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The BBC Virtual Newsroom

The BBC Future Media division has just released a great example of a Mirror World in VR. The BBC Virtual Newsroom transports Oculus Rift owners into the news department of the BBC.

This is a passive experience, meaning you can’t navigate around the various parts of the studio or broadcasting units, but instead you have a 360 degree view around the camera position. It’s a nice demonstration of how VR can be used to take people to places they wouldn’t or couldn’t normally visit. The demo can be downloaded here.

kzero bbc virtual newsroom2

kzero bbc virtual newsroom3

This isn’t the first time a TV station has allowed people to virtually explore a studio. Sky News re-created their news studio in Second Life back in 2007, although this is the first use of virtual reality in this context. The image below shows the virtual studio in Second Life.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 21.20.05

Although this isn’t really a virtual world experience, we would still classify this as a demo of a Mirror World – using virtual reality to allow the exploration of a real world place. The Mirror World genre is yet to gather momentum in virtual reality but expect this to change quite quickly in the near future. Here’s the Mirror World category in the KZero VR Radar.

kzero vr radar q2 2014 seg2


Further information:


Slideshare presentation: KZero Universe chart Q2 2014

Last week we published the Q2 2014 update of the KZero Universe chart. You can read the supporting article here and order the full (and free) high-res version here. As we tend to do, there’s also a version on Slideshare, which can be viewed below.

Legends of Oz Branded Virtual Goods in Blocksworld

Branded virtual goods (BVG’s) are a great way for brands and IPs to connect with target audiences playing games. Typically, virtual goods inside games and virtual worlds based on real-world brands are at least 5x more popular than non-branded equivalents.

We’re one of the pioneers in the BVG arena, having developed campaigns for brands such as L’Oreal Paris inside Second Life and Dancing with the Stars/ Strictly Come Dancing inside Stardoll.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 09.44.23The latest campaign we’ve forged is between upcoming Legends of Oz movie and popular 3D building game , from Linden Lab (creators of Second Life). Blocksworld has over 1m downloads from the App Store and over 400,000 user-generated worlds have been created.

With the new branded virtual goods set, players will be able to create and play with content and characters from the upcoming animated feature film, slated for release on May 9, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 09.37.26

The Legends of Oz set will include: Continue reading →

Virtual World and MMO Universe chart: Tween/Teen segment for Q3 2013

Yesterday we published the Q3 2013 update of the Universe chart, starting with the Kids sector. This chart shows virtual worlds and MMOs with an average user age of 10 and under. The kids chart is here. Today we’re shifting focus towards the Tween and Teen segment, containing VWs/MMOs with average user ages between 10 and 15. Here’s the chart…

kzero universe chart q3 2012 seg2Whereas the kids segment is dominated by a very large world at the upper age range (Club Penguin), a handful of long-established worlds (Neopets and Webkinz) and a smaller (but growing) group of worlds, the Tween/Teen sector is more distributed.

At the younger range of this segment, Poptropica is clearly the leader, with 292m cumulative registered accounts. But, this end of the age range also has power-players such as Moshi Monsters (85m accounts), Bin Weevils (huge in the UK and growing overseas), and Moviestar Planet. Moviestar Planet has quite dramatically grown its userbase in the last 24 months, assisted to a high degree through TV advertising, coupled with localisation into several languages.

Moving older into the age 12 – 14 year old range, Wizard 101, Roblox and Minecraft are slugging it out in the 30-35m account bracket, albeit with different game mechanics.

Finally, shifting up to the 14 – 15 year old segment, girls become more engaged than boys, which reflects the dominance of fashion/dress-up properties such as Stardoll and GoSupermodel, the former just about to hit 250m global registered accounts – and it’s global for a reason as Stardoll has branched out aggressively into new territories.

The full KZero Universe chart is now on Slideshare here.

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Virtual World and MMO Universe chart Kids segment for Q3 2013

Hot off the press, we’ve just updated the KZero Universe chart for Q3 2013. The Kids segment covering virtual worlds and MMOs with an average user age of 10 and under is shown below (and the Tween/Teen chart is here).

kzero universe chart q3 2012 seg1Club Penguin dominates the Kids market for virtual worlds and MMOs and added 20m registered accounts from Q1 2013, taking their cumulative total to 220m.

Other userbases in this segment such as Webkinz, Bearville and Neopets, whilst having large 20m+ cumulative accounts, showed slower growth through 2013.

Inversely, the trio of Knowledge Adventure worlds, namely Jumpstart, Math Blaster and recently released School of Dragons all grew strongly year to date, with a combined total of 26m cumulative registered accounts. These guys are leveraging their expertise gleaned from growing Jumpstart, across into their newer portfolio.

Looking at the newer companies in the kids sector, key themes present include mobile/tablet versions (from launch), cross-platform functionality and real-world brand/IP based plays.

Next up we’ll be publishing the tween/teen segment of virtual worlds and MMOs targeting 10 to 15 year olds. The full presentation is over on Slideshare.

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Engagement Metrics for Facebook and iOS Games: Q2 2013

In addition to our on-going analysis and consulting performed in the virtual world / MMO markets, KZero also offers a full suite of consulting and analytics services for  developers of Facebook and iOS games. This post is the first in a series examining key metrics for popular SocNet games on Facebook along with popular iOS games.By popular, we mean over 100k MAUs in June 2013 for Facebook games and over 100k downloads for iOS games.

