MMO's for Teen Girls: A new trend?
Virtual Fairground is prepping an online hangout and virtual world that takes place in the Alice in Wonderland universe – with a slightly darker twist.
"We really want to create a different kind of online game experience for girls," says Ilja Goossens of Virtual Fairground. "There are already so many sugary sweet virtual worlds for this demographic or those that are just about shopping and buying things. We believe girls have more varied interests and preferences. Something that is clearly proven by other media such as books, TV shows and movies."
The website indicates that Wonderland will offer girls the chance to play mini-games, chat with friends, and play dress-up, among other things. Since Wonderland MMO (short for massively multiplayer online game) won't be available until the middle of 2010, it's not yet clear what else it will offer, especially when it comes to parental controls. However, it is refreshing to see that a game company is ready and willing to cater to girls who want to play games that aren't just about cliques and shopping.
Based on what's already out there when it comes to virtual worlds catering to tween and teen girls, Wonderland will have even more competition by then. The online worlds available to young girls are fairly varied and the numbers are growing. Elf Island is a great example of an online game that is unique and fun for young gamers; they play elves who do good deeds in the game, and as those deeds are completed – like gathering seeds to plant trees – real-life organizations make donations as well, like the Plant It 2020 campaign which plants trees in Niger.
There are also more typical "girl" games like the uber-pink Mattel Barbie Girls virtual world. According to the FAQ (frequently asked questions), a V.I.P. membership, which costs $35.94 for six months gets you plenty of Barbie-style stuff like, "exclusive games, adopt an online pet, unlock special areas, and get members-only hairstyles, outfits, and other super-cool stuff for your character (like a tiara!). You can send and receive online gifts, give (and get) virtual makeovers, visit a rockin' amusement park, and so much more. You can even 'shop' for fabulous fashions, furni and pet accessories with those B Bucks you've earned! V.I.P. members also get priority access to the site when it's busy."
There are even rumors of an MMO game based in the world of the Twilight books and movies, which would naturally have an audience mostly made up of teen girls.
It looks like game developers and publishers are finally realizing they have a captive audience in the casual gaming arena when it comes to tween and teen girls. It would be great to see more innovative games for girl gamers that don't just focus on makeup, clothes, and shopping, and hopefully with more MMOs like Wonderland coming out, things will start heading that way.