Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/24/moshi_monsters/
Moshi Monsters pushed onto pint-sized kiddies' mobes
Under-10s' social network spreads
Monstro city, the social network frequented by all the coolest kids in the playground, is going mobile and has signed a deal with Gree to deploy at least two games on that platform.
UK-based Moshi Monsters is school-yard flavour of the month right now, boasting collectable figurines and a social gaming network which makes money by selling subscriptions rather than being plastered with adverts.
Mind Candy, the company behind the brand, has already pushed the monsters into card games, Mega Blocks and a Nintendo DS game, but will now work with Gree to get Moshis (and their Moshlings) into Android and iOS devices.
The Gree platform is a social network already supporting 230 million users, many of them playing the kind of games one sees on Facebook (China's Tencent is a partner) where one gains credit signing up other players and one's achievements are automatically blogged for all to see. The company provides a free API allowing developers to tie their games into the social cloud and, more importantly, the billing platform for in-game currency used to upgrade or enhance the game.
Moshi Monsters is firmly aimed at the under tens, though characters such as Dr Strangeglove provide more than a nod to their parents. The brand brought in $100m in 2011, and that was before it had launched the Moshi Album Music Rox (following a delay caused by the company's rather-cavalier attitude to identity rights – characters such as Lady GooGoo and Dusbin Beaver had to be hastily replaced with Missy Kicx and Zack Binspin respectively).
The Moshi Monsters game is Flash-based, letting children explore the world of Monstro City while posting messages to friends and admiring each others' houses, though there's no attempt to bribe players into building out their networks as is commonplace these days. Subscribers (£30 a year) get recruited as Super Moshis, sworn to defend the city though a series of missions aimed to thwart the evil machinations of the aforementioned Dr Strangeglove.
In-game currency is gathered by completing those missions, and various other faux-educational challenges, but Rox (as the currency is now known) can't be bought, for the moment at least.
Whether Mind Candy will be able to resist the revenue potential offered selling Rox, and enabled by Gree's back-end, remains to be seen. The company promises two games during 2012, one of which will be a rendition of the existing Flash-based offering, but hasn't responded to our queries on the billing side of things. ®