To start with, we’re looking at the Engagement Metrics, commonly known as DAU/MAU, or, Daily Active Users as a % of Monthly Active Users. This metric is extremely useful for assessing how often players return to a game during a monthly period.

We’ve gathered this data since Q1 2011 from the following sources:

  • Client Audits: We perform KPI and metric benchmarking for our clients with games in these categories.
  • Game-Supplied: If you don’t ask you don’t get. We receive data on request on an on-going basis from game developers.
  • Market Data: In addition to the two direct data sources above, we gather data from a variety of publically available sources.

To add a further level of insight, we segment the game data into genres, as follows:

  • Casual Games: These are typically 2D games that are very easy to learn how to play but typically have a never-ending game mechanic. Examples would be Tetris, Angry Birds, BeJeweled (at the top end) and sub-genres such as arcade, running and racing type games in the mid-range. These games appeal to users of all ages with a bias towards males.

  • Word/Quiz Games: These are typically text-based (with supporting graphics) that are quiz, general knowledge, logic or solution based. Examples would be Words With Friends, Scrabble and the Puzzler series. These games appeal most to adult gamers, with a slight bias towards males. Age-wise the prime segment is 25 years and older.

  • Nurturing: These are typically graphics-led games involving virtual pets, character/avatar customisation and other games with nurturing mechanics(such as cooking). Examples would be Talking Tom, Tap Tap Hotel, Ovi Pets, Stardoll and other virtual pet games. These games appeal to kids, tweens and early teens with a strong bias towards girls/females.

  • Resource Management: These are typically games whereby users have to gather, harvest and manage assets within a gaming environment which often resembe a 2 or 2.5D virtual world. Importantly though, these games are typically not avatar driven. These games on SocNets heavily leverage the social graph and examples include FarmVille (and ‘X’-Ville variants), Hay Day, Cafe World, Airport City, GalaStories and Sim City. These games appeal most to adult gamers and in particular women aged 30+.

  • Light Virtual World: These are typically games based around the principles of virtual worlds and are usually avatar-driven with elements such as room customisation and socialisation. Examples would be YoVille, Social Life, KingsRoad, Avataria, Habbo Hotel, Happy Life, sMeet, Sanalike and HeroZero. These games appeal most to young and middle-aged adults with a bias towards women.

First off, here’s the Engagement chart for Facebook games, showing quarterly data from Q1 2011 to Q2 2013.

dau mau facebook games

Focussing on DAU/MAU, games with Nurturing mechanics have the highest engagement. This isn’t too surprising due to the underlying game activities related to Nurturing, such as caring for and interacting with virtual pets and avatar customization. It’s a concept well-used over in the virtual world sector for encouraging users to log-in as much as possible. Also, users (and in particular younger ones) can often feel a strong bond and sense of ‘ownership’ to games with the Nurturing mechanic.

The game genre with the second highest engagement (as at Q2 2013) is Quiz games. Quite often these games leverage the social graph meaning ‘friend play requests’ is a key driver for encouraging repeat usage. The use of daily/weekly leaderboards is also a great way of getting users to re-engage with games on a more frequent basis.

The game genre with the lowest engagement metric is Casual Games. These games are often used for ‘quick game fixes’, meaning that they don’t typically have over-arching narratives or reasons to play on a frequent basis – the games can be played in a short user session without the need to continually return to the game in order to advance or level-up.

Here’s the same chart for iOS games.

dau mau ios games

On a like-for-like basis, iOS games generally have a lower Engagement metric than Facebook games.

Nurturing, the top game genre for Facebook games is also the top genre for iOS for Engagement. Quiz games, which is second highest for Facebook games is in third place for iOS games, with Light VWs taking second place. Casual games has the lowest engagement for both Facebook and iOS games.

Next up, we’ll be looking at the Paying User Conversion rate (Paying Users as a % of Active Users).

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KZero Creates a 3D Virtual Healthcare Facility for Amerinet

Following on from an earlier post showing early stage visuals for the Amerinet Virtual Facility (AVF), we’re delighted to present a finished product.

The AVF is a 3D (Unity) environment showcasing over 50 Amerinet supplier products and services. Accessible via browser, Android tablets and iPads, the AVF includes two patient rooms, an operating room, pharmacy and lobby to display a spectrum of solutions from Amerinet suppliers that can help drive more meaningful improvements to Amerinet members.

Here’s the presentation:


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Amerinet Virtual Facility: Slideshare for Early Stage Visuals

And following on from the last post, here’s a Slideshare presentation showing early stage visuals for the Amerinet Virtual Facility.



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The Amerinet Virtual Facility: early stage visuals

When Amerinet (a leading US healthcare solutions organization) wanted to develop a 3D virtual medical facility, they called in KZero.

We’ve been working with them for several months developing the Amerinet Virtual Facility (AVF). A full 3D virtual environment containing a wide range of healthcare and medical products/services. The AVF is a sales and marketing tool, allowing customers to view and interact with products, obtain contract details and request further information.

The AVF is being developed in Unity and once launched, will be accessible via browser, iOS devices and Android tablets.

Here our some early stage visuals (and here’s the Slideshare presentation) showing the initial design approach and product models. As we move towards full launch we’ll be publishing visuals and fly-throughs of the full facility.



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Latest Trailer for ‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return’ Movie (with added KZero goodness)

Here’s the latest trailer for the upcoming Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return movie. Created by Summertime Entertainment, KZero was tasked with creating the virtual world strategy to support the film. Development of the virtual world is nearing completion, coinciding with the pre-launch promotional activity for the film. Watch this space!



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