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Active VW user forecast: 2009 – 2013

‘Tis the season to release forecasts’. Well, we tend to do this all year round, but seeing as we’re fast approaching 2010, here’s some charts we usually keep wrapped up for special occasions – our active user forecast for the virtual worlds sector.

First up, the headline chart, total unique active users from 2009 to 2013.

The 2009 year end forecast for active users in the virtual worlds sector is 136m (compared to circa 750m total registered accounts). This has been calculated by assessing the active user data we hold for a range of large (and small) virtual worlds, combined with research relating to users having accounts across multiple worlds (to take out duplicates).

We expect 2010 to be a major year for virtual world growth, both from new worlds coming to market supported by major marketing pushes, along with a pick-up in the overall economy and a continuation of increasing awareness and resonance towards the sector. Continue reading →

Comparing user profiles: Poptropica, Moshi Monsters and Jumpstart

We’ve had three posts so far looking at individual user base age profiles for Poptropica, Moshi Monsters and Jumpstart. And, whilst looking at these worlds in isolation throws up some interesting data points and findings, it’s as interesting to compare all three side by side.

The chart below presents the specific age profiles for these three virtual words.

The wider overall age spread of Moshi Monsters is clearly shown, peaking at the 10-11 spots. Poptropica follows a similar pattern to Moshi, albeit in a tighter age band.

And the penetration into younger ages achieved by Jumpstart also stands out.

The chart below shows this data on a cumulative user base basis. Continue reading →

VW User Profiles: Jumpstart

Whereas both Poptropica and Moshi Monsters have user age profiles peaked around specific ages ranges, the profile for Jumpstart, the educational world (in 3D using Unity) from Knowledge Adventure is somewhat different and shown below.

It’s more of a ridge than a peak, with ages five to nine well represented in the range of 13% to 11% of the total user base.

This spread of ages is explained by the feature-sets and positioning of the Jumpstart world, with different games and activities available in-world catering to different age groups. Continue reading →

VW User Profiles: Moshi Monsters

Following on this series of looking at the age profiles of virtual worlds (first was Poptropica), now it’s Moshi Monsters.

Moshi is a London-based VW operating by Mind Candy. Grow-wise, 2009 was an excellent year, growing from 1m to 7m across two quarters. We expect Moshi to reach 10m users when we release our Q4 numbers in early 2010. They’re marked on the Universe chart as having an average user age of ten years old. The chart below shows the age profile.

moshi users 1It’s a near perfect curve with equal distribution of ages right from three to 18. Looking at the accounts on a cumulative basis…..

Almost 50% of the users are ten and under and 80% are 13 and under.

Switching to the user locations, the chart below shows the 7m accounts by top countries.

Continue reading →

AR + VW = Latest Adidas campaign

As our augmented reality brand tracking shows, Adidas has been an early adoper of marker-based initiatives. There first foray into this field was early 2008 with a simple shoe rendering app, shown below (bottom of the article). This was followed-up with their ‘Every team needs a spark’ campaign earlier this year (video also below).

adidas-augmented-realityThis time around they’ve juiced up the creativity a little and laid out a virtual world, activated by a marker on the sneaker tongues of a new line of shoes launched this February.

From Wired:

“The foundation of augmented reality lies in adding a layer to the real world,” says Chris Barbour, head of digital marketing for Adidas Originals. “That’s what we have done. We have taken a real world item and added a fantastic virtual world on top of that”

All users have to do is go to the Adidas site and hold up their sneaker, which has a code embedded in its tongue, in front of their computer webcam. A virtual world then pops out in front of them and they can navigate it using their sneaker as a controller.

“We are not trying to mimic a real-world look, we have a more stylized, pop-up book creative approach,” says Barbour. “The neighborhood is displayed on a two dimensional computer screen, but you can use your shoe to control the angle and depth of view and zoom in and out, giving a 3-D sense of perspective.” Continue reading →

VW User Profiles: Poptropica

In the first of a new series of posts we’re rolling up our sleeves a little and examining the user bases of popular virtual worlds in the KT&T space. The focus is on the age distribution of registered accounts along with their real-world location.

First up, Poptropica, a virtual world from Pearson that steam-rollered into the sector in September 2007. As the Universe chart shows, Poptropica experienced record-setting user base growth and currently has over 80m registered accounts.

