Saturday, February 23, 2008

NY Times Covers Stardoll

“This is a game that girls have played for centuries: it’s about standing in front of the mirror and dreaming about being a princess, a rock star or the cool girl next door.” Mattias Miksche is on the phone from Sweden, making a fair point. But like a lot of things that have been done for centuries, identity play is a little different now, and Miksche’s company, Stardoll, is a good example of a 21st-century version. The Stockholm company’s product is, for instance, digital and transnational. Its variations on paper dolls and dress-up games help attract 7.8 million unique visitors a month to a Web site that is published in 15 languages and combines elements of a social network and a virtual world. The majority of visitors are girls — average age 13.8 — who spend between two and two and a half hours a month there. Another contemporary difference is that Stardoll is backed by venture capital and is battling a range of competitors all seeking to capture, and monetize, the attention of young fans. These range from Cartoon Doll Emporium to Club Penguin, Webkinz to Habbo.

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