Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is Yoville the New Habbo Hotel?

When I first look at Yoville with its 2.5D isometric view and furniture focused economy, I thought it screamed Habbo Hotel. Which is probably a good thing since Habbo Hotel pulls in about 10 million users monthly worldwide.

Right now, Yoville gets ~1.1 million monthly users (according to Facebook). BTW, I love Facebook's new monthly user stats, I can finally do apples-to-apples comparisons. And keep in mind that they acquired 1.1 million users in just over three months. So next time someone tells you about how Facebook is a dead platform because of invite restrictions, nod in agreement. Let's agree to keep the ill-informed off the gravy train.

Yoville was recently acquired by Zynga and unlike most of their acquisitions which I thought were a waste of money (unless you just consider them as talent buys), I think Yoville could actually grow. In point of fact, Yoville is not a game as much as a chat room masquerading as a virtual world. Which is not a bad thing (see the first paragraph about Habbo Hotel's 10 million monthly users).

Yoville is a little more risque than Habbo, suggesting its older target demographic. For instance, in Yoville, you can get drunk. That would be a huge no-no in tween-friendly Habbo. It makes sense, Facebook is not a tween stronghold. If you want to appeal to college students, you better let them drink. If you've spend ten minutes hanging out with a group of college kids (even Ivy League) all they talk about is what they're currently drinking, what they drank last weekend, and what they are going to go drink when they finish their drink. That and Nietzsche (at least that what we did at the University of Chicago - at least it wasn't Ayn Rand...yeah, I'm looking at you, Cornell.).

If you have no idea what Yoville is, well that's because I'm not in a mood to describe it, so check out the video below. What impressed me about this video is the amazing amount of variation between the user's rooms. In Yoville, user decorate their own rooms with a limited set of items and tools, and yet manage to create entirely personalized spaces that exceed my expectations. Enjoy.