In this latest exclusive Gamasutra feature
, we present an overview of online virtual communities presented during the recent Virtual Worlds 2007 conference in New York. The event, which took place from March 28-29, was designed to better help businesses understand how to take advantage of the marketing opportunities and business strategies made possible by virtual worlds.
In the excerpt, writer Sande Chen discusses Virtual Magic Kingdom
, one such world originally created by Disney to help promote its theme park's 50th anniversary, though it ended up being much more:
“One of the more interesting examples of cross-world promotion is Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK). VMK, originally conceived as part Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration, was found to be so successful that nearly two years and over two million characters later, it remains a popular destination for teens and tweens.
Each avatar receives a guest room and the kids have proven to be very creative. They have baseball leagues even though there’s no way to swing a bat in-world! Roger Holzberg, VP/Creative Director of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, warns that one has to be open to brand mixing when kids are allowed to build their own rooms with any virtual items they desire.
These items can be gotten in-world, but the most valuable items are from outside VMK. One pair of virtual green flip-flops eventually sold on eBay for $1020. Through various quests, the activities on VMK integrate with those in the theme parks.”
You can now read the full Gamasutra article
, including detailed looks at more popular communities like Nickelodeon's Nicktropolis
and MTV's Virtual Laguna Beach
, and comments from those involved in bringing these worlds to life (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).