Posts Tagged ‘ZooKazoo’

Syfy.com and Atari partner to promote upcoming Star Trek Online

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Atari and television network Syfy.com have recently announced a partnership aimed at promoting the new upcoming MMO, Star Trek Online, scheduled for a February 2 2010 release. The promotion will feature a two day Star Trek Marathon to be broadcast on syfy, which will feature an elusive “Syfy Bundle”, available at Syfy.com’s Game Center.

startrek-logoAlmost a year has past since Syfy (then Sci Fi) announced their commitment to the gaming industry with their partnerships with Acclaim Games and Zookazoo, and this Atari partnership falls nicely inline with the network’s initiatives. This new partnership allows Syfy.com to build and promote a one-stop hub for Star Trek Online, where fans and gamers can view new content, participate in special contests and sweepstakes, and…..”Even purchase an exclusive bundle via digital download.”

The limited time “Syfy Bundle” will be available for purchase from Syfy.com/StarTrek, and will contain:

  • “Neodymium Deflector Dish” — An in-game item grants a bonus to Auxiliary power, boosts maneuverability, and increases the effectiveness of a ship’s Science abilities.
  • “500 Cryptic Points” — These micro-transaction credits can be used to purchase in-game items and unlock unique bonuses.
  • “Syfy Store Discount” — Purchasers of the Syfy bundle will receive 15% off their next purchase at the Syfy.com store.

To aid in the promotion of not only the online game, but obviously, Syfy’s own gaming efforts. The network will prime the pump with a two-day Star Trek marathon starting on Monday February 1st from 8am to 5pm featuring “Star Trek Enterprise” episodes, and conclude on Tuesday Febrary 2nd (8am – 9pm) with episodes of “Star Trek Next Generation”.

“Syfy is the perfect home for Star Trek Online,” said Jim Wilson, President and CEO of Atari, Inc. “By offering broadcast support, exclusive content and in-game bonuses, fans of Star Trek and the science fiction genre will be able to take part in this title’s much anticipated release.”

Alan Seiffert, Senior Vice President Syfy Ventures, added, “The Syfy audience has immense passion for video games. With that said, we are making a significant commitment to growing our presence in gaming and establishing Syfy.com’s Game Center as a leading destination for cutting edge interactive entertainment from a news, entertainment and even sales perspective. This joint venture with Atari helps showcase the types of unique partnerships we will look to develop to provide our audience with exclusive experiences tied to today’s hottest interactive entertainment.”

 

Educational virtual world SecretBuilders wins NAPPA Award

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Billed as a virtual world “ powered by a web 2.0 community of children, parents, educators, writers, artists and game developers” SecretBuilders have been secretly building a massive following and winning some high praise.

Specifically not targeting the SecondLife demographic of 30-40 somethings, SecretBuilders is aimed at the 7-14 year old market, thereby putting it in the same genre as Club Penguin and ZooKazoo, an already boiling hot market. However, SecretBuilders have set out to introduce a new standard to kids’ virtual world experience. Instead of just another “do this, play this mini game, go do that” format, SecretBuilders focuses on teaching through interactive learning.

In the virtual world children live and play with significant historical figures. Players may complete quests alongside the likes of King Lear or Galileo. Naturally, these NPC’s will aid a player’s quest – as well as provide some historical facts about themselves along the way. Likewise, kids can tour through Frank & Stein’s art gallery, or order up some slimy treats in the Weird Brew Café (as inspired by the weird sisters from Shakespeare’s MacBeth).

This commitment to learning through fun is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the National Parent Publications Awards (NAPPA). SecretBuilders were selected earlier this month as a 2009 NAPPA honors winner in the Children’s Products competition.

“Being chosen a 2009 NAPPA winner is a high honor for SecretBuilders,” said Umair Khan, CEO of SecretBuilders and parent of three. “It goes a long way to validate what we at SecretBuilders have been working so hard to achieve: a website that parents want their children to visit that children also want to go to. And it is especially gratifying that the NAPPA award selection includes the opinion of children.”

