July 16, 2009

The hottest game startup in Europe

Europe’s hottest online game site from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

moshiJD LasicaAt the offices of Accel Partners a week ago today during the Traveling Geeks trip to London, several of us came away especially impressed by Michael Acton Smith, founder and CEO of Mind Candy, the UK-based company that makes Moshimonsters.com.

Moshi Monsters has become Europe’s hottest online game site (or, if you prefer, social networking site) for the 7- to 11-year-old bracket. The site, which went live a bit over a year ago, has grown by word of mouth to 3 million players, and it’s just now reaching critical mass. After a marketing push, it added another 1 million members in June and likely more than a million in July, with one third of players in the US, a third in the UK and a third elsewhere.

Kids can adopt, dress up and take care of a monster of their choice. Unlike Club Penguin, where you create an avatar, wander around a 3D space and chat, Moshi Monsters “is more akin to a child-friendly social network,” Smith says. “The beauty about monsters is that everyone seems to love them. The guys like the scary zombie, Abominable Snowman type monsters, the girls like the cute ones with bows.”

Some 70 percent of the site’s players are girls. Traditionally girls like to look after dolls or nurture little creatures, and other games and toys — Tamagotchi, Furbys and Neopets — have skewed more female, Smith says.

Related

• Renee Blodgett’s interview with Michael Acton Smith
JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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