Last month, Disney informed the public of a new online community called World of Cars, inspired by the popular movie “Cars.” This new virtual community is aimed at young boys who can share their passion for cars along with their fathers. World of Cars was created with one of the co-founders of the online children’s community, Club Penguin.
The game will allow kids to create their own car persona and rub hubcaps with characters from the movie, such as Mater, the bucktoothed tow truck, or play online games such as tractor-tipping
This new virtual community is based on a monthly subcription and allows users to purchase items to “fix up” the cars of their choice. Almost bringing to mind the popular online game, World of Warcraft, where players can “fix up” their character. Disney isn’t just hoping to create a new community and hope for the best, they want to their users to “keeps children clicking back.”
Many people view the online gaming community as a negative atmosphere but now it is being marketed to younger and younger audiences. Younger children are interacting via virtual communities similiar to World of WarCraft but can it really be that bad? These online games aren’t similiar to player v. computer, the users are actually interacting with other users thus creating relationships in the same way they would if it were a face-to-face environment.
I am curious to see how many children will actually use Disney’s new virtual community. Are these companies creating virtual communities slowly promoting future video game addictions for younger audiences? Or are these interactive online communities merely for entertainment purposes, as so many claim?