Saturday, December 27, 2008

Online Disney Games

Did you know that Disney tried an online theme park game, and it didn't work?

Disney's Virtual Magic Kingdom, also known simply as VMK, was a free massively multiplayer online game run by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online. It was a virtual representation of the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom theme parks, containing areas and minigames which were based on real park scenery and attractions.

They closed it after two years. So after that failure, they might not try it again, but they probably could do it successfully with a new business plan. Basically, they were only doing it to advertise the parks, rather than making it a separate world that could be magical and could include Disney characters. I even remember seeing these VMK kiosks in the theme parks, where they were obviously trying to build awareness.

I think they should try again with a new name (“Disneyland Online” works), the usual “pay for more features” business model (and the “buy merchandise to also unlock more features” business model), build a version with lower needs for active staff monitoring and involvement (staff cost money, which lowers the profits), add Disney characters, make the park(s) a “magical” place (maybe where you can battle other people, cast spells, or something “magical”), don't try so hard on the boring Disney park ideas (like Hidden Mickeys, pins, etc.), and basically try to make it fun and entertaining like their other online games…

Other online Disney MMOGs:

§ Toontown:

§ Club Penguin:

§ Pixie Hollow (Tinker Bell):

§ Pirates Online:

I often wondered why Disney did a Penguin-themed game that isn’t connected to their licenses, but then I realized it’s because they bought it. They didn’t start it.

So I definitely think a theme park game should be in there. They just have to make it enjoyable, market it right, and give it a better business model.

I loved the classic 1990 NES game, Disney’s Adventures in the Magic Kingdom:

You walk around the park, talk to the Disney characters, answer trivia to unlock levels, go on rides as levels, beat the levels, and slowly progress through a story that unlocks more of the park.

Funny. I don’t remember the graphics looking this horrible. =^)


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