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Digital Kids Conference presentation

Here’s the presentation Nic delivered at the Digital Kids Conference in New York yesterday.

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Video: Why Kids Play Minecraft

Generating revenues of almost $240m in 2012, Minecraft is the juggernaut of the virtual worlds sector. The key to its success? – User Generated Content. It’s long been known that giving users the ability to create content is a powerful stimulant for both usage and virality.

Although the forecasted average user age for Minecraft users is late teens, it’s interesting that the UGC factor resonates just as much with younger users as it does older ones. The video below demonstrates this well. Check it out.

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Universe Chart for Q4 2012 Now Ready to Order

Back by popular demand, we’ve been busy bees over Xmas getting the KZero Universe chart ready. Shown below is an extract from the Universe chart showing virtual worlds and MMOs with an average user age between five and 10.

As per usual, high res versions of the Universe chart presentation can be ordered here, Also included within this report is our forecast for Active Users as at Q4 2012 as well as Market Penetration rates and the Usage Multiplier.

Here’s the chart for the five to 10 year old segment.

Poptropica remains the dominant player in this segment both in terms of their overall user base size as well as forging into new business development efforts such as licensing – a strategy becoming increasingly popular amonst the larger worlds as well as the more aggresive smaller players, such as Fight My Monster.

Founded in the UK, Fight My Monster used (and continues to use) TV advertising very early after launch. The company has also inked several licensing deals which is quite unique considering their relatively small (compared to other UK VWs such as Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils) user base of circa 2m.

Neo Geo’s Animal Jam continues to expand in line with year one growth, closing Q4 with circa 9m registered users. Another property with ties back to TV is Toonix from Turner. Toonix has pushed through 1m registered accounts in just over a year.

For the full high-res set of Universe charts as well as other data-sets such as Active Users and Market Penetration rates, order here,

The KZero Universe chart is sponsored by Dubit.

Extracts from this report as well as other KZero insight will be presented at the upcoming Digital Kids conference in New York City next month.

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Active Users and Market Penetration for Kids VWs and MMOs

We’ll shortly be publishing the Q4 2012 update of the Universe chart. The Universe chart (for those of you that don’t know) visualises the virtual world and MMO marketplace showing cumulative registered accounts and average user ages for all the companies in the market. The slideshare presentation of the Q1 2012 version of the Universe chart is here.

All the usual suspects (Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Stardoll, Fantage, Poptropica) will be in the Q4 Universe as well as newer (and growing) kids on the block such as Space Heroes, Skylanders and Pirate 101.

For the Q4 update presentation we’ll also be including our forecasts for active users and overall market penetration. Here’s a sneak-peak at the global active users and market penetration analysis. First up, active users.

We define Active Users as a created user account that has logged into a virtual world or MMO at least once in the quarter. Note that this analysis covers the age ranges of seven to 13 year olds.

The current market sweetspot of 11 and 12 year olds is clearly visible in the chart. Also apparent is the growing domiance of the Asian marketplace, driven by China, India and Indonesia.

The Western world regions of North America and Western Europe also play a pivotal role for the active user counts.

And, if you’re looking for an underserved market segment from an age perspective, the seven to nine year olds is certainly a sector to focus on. Expect some new entrants prepping themselves for launch in Q1 and Q2 of this year.

Here’s the data-table.

On an overall basis we forecast closing Q4 2012 unique active users of 66.4m globally. Asia accounts for 23.2% of the total, followed by North America with 17.6m and Western Europe in third place with 17.6m.

Continue reading →

Quick stats: VWs by Size and Region

Following on from a recent client request to see virtual world registered accounts by major region, here’s a quick chart visualising the findings.

The data is based on cumulative registered account data from Q2 2011 and clearly shows the dominance of Western Europe and North America. Keep an eye on South America and Eastern Europe though, with Brazil and Turkey (classified into Eastern Europe) on the rise.


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Some Monsters are for Nurturing, some are for Fighting

Leading UK virtual world Moshi Monsters is getting a lot of the limelight at present with various brand extension strategies such as toys, tv and music. Hot on their heels are Bin Weevils, going from strength to strength from a user acquisition perspective. Now there’s a new contender in the mix, or rather a Monster – Fight My Monster.

Whereas Moshi Monsters leverages a core play mechanic of Nurturing (definition:Interested in looking after their avatar and pet if applicable. Likely to be younger boys and girls, plus older girls), Fight My Monster focusses on pvp battles adopting a trading card style mechanic. Of course, like most other worlds and online games in this demographic there’s also a raft of mini-games.

Fight My Monsters is growing relatively quickly, up to 300k users since their launch in Jan 2011 (91% from the UK). The chart below shows registered account growth (summer holidays are always good for acquiring users in the KT space).

Average session lengths are also on the rise, indicating a strengthening user engagement relationship. Continue reading →

Age profiles: Chimpoo, Poptropica and Stardoll

This is the second post in this series looking at age profiles of popular virtual worlds (the full report is the next post). This post looks at two of the largest worlds, Poptropica and Stardoll, along with an ‘up and comer’ in the form of Chimpoo.

Stardoll has over 116m registered accounts with a user base pretty well distributed between North America and Europe. Poptropica has over 170m registered accounts and is strongest in the US. Chimpoo has 4m registered accounts with a user base largely from India. Here are the age profiles for these three worlds.

This chart highlights the impact that different play patterns and user experiences have on the ages of users inside virtual worlds.

For example, Stardoll is primarily dress-up, with users (predominantly females) customising their avatars with clothing. This is an evergreen play pattern, appealing to tweens just as much as teens.

As this post from 2008 shows, Stardoll even resonates with the Mothers of users, with over 60% playing Stardoll alongside their children and of this group, another 60% visit Stardoll without their children. Continue reading →

Age profiles: Moshi Monsters vs Bin Weevils

We’re a few days away from releasing our latest report on user age profiles in the Kids, Tweens and Teens virtual worlds market. So, in the meantime, here’s a look at two UK-based worlds gaining significant traction – Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils.

Our age profile analysis visualises the ages of registered users in a simple to understand chart. First up – Moshi Monsters. The chart below compares 2011 data.

The sweetspot user age is 11 to 12, showing a one year increase from last year, indicating that Moshi is doing a great job with user retention – not surprising given the amount of brand-driven marketing they’ve been doing.

The profile has also widened slightly from last year into younger ages. As this brand continues to grow, the virtual world element becomes part of a larger brand framework and therefore kids are interacting with Moshi via multiple touch-points.

This ‘widening’ might also be as a result of increased efforts in the US. Year on year, the US element of their userbase has proportionately grown against the UK. The chart below shows the top eight countries for Moshi Monsters. Continue reading →

Slideshare presentation of Q2 2011 Universe chart

KZero Universe Q2 2011
View more presentations from KZero Worldswide

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Kids virtual world popularity across the EU

Here’s the master summary of the Dubit research looking at kids virtual worlds. The countries included in this research were: UK, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

Below is the summary slide ranked by the % of the sample that has played/registered each world.

dubit eu allClub Penguin comes out top with 14.5% of the sample having played it. Second place goes to Barbie Girls with 13% with Habbo in third. Interestingly GoSupermodel beats Stardoll based on this research, albeit by a couple of % points.

Looking at this EU summary from a company-location perspective… Continue reading →

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