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Virtual Worlds



Schedule-at-a-Glance   |   Tracks:  Kids  |  Hollywood  |  Enterprise  |  Future  |  Technology

Virtual Worlds Kids
Room 409 AB
Virtual Worlds Kids, part of the Virtual Worlds Expo, is designed for the owners of kids brands and provides attendees with the insight necessary to launch, operate and maintain a virtual world for kids and teens in this highly competitive landscape. The track focuses primarily on entertainment worlds, but also addresses the growing popularity of worlds for education. Kids are dominating the worlds landscape. There are 95 youth worlds currently live. Another 68 are in concepting, development, or testing.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008
7:30 am 9:00 am Registration and Networking
9:00 - 10:30 am Welcome and Virtual Worlds Expo Main Keynote
- Christopher V. Sherman, Executive Director, Virtual Worlds Expo

Conference Keynote
 - Jon Landau, Academy Award ® - winning Producer, Lightstorm
   Entertainment, Inc., Advisor, Multiverse
10:30 - 11:00 am Networking Break and Demos
11:00 - 12:00 pm Evolution of the Toy Industry: The Opportunities of Online Play
Kids are playing with more than just toys these days, engaging in virtual worlds often upwards of 16 hours each week - creating avatars, playing games, earning and spending virtual currency, and socializing. These online-offline, web-connected products offer enhanced play value and are the glue that bonds these digital natives, Generation Z (kids 2-14) to a new generation of play. This cutting edge discussion is focused on the evolution of toys and online play. Panelists from leading toy companies will discuss their latest innovations and how the world of safe online play is bringing the excitement of off line toys and online play to a whole new level. Attendees will also share insights gained from a new TIA/NPD Group research study, Online Play: Earning Mom’s Trust and Children’s Interest, which was commissioned to help industry players understand what’s driving moms and kids ages 2 to 14 to social, gaming and/or entertainment websites.
- Julie Livingston, Senior Director, Public Relations, Toy Industry Association, Inc. (moderator)
- Ginny McCormick, Interactive Director, Techno Source, maker of Clickables
- Brenda Elliot, Vice President, Marketing, iToys, maker of Me2
- Joshua Howard, Senior Vice-President of Online Development/Bella Sara Online, Hidden City Games
- Ethan Wood, Industrial Designer: UB Funkeys, Radica
12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 pm Purse Strings and Piggy Banks: Generating Revenues from Younger Users
As more and more kids turn to the Internet for entertainment and communications, youth-focused properties have become a hot ticket for many new virtual worlds developers. As an ever increasing number of worlds targeting children come to market, and populations in them soar, companies find themselves looking for creative ways to generate revenue from kids and tweens. But with parents controlling credit cards and purse strings, what are developers doing to make sure their young users can actually put money into the virtual world?

This session will focus on the changing nature of targeting younger users and how to ensure positive revenues from this audience. Topics to be covered include: What can be done to gain parental buy-in? How can developers create safe, secure financial environments for kids? What product design considerations need to be made? What is off limits and what is absolutely required when monetizing kid-friendly online worlds?
- Kenneth Locker, SVP Digital media, Cookie Jar Entertainment
2:00 - 2:30 pm Networking Break and Demos
2:30 - 3:30 pm Investing In Virtual Worlds
Investors are in the rare position to have a 30,000-foot view of the landscape. Looking at markets and trends and the entire ecology of the market, leaders from the investment community come together in this session and discuss investing in virtual worlds. Panelists will discuss today’s business environment, the evolution of the marketplace and where the next growth opportunities are likely to materialize.
- Timothy Chang, Principal, Norwest Venture Partners
- Kevin Covert, Co-Head of Media & Internet Investment Banking,
  Montgomery & Co., LLC
- Scott Raney, Partner, Redpoint Ventures
- Neil Harris, Executive Vice President, Simutronics (moderator)
3:30 - 4:00 pm Networking Break and Demos
4:00 - 5:00 pm Afternoon Keynote
Steve Parkis, Senior Vice President, Disney Online
5:00 - 6:00 pm
Evening Reception in the Expo Hall
Virtual Worlds Innovation Award winners announced
  Plus, view exciting virtual worlds demos and have a drink.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

7:30 am 9:00 am Registration and Networking
9:00 - 10:30 am

Welcome and Virtual Worlds Expo Main Keynote
- Christopher V. Sherman, Executive Director, Virtual Worlds Expo

Conference Keynote
 - Colin J. Parris, Ph.D., Vice President, Digital Convergence, IBM Research interviewed by Erica Driver, Principal, ThinkBalm

10:30 - 11:00 am Networking Break and Demos
11:00 - 12:00 pm

Best Practices for Education in Virtual Worlds
Join author/educator Cathy Arreguin of San Diego State University and Global Kids Online Leadership Director Barry Joseph as they discuss the Global Kids report to the MacArthur Foundation summarizing important concepts and examples to incorporate best practices into virtual education using Second Life. This fast-paced hour will also highlight practical examples and activities designed to inspire educators and others new to virtual worlds providing a broad level overview based on reports from the field.
- Barry Joseph, Online Leadership Director, Global Kids, Inc.
- Cathy Arreguin, Instructor in Virtual Worlds for Education, San Diego State University

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 pm Hot or Not: Generic, Branded and Functional Virtual Goods… Oh My!
The latest pair of jeans, CoverGirl lipstick, a Skittles bikini, or a “Go Obama” sign: What’s hot and what’s not? How to effectively advertise in social media is still a hot debate, and some doubt it will ever work. Consumers are spending millions of dollars on online branded goods within virtual communities. The numbers are becoming hard for brand managers and advertisers to ignore, but most don’t know what types of opportunities exist and what is most effective. People don’t want ads, but give them a branded good they connect to and it’s a different story. Executives will provide insight into what consumers are demanding and help brand managers and advertisers learn how to reach key demographics in virtual worlds. Attendees will learn: Key lessons about what’s worked and what’s flopped; How to evaluate what type of virtual good best meets your needs; And best practices to deliver effective branded items for the avatar-based environment and more.
- Lauren Bigelow, GM and SVP Marketing, WeeWorld Inc.
- Jeremy Monroe, Director of Business Development, North America, Sulake
- Matt Sterling, Property Sales Director - AