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from the L.A. Times

Disney launches online community for gamers

The Walt Disney Co., which has built online virtual worlds with igloos, pirate ships and fairy dust, is creating another digital playground around the Nintendo DS handheld game system.

Disney Interactive Studios today is launching an online community for Disney video games with the sale of the Nintendo DS version of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."

The DGamer site lets players create a 3D avatar and a profile, choosing from a variety of outfits, hats, eye wear and accessories (including such Disney staples as mouse ears and Disney-themed costumes).

Kids can go online, using an Internet-connected PC or the Nintendo DS's Wi-Fi connection, to chat with other gamers, view profiles of their friends and post high scores to the leader board. They can also earn "honors" for completing in-game missions, and unlock features, such as special Prince Caspian character costumes, which transfer automatically from the DGamer website to the DS games.

This is another attempt to foster community around the big D: brand Disney.

-- Dawn Chmielewski

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