An all-new virtual world is launching this spring for online and mobile platforms that bridges the gap between offline and online play in a way that is truly interactive and social, combining the interests of children with the attributes that parents seek -- FunGoPlay. An online sports theme park, FunGoPlay separates itself from all other virtual worlds through“connected” sports gear that rewards kids every time they use them in the real world by tracking their play periods and earning them medals, points, and power-ups in the online world.
Targeted at 6-11 year old boys and girls, FunGoPlay comes from a group of industry veterans across different fields– entertainment, digital media and licensing - with a common mission to deliver a safe, affordable online entertainment experience that both parents and children will love. By merging the most appealing aspects of online gaming with the joys of real world play, FunGoPlay connects new technologies with classic play patterns like nothing ever before.
“Our research shows that kids’ activity levels are determined when they are eight and nine years old. Not coincidentally, this is the time that they are being sucked into the often sedentary lifestyle of video games and surfing online,” said FunGoPlay President, David Jacobs.“We saw an opportunity to combine two leading kid passions—digital entertainment and real world active sports play—so we changed the game by introducing a virtual world that rewards kids for playing and being active in the real world. We see this as a future of online gaming that both parents and children can enjoy.”
"FunGoPlay has developed a model that could change the face of sporting goods," said David Mauer, former President of Mattel USA and current CEO of EB Brands, the Yonkers based manufacturer that will be creating the initial line of FunGoPlay sports gear. "This is the future of products staring us right in the face, and most importantly, gets kids to be more active, thereby improving their health in a significant way."
At its core, FunGoPlay is a humorous and light-hearted online sports world that offers kids fun games, funny characters and fully customizable avatars combined with ample rewards and achievements. When children enter the site they are greeted by a vast universe filled with different sports-themed venues and events based on everything from core sports like basketball, baseball, soccer and football to extreme and non-traditional sports such as skateboarding and outdoor games. Games will consist of quick, fun mini-games along with more elaborate single and multiplayer games.
FunGoPlay features an engaging storyline that is told through the FunGoPlay All Stars, a cast of characters that kids can play with and against throughout the world. Every character in the game possesses a rich history and distinct personality that will develop during the course of a child’s interaction with the site. To intermingle with these characters and navigate the universe, kids will utilize their own fully customizable avatars– called FunGoPlayers -- that can be created through one of the deepest databases any online world has ever seen.
FunGoPlay will utilize a Freemium subscription model offering kids access at a variety of levels. Pricing will be announced at a later date. For more information on FunGoPlay , visit www.fungoplay.com.
FunGoPlay is entering the digital space during a period where entertainment technologies capture the interests of children, but also as childhood obesity rates have risen to unprecedented levels and continue to rise. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese*. This makes the need to introduce activities that use virtual avenues to encourage real world play all the more crucial.
Research shows that currently 89 percent of kids 8-17 play online games making it the number one youth activity** with a projection that 46 percent of all 3-11 year olds will play in virtual worlds in 2011***. This demographic will be one segment of a market that will hit 20 million during this same year†. Concurrently, FunGoPlay will be entering the mobile space at a time of similar growth in that category, much of it again spawned by the younger sect. In 2011, 64 million people in the US will play mobile games. Children will be a large segment of that as studies show that 49 percent of kids 6-11 use mobile phones to play games†† and two-thirds of children ages 4 to 7 have used an iPhone or iPod touch and 85% have used one owned by a parent†††.
**Norton Online Family Report, June 2010
***eMarketer, April 2009
†† American Kids Study January 2010
†††PBS Kids.Org/Joan Ganz Cooney Center, November 2010
FunGoPlay ( www.fungoplay.com) is an online sports theme park and the first virtual world to bridge online and offline play through the use of‘connected’ sports gear. Conceptualized by industry veterans— including music industry pioneer and start-up expert Steven Lerner, children’s content development, TV distribution, merchandising and licensing veteran David Jacobs (Sesame Workshop/HIT Entertainment), and writer and franchise director of kids properties Fabian Nicieza (Batman, X-Men, Transformers, etc.) -- the site caters to the online gaming needs of today’s 6-11 year olds. FunGoPlay delivers customizable avatars, fun games, and a social community while rewarding active offline play.
Adam Fenton/Brian Reinert