Habbo creates Twilight space for virtual vampires
In November, fans of Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series will be able to indulge their paranormal passions in Habbo, a virtual world played by more than 12 million users worldwide.
While its audience is geographically diverse, Habbo's deliberately pixelated aesthetic (right) has appealed mostly to teenagers who grok its retro vibe and can appreciate the game's campy, playful humor. The average age of a Habbo player is 15, according to Teemu Huuhtanen, executive vice president of Sulake, Habbo's developer in Helsinki, Finland.
As a result, a number of Hollywood properties have used Habbo as a doorway into the fickle world of teens, including "American Idol," "Heroes" and "Spiderwick Chronicles."
The latest to jump on the Habbo bandwagon is "Twilight." The four books in the series have sold 70 million copies worldwide, and the first movie, produced by Summit Entertainment, generated $400 million in box office sales last year.
To kick off the Nov. 20 release of the second movie, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," Habbo's developers will be opening up Twilight-themed rooms and hosting related online parties to stir up fan fervor in early November. In addition, players have the option of buying virtual items associated with the franchise.
If you've read the books or watched the movie, you may be interested in knowing that among the virtual items for sale on Habbo are a water fountain, a clock tower, the Volturi Crest and Jacob's barn door.
If you're not a Twilight fan, it could just be a matter of time before you get bitten by the vampire epidemic that's spreading faster than swine flu among the world's women and teens.
-- Alex Pham
Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.