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Friday, July 17, 2009

More on virtual world growth

Heard of Spineworld? I hadn't. But a 10-year-old I know told me he's seeing it everywhere in his circles. Now we know from UK-based market researcher K Zero that its population (registered users) has more than doubled since first quarter '09, from 1 million then to 2.8 million now, according to VirtualWorldsNews. Overall, "the total number of registered accounts in the virtual worlds sector totaled 579,000,000 in the April-June quarter, 2009. That's an increase of 38.6% from the prior quarter when the tally was 417,000,000." K Zero adds that 60% of all virtual world users are between the ages of 10 and 15, "followed closely" by 5-to-10-year-olds, reports in its 2nd-quarter '09 update The problem is, its eye-grabbing chart is pretty imprecise, making it appear that more than 75% of the total VW population are 10-15 years old and that 5-to-9-year-olds represent about a quarter, with nothing left over at all for users 16+. As for individual kid worlds, besides Spineworld's, some of the biggest gains were seen by Stardoll, which added 8 million users; Club Penguin (6 million); Nicktropolis (3.1 million); and UK-based Moshi Monsters (3 million). The reports says Poptropica gained 36 million users, but that must be a typo, right? [See also "Undercover Mom in Poptropica" and in Stardoll, and our complete Undercover Mom series.]

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Anonymous John Edelson said...

Hi Anne, What would you say is the leading technology or system for a closed community for middle school students? In my case, I have contracts with their parents and their parents would have to opt-in for them to participate in the community. Of course, it would be moderated. But, I've looked at Imbee (now gone), epals, a dolphin technology, ning...What's the best for safety that integrates casual gaming. Any opinion?

4:05 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

John, I just tweeted my ed-tech community with your Q - let's see if they have suggestions. I heard good things about ePals in the past but nothing at lately, and I know of teachers who use Ning with students. Teen Second Life doesn't allow any adults, including parents. Virtual worlds have games but not otherwise what you seem to be looking for. The casual gaming requirement definitely narrows things down!

4:14 PM  

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