s a fairy tale plucked straight from Langteau’s own experiences as a lad with a fondness for video games and his own bouts with a bit of game addiction.

But first, Langteau would like make one thing clear: “I’m not saying that you shouldn’t play video games. I think video games are great. I think they do great things for kids.”

Instead, Langteau says his book is all about a little something called “moderation.”

Gamers: Heed the lessons of ‘Sofa Boy’ – Citizen Gamer- (Via Ypulse)

I plan on purchasing this book post-haste.  YAY!  If you have kids or work with youth (teachers), this might be a fun addition to your library.


p.s. Have you checked your security lately? 

I spent some time this morning going through my facebook settings and walling-up (if you will).  Why?  Because, after “x” years of playing on facebook, I’ve started to get lazy, and there are just some things you want to keep within your private life, yeah?  As someone who speaks in public (speaks/rants, what have you) about privacy & safety for youth, it’s time i gave myself a good swift kick in the pants, and invite you to do the same (not psychically, of course). 

It’s just one of those things you want to occasionally check on – especially as Facebookcontinually tweaks things, and I swear, all that tweaking can’t keep me organized. 😉

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Noteworthy: FusionFall Wrap Report

February 25, 2009 Leave a comment

The Project
FusionFall is a high-quality, browser-based MMOG that takes place in a re-imagined Cartoon Network universe. It is the ultimate crossover, with characters from classic shows like Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls and more recent ones like Ben 10 Alien Force.

we knew we wanted to build a game that was as universally loved as the cartoons it’s based on. To this end, we began looking for the perfect partner to help us make one that could be successful both here in the US and abroad.

From a story standpoint, you play as a boy or girl helping to fend off Planet Fusion, a giant mass of planets that is trying to absorb ours. Of course, you will have help from Ben Tennyson, the Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack and the Kids Next Door along the way. Because the threat is so huge, even some of the bad guys offer their assistance.

IGN: Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall Wrap Report

Check this out!!  I still say (no matter the bugs or scaling, etc) that this is one of the most interesting MMO experiences for tween demo to date – simply because of the scale of the project (multi-multi IP’s & styles) and the complex nature of the gaming system.  It’s worth exploring, understanding, and reading insight behind – because a lot of the backend thought processes on this could redefine the way some entertainment IP’s approach the VW experience.  It’s worth playing to see if you build any connections between what has been said, what they could do in the future, what they should have done, and all the in-betweens of time & logic.  The whole adventure – from start to finish, with all the ups and downs, could probably give someone an entire thesis on the art of youth & gaming & web.

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Chaotic continues on the Multiplatform Approach

February 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Online, Chaotic has surpassed Magic’s popularity, according to figures provided by each. Magic the Gathering has 150,000 registered players, its website says, while 4Kids Entertainment executives say the Chaotic website,, had attracted 1.25 million registered players since its launch.

Bryan Gannon, chief executive of Chaotic USA Entertainment Group, a San Diego technology development company that is 4Kids’ partner in the venture, had a ready explanation for the game’s soaring popularity. “The codes are built in the card, so there’s an exact duplicate in the digital world,” he said. That allows players to trade, battle and build creature armies interchangeably between the physical and online card games.

Chaotic’s success coincides with a relatively strong video game industry, which enjoyed 11% sales growth in 2008 despite layoffs, the credit crunch, the mortgage crisis and the recession.

4Kids announced Friday the fall release of the Chaotic video game for various consoles, including Nintendo’s Wii and DS, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

It helps that Chaotic is cheap. 4Kids has integrated its 48-card Starter Deck (usually priced at $14.99 in stores) with the online game at no additional cost.

Chaotic’s mix of online and real-world success hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Last month, Sony Online Entertainment acquired PoxNora, an online trading-card game that involves free play at a basic level with additional premium subscription and purchasing costs for cards and game pieces.

This spring Sony plans to launch a physical trading-card game for Free Realms, a multiplayer online trading-card game, under a licensing agreement with Topps.

“It’s a huge revenue driver, and we’re just beginning to explore it,” said Scott Martins, director of development for Sony Online Entertainment. “It’s a way to keep our readers engaged.”

Chaotic creates new order in trading-card games – Los Angeles Times

It’s kinda fun to watch this from a far.  After working at Star Farm for so long, and becoming OBSESSED with multiplatform blitzkriegs from creative IPs, I can’t help but find them still intriguing and inspiring… trying to blow out a world for a fan to thrive within throughout various pathways.  NICE.  Chaotic, as a cartoon, is fun and I dig the style of animation (reminds me a bit of what is happening with 6teen and Total Drama Island– which is still one of my faves at the ‘mo).

Dude, card play… I’m telling you, kids love it.  If you want to know what kids are doing – ask a camp counselor this summer.  We see the top 3 favorite toys, because kids bring them – and if they’re socially acceptible/popular, ALL KIDS PLAY WITH THEM continuously.  I learned everything I know about Pokemon from cleaning up cards and getting scolded for saying the names wrong, and back in the Tomagotchi stage?  Oh man, I used to have to babysit 5 – 12 tamagotchi’s at a time while my campers were at swimming lessons or playing in the lake. 

I miss those days….

On another side tangent, I’m still pretty much OBSESSED with Cartoon Network’s “Har Har Thursdays” – the most creative/bizarre/unique programs of all time (seriously, you thought Spongebob was goofy-off-putting when the show first launched?  Well, that sponge doesn’t have ANYTHING on Chowder or The Misadventures of Flapjack – they’re simply amazing).

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