The distribution of these 80m accounts is shown in the graph below.

The best represented age in Poptropica is ten, accounting for 14% of total accounts (that’s 11.2m registered accounts). In second place are nine year olds with 12% of the total.

There’s an interesting dip between six and eight year olds, with children who are seven accounting for 6% compared to 9% and 10% respectively for six and eight’s. Continue reading →

Automobiles and Augmented Reality. Too fast too curious?

Car makers have led the way in terms of adopting new marketing channels. First came virtual worlds (with both official and unofficial cars mainly in Second Life) and now it’s the turn of augmented reality and some have been doing it for a little while. Here’s a video round-up to complement the Brand Tracking.

Continue reading →

Tracking brands in Augmented Reality

Back in the day (well, 2007), we used to track brands entering Second Life (and a few other worlds) on a timeline basis vs the SL registered user base. You can see some few, for the Retail, Technology, Media, Automobile and Tourism sectors.

Since those ‘heady days’ we’ve seen companies shift over to a wide range of other virtual worlds and we now track VW brand marketing in this presentation. Continuing this theme, we’ve just released a similar chart, this time monitoring brands dipping their toes into augmented reality. Efforts to date are obviously all marker-based.

And, whilst those in the know are all waiting for markerless AR, it’s interesting to see how brands (and their agencies) attempt to place their products and services into this new platform. Comparing these efforts to the largely ineffective campaigns in Second Life highlights a key creative difference. The vast majority of brand efforts in SL made the key mistake of attempting to think spatially (because it’s inside a virtual w0rld) rather than concentrate on values (both brand and product). This resulted in over 150 brands thinking they had to have a company HQ – a building built.

Even given the limitations of marker-based AR, it’s encouraging to see a little more creativity being used in these early marketing attempts. The graph below shows when brands first launched their campaigns, compared against a Google Trends line for the search term ‘Augmented Reality‘.

ar brand tracking.001

Automobile brands once again (as they did with SL marketing) appear to be leading the pack in terms of adopting AR into their marketing arsenals, followed by media/entertainment companies and then food and drink.

This last category always struggled with virtual world marketing – not surprisingly because they are two things avatars do not need, in a basic sense.

As we move into 2010, expect the buzz around AR (and the search volumes) to grow rapidly, with brands not far behind. We’ll be breaking this chart out by sector in the new year.

KZero services:


Business Planning


Product Development

News from the KZero client roster: Gizmoz and Daz3D merge

Some coverage about new KZero clients Gizmoz and Daz3D.

Official press release:

DAZ 3D and Gizmoz Merge to Become Premier Publisher of Personalized 3D Characters, Software and Accessories

Fuels Growth of Virtual Goods Market for Improved Gaming, Virtual Worlds, and 3D Modeling and Animation; Benchmark Capital, Highway 12 Ventures and Columbia Capital Lead Funding

Draper, Utah and Tel Aviv, Israel – Dec. 16, 2009 – Seizing the opportunity to meet the increasing and diversified expectations of the virtual goods market, DAZ 3D and Gizmoz today announced a merger that will create the foremost online marketplace for high-quality and inter-compatible digital characters and accessories. With the largest community of active digital character artists, the merged company will allow users to experience personalized digital goods and identities across any platform.

“We are excited to announce the formation of a company dedicated to delivering digital goods with unprecedented life-like characteristics ideal for social networks, cross-platform gaming, 3D animation and development,” said Eyal Gever, president of the merged company and CEO and founder of Gizmoz. “By offering the most advanced mass-market 3D character creation technology, combined with a highly robust marketplace of 3D content, the company is perfectly in line with virtual goods market growth expectations of $3 billion by 2010.” Continue reading →

Speaking at Engage Expo

masts1-2The upcoming Engage Expo in NYC has a strong focus on toys and virtual goods this time around, much like our evolving client base.

I’ll be speaking on the Virtual Worlds and Games by the Numbers panel which is part of the Online Games and Virtual Worlds track.

Other speakers on the panel (the usual suspects ;) ) are:

Michael Cai (VP of Video Games, Interpret)

Barry Gilbert (VP and Research Director, Strategy Analytics)

Anita Frazier (Industry Analyst, Toys and Video Games, NPD Group).

If you’re attending and would like to meet up, let me know.

KZero services:


Business Planning


Product Development

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