Today Hello Kitty Online, tomorrow the World (of Warcraft)... Sweetness superpower Sanrio of Japan, creators of the omnipresent Hello Kitty character, will be taking the cute cat online in what may be the biggest challenge yet to massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) dominated by World Of Warcraft.
MMORPG... it may sound like a space invader and in many ways, it is - from cyberspace they came, and they came to dominate your lives! Such is the case with the by-far most popular MMORPG, "World of Warcraft". The complex role-playing game, known as "WoW" for short, boasts over 6 million subscribers in the U.S. and an estimated 20 million in China regularly play it and other games of its genre.
Competition is on the way, however, and if Hello Kitty's worldwide popularity is anything to go by, a serious catfight is in the offing! Already, the Beta version of Hello Kitty Online is available for subscription, and the buzz - or should that be purr - is beginning to spread. According to the newly up & running site, there are already over 30,000 beta testers.
Some investigation of Hello Kitty Online reveals that it not only treads on the gaming aspects of traditional MMORPGs, but also adds social networking components that allow players to interact with other characters in an evolving virtual community.
Will Hello Kitty Online do for the Fairer Sex what World of Warcraft has done for (or to) young men? I'm talking about ADDICTION... a recognized problem with MMORPGs that may be exacerbated with the addition of social networking features.
Hello Kitty has demonstrated truly remarkable market penetration in a variety of cultures, so will the creation of a virtual "Kittyworld" linked to SanrioTown.com (the mothership) prove irresistible to yet another segment of the public? Time will tell... but concerned parents might just want to set out time limits from the very beginning. If not, it may just be Hello Kitty, goodbye kids! (images via Sanrio Digital)
Japanese Innovations Writer