An immensely popular digital property is expanding its reach into the off-line world while maintaining a strong connection to its core business. Moshi Monsters, a free online world aimed at children ages six to 12, this fall will make its second foray into video games following a record-setting console gaming debut in 2011.
“Moshi Monsters™: Moshlings™ Theme Park,” a game for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS, was developed by Black Lantern Studios in conjunction with Moshi Monsters creators Mind Candy. It will be distributed by Activision and become available at all major retailers in the United States on Oct. 30. Pre-orders are available at www.moshlingsthemepark.com.
The game closely follows the release of the first Moshi Monsters video game, “Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo,” which held the top spot in the Nintendo DS sales charts in the United Kingdom for 23 consecutive weeks, nine weeks longer than the previous record holder, “Brain Training.” The game has sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide, a figure Mind Candy aims to increase with their new release, Senior Global Marketing Manager Andrew Matjaszek says.
“Our aim has been to build upon the experience our fans have at MoshiMonsters.com,” he adds. “The DS game should add value to their brand experience online and vice versa.”
Since launching in 2008, www.moshimonsters.com has grown to have more than 65 million registered users worldwide in 150 countries, including 18 million in the United States. Visitors can adopt, name and customize the appearance of one of several pet “monster” characters, which grow and develop over time. Monster owners can further develop their creations and their environment through playing games and solving puzzles to earn “Rox,” an in-game currency they can then use to “buy” virtual clothes, food or furniture items for their monster. Premium membership cards, available for $5.95 a month, enable access to exclusive parts of the site and more Moshi characters, including the hugely popular ‘Moshlings’ – tiny collectable pets for users’ pet monsters.
Users can share their creations and connect with others through safe social networking features including blogs, news feeds, bulletin boards and buddy lists. The site is a persistent world, meaning it continues to exist even after users log off.
Mind Candy’s team of programmers and creative staff continuously works to maintain and adapt the site to users’ needs and feedback. Founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith, Mind Candy is “an entertainment company that creates extraordinary brands with online games at their heart,” the company says.
The company wants to build on its success in the United States and other markets, including the United Kingdom and Australia. “The Mind Candy team feels it has just begun in the U.S. and looks forward to extending the brand into new markets,” it adds. “Mind Candy’s vision is to become the largest entertainment company for children of the digital age.”
Both video games give their youthful audience a way to engage with the Moshi Monsters characters in a different setting, while offering content that will draw them back to their usual virtual home at www.moshimonsters.com. “We are increasing the presence of Moshi Monsters in a number of ways,” Matjaszek says. “With each product we release there’s an element such as a code that will drive players back to the virtual world.”
In “Moshlings Theme Park,” players are invited to restore an abandoned theme park to its former glory by building attractions, progressively unlocking six distinct game zones and rescuing moshlings. The game gives players the opportunity to interact with Moshi characters in 3-D and introduces a brand-new Moshling exclusive to the game that can be transferred to the online platform. Codes available in the online world can also be used to unlock additional content in the video game.
“We strive to remain as connected with our audience as possible while leveraging the brand across multiple platforms,” Matjaszek says. “‘Moshling Theme Park’ represents new parts of the Moshi world players have never seen before.”
This synergy extends to other licensed Moshi Monsters products including plush toys and collectable figures manufactured by Spin Master and collectable cards manufactured by Topps. Several licensed items are packaged with codes that give access to special features on the Web, he adds.
Future platforms for the Moshi brand includes its first smartphone apps which, like all of its products, will feature content that can be applied to moshimonsters.com. Mind Candy later this year will launch two apps: “Moshi Monsters Village,” a 3-D game that allows users to design their own town inhabited by Moshi characters; and “Moshi Monsters Lost Islands,” a puzzle-based card game.