World of Car…Craft?

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?

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2 thoughts on “World of Car…Craft?

  1. I would not be surprised if this catches on and becomes popular. Let’s face it kids these days are becoming more and more tech savvy and more adept to using a computer. The fact also that it is a way for kids and their parents to be on the same social networking site and it is a positive may make parents more inclined to encourage kids to try it out. Disney is attached to this site says a lot. Kids do like Disney.

  2. You bring up a really good point, Lizzy. My initial reaction to this story was to say this was a really bad idea. To expose kids to social networking sites and plant the seed for future gaming habits is a terrible idea to me, BUT, when you really think through it, there are probably more advantages than disadvantages. Like you said, this gives parents an opportunity to interact with their kids and teach them the proper way to use social media and gaming sites. Creating the right mindset is key in preventing excessive habits from forming and I think this is a great forum to do that. This is where our culture is headed, into a digital world, and I think it’s important to give kids the foundation to use that digital world responsibly (Unless, of course, you’re one of the people featured in the documentary we watched in class. Yikes!).

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