September 9, 2009

Save an Alien finds success outside of Facebook

Ayelet Noff

Save an Alien, previously a successful Facebook application with over 250,000 users despite no marketing, is an app that lets you adopt and save virtual aliens from destruction. Similar to the virtual pet fad of the 1990s but for the Web 2.0 age, SaveAnAlien lets users take care of aliens whose planet was destroyed in a meteor crash and now are sadly alone floating in space. Users can adopt virtual aliens and help save them from death. Until they do, the aliens will keep floating in space waiting to be adopted.

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March 17, 2009

Shidonni makes kids’ pets come alive

Ayelet NoffHow early do kids start playing online? It’s been well documented in studies going back almost twenty years that children as young as five play PC and console games, but more recently trends have started showing that kids are migrating their gaming habits online. According to Pew Research around 75% of kids and tweens ages 5-12 in the United States play casual games online and the numbers are only slightly less in Western Europe. In retrospection it seems obvious that casual Web gaming with its simple, fast game play geared toward instant gratification would be a perfect fit for the ever shortening attention spans of today’s kids.

One start-up looking to position itself as a leader in this field is the Rehovot, Israel-based Shidonni. The company’s site can animate the drawings of children. If your child draws a dog, for instance, Shidonni’s software can make that dog move, dance and beg for food. At Seedcamp Tel-Aviv a few weeks ago I caught up with Guy Bendov, head of marketing and business development at Shidonni to talk about the company and their virtual pet product for kids. See the video interview after the jump.

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