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Topic: Disney unveils Toontown game, sees Web theme park< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

RichKoster Offline

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Posted: May 05, 2003 12:30 am/pm Quote

Disney unveils Toontown game, sees Web theme park

LOS ANGELES, May 5 -- Walt Disney Co. will launch in June its online multiplayer video game Toontown, which pits cartoon characters against humorless robots, with an advertising campaign and a $9.95 per month subscription fee, the company said on Monday.

The game which has been in trial for months and lets young players collaborate on line in a battle fought with gags rather than bullets is the first unit of what designers plan as a virtual theme park.

"We have a very grand vision for what an online theme park is," Ken Goldstein, executive vice president of Disney Online, told Reuters in an interview. "The next land would be themed to another sort of traditional Disney genre and there would be a common area between them."

Disney took an $800 million charge a few years ago to write off investments in its go.com portal, its first major foray into the Web, which was big and unprofitable .

Since then the Internet group has retrenched, focusing on cracking a profit.

Toontown has been available for $7.95 a month since October 2002 at http://www.toontown.com and been a hit with early adopters, Goldstein said. As many as 2,000 players sign on at one time on some weekends, he said.

The game, aimed at youngsters 8 years old and up, lets players wander a virtual 3-D world where they play games like tug of war to win supplies of gags and tricks. Those can be used to beat the machines, or Cogs, which cannot stand a joke and are trying to overtake the colorful world.

Players can see each other, work together, and Disney has designed chat software with lots of parental controls.

Goldstein said the monthly subscription price could go up, too. "My data tells me that we may still be a little low," he said.


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: May 05, 2003 12:55 am/pm Quote

Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

Remember back when there were a lot of messages about the Future Disney Cabinet on rec.arts.disney.parks and when FDC Muck and EMuck started as offshoots of that so Disney fans could go there for role-playing their favorite Disney Characters? Well, Disney must have been intrigued with this idea, first with the House of Mouse show on ABC (then the Disney Channel and Toon Disney) where Disney Characters of all sorts interact with each other in unexpected ways, and now with this new online venture.

Anyone tried the Toontown game yet? What do you think of it?
:confused:


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Nov. 20, 2003 12:54 am/pm Quote

Liven Up the Holidays With Cartoon Gags From The Award-Winning Disney's Toontown Online Game

Cream Pies and Dropping Pianos Included in Online 'Toon'iverse




This year, parents can stuff an entire virtual cartoon world into their kids' stockings with Disney's Toontown Online.  Kids will love the ever-changing online game, and the gift of Toontown is a holiday dream come true for parents: it requires no batteries, involves no breakable parts, and Toontown is updated constantly so kids won't be tired of it by midday on the 26th!

Disney continues its legacy of family-friendly innovation with Toontown Online, the first massively multiplayer (MMP) 3D online game created for kids and families. MMPs are online games that can be played simultaneously by thousands of players around the world, providing an exciting new development in online game play. While most MMPs to date have featured themes and game-play which have limited them to mature audiences, Toontown was designed specifically to be safe, appropriate, and fun for kids, as well as adults.

While Toontown was designed with kids seven to twelve in mind, the game is attracting a much broader online audience.  Feedback thus far suggests many families are playing the game together (then the parents keep playing after the kids go to bed!). Rated E, for everyone, with comic mischief and cartoon violence, the game is getting rave reviews and even won the 2003 People's Voice Webby Award in the Kids Category, a 2003 Parents' Choice Silver Award, and the All Star Software Award from Children's Software Revue. Additionally, Toontown has received industry recognition as a less violent and kid-friendly online game by safety experts.

"It's not just parents who are worried about online safety and privacy. Kids hate having to deal with inappropriate communications when they are trying to have fun online. They value their privacy and security almost as much as their parents do," said Parry Aftab, executive director of Wired Safety (http://www.wiredsafety.org), the world's largest online safety and help group, and a lawyer specializing in internet privacy and security law. "Toontown gives kids a chance to experience some of the best features of the Internet -- interactivity and community -- without worrying about the Internet's darker side."

In Toontown, players create their own character and join together with other players to help save Toontown from the evil Cogs, a band of bungling business robots attempting to turn the Toons' colorful world into a bleak metropolis. Because the Cogs can't take a joke, Toons can diminish Cogs' power by choosing from fun gags and jokes to play on them, such as smashing a pie in their face, or squirting them with water. Within Toontown, there are several neighborhoods for players to explore where Toons often go out in groups and confront the Cogs together, as cooperative play is a centerpiece of Toontown's game play. The game gets progressively more interesting as players are challenged to master new skill sets in strategic thinking and cooperation in order to challenge higher and higher level Cogs.

Because MMPs are community-based games, game-play is enhanced when players communicate. In most MMP games, players communicate through open chat functions, allowing them to speak to all other players, however, for kids' safety and parents' peace of mind, Toontown players only communicate with others through secure chat functions.  SpeedChat is a menu-based tool that gives players several layers of pre-written phrases that can be linked together to form thousands of sentences. Another way to communicate is through Secret Friends, which allows two players to chat freely within the game by exchanging a time-sensitive password. This function must be enabled via parental controls and, although less restrictive than SpeedChat, Secret Friends chat is still screened for vulgarities, address information and other sensitive information.

Disney's Toontown Online makes a great holiday gift at only $9.95 for a CDROM and one month membership, and is available today at retailers nationwide. For families who prefer to try before they buy, there is a 3-day free trial period available at http://www.toontown.com. Both options offer a great value -- the $9.95 price represents a small upfront commitment versus the cost of traditional game products, and the average cost per hour of game play is a fraction of other entertainment alternatives.

Disney Online
Disney Online (http://www.disney.com) produces the number one kids' entertainment and family community destinations on the Internet that consistently reflects the magic that has come to be expected of Disney. Its "neighborhoods," specifically designed for each member of the family, include Disney's Blast (http://www.disneyblast.com) and Disney's Toontown Online (http://www.Toontown.com), both premium subscription services, as well as Disney Store, Destinations, Playhouse Disney, Kids Island, Entertainment, FamilyFun and Main Street Merchants.

Disney Online also produces FamilyFun.com (http://www.familyfun.com), the premier online family resource for great ideas, practical advice and fun stuff to do, and Movies.com (http://www.movies.com), a leading site that provides a broad array of reviews and information to help movie fans make the right choice on movie night.  Disney Online is a part of The Walt Disney Internet Group, which provides integrated strategic and operational Internet services for The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE: DIS) Internet initiatives.

Source: Toontown Online
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