With eMarketer placing 53% of all kids involved in one virtual world or another (or several) by 2011, bringing home an award like this only further validates SecretBuilders’ commitment to educational excellence through fun.  Currently, SecretBuilders is averaging around 180,000 unique visitors per month, with an average of 450,000 visits per month.  And again, their commitment to a quality educational experience has been validated by the 1000+ schools and libraries around the world that have SecretBuilders installed at their institution.

“Typically, children’s web sites offer pure entertainment but little nutritional value – ‘chocolate fudge’ – while educational sites sugar-coat skills-building programs but lack real appeal – ‘chocolate-covered broccoli’,” says Bob Brattesani, VP of Creative Design. “SecretBuilders is neither ‘chocolate fudge’ nor ‘chocolate-covered broccoli’ – it is more like Cheerios, both appealing and nutritious. And we are delighted that NAPPA agrees!”

 

New concept virtual world SecretBuilders seeks to engage and educate

Friday, December 5th, 2008

In case you missed it a few weeks back, it looks like Google’s attempt at a virtual world competitor to SecondLife: Lively, wasn’t so lively at all, and is about to go down the tubes.  While it’s a sad day anytime we hear of a game/world/concept go sayonara, how’s that expression go…there’s a silver lining in Tokyo?  Or something like that.

Now entering the ring in the white corner, weighing in with StoneSoup magazine and The Huffington Post, hailing from Northern Californiahhhh…..Secretbuilders!

SecretBuilders is another new entry to the virtual world sector – but with a new an innovative twist.  Specifically not targeting the Lively/SecondLife demographic of 30-40 somethings, SecretBuilders is aimed at the 7-14 year old market, thereby putting it in the same pot as Club Penguin and ZooKazoo, an already boiling hot market.  eMarketer places 53% of all kids involved in one virtual world or another (or several) by 2011.

But hold up there Mr. Naysayer.  SecretBuilders has an interesting twist.  Fun AND education.  Players can create their own 2D avatar and play approximately 30 mini-games throughout the different areas of the virtual world.  Kids can talk to each other within the world with offensive language filters in place.  Nothing new to see here, but….this is where things get interesting.  Let’s say a player approaches a man by the name of Galileo and wants to talk to him.  Here they can find out a number of things regarding Galileo, when he lived, what he’s famous for, etc.  His profile will also reflect these teaching tools.  Likewise, players can create pictures via their mouse cursor, but what they may not realize is that they’re painting over, or mimicking a painting done by a famous artist – learning tools included.  The world also includes a plethora of writing and art contests to enter, a kids magazine and room customization/personalization tools.

So far we’ve got a new Virtual World with an innovative concept – but how about some support?  Well getting a nod from Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post isn’t a bad way to start.  On December 10th, SecretBuilders will launch a contest titled “Dear Mr. President” where users can submit a photo including a caption addressed to president-elect Barack Obama.  The Huffington Post will publish the winning entry on President’s Day.

The site membership is free for now, but plans to introduce premium subscriptions and microtransactions in the coming future.  SecretBuilders is open to product placement and in-game advertising, and currently has join ventures with Art in Action, The Monterey Bay Aquarium, WildPlanet Toy Company, and StoneSoup Magazine.

This new entry to the virtual world space is the brainchild of Umair Khan, who founded the company in January 2007.  14 programmers based in Bulgaria also support the Menlo Park based team of 7 US programmers.  After a short testing phase of only a couple of months, the world now has approximately 5000 members in 27 countries around the world – all via word of mouth marketing.

Khan has raised $2.4M in tow rounds of funding via Angel investors Scott Hassan of eGroups and a founding member of Google, Carlos Cashman founder and CEO of CourseAdvisors, and Ken Morse, co-founder of 3Com, Aspen Technologies, and professor at the MIT Sloan School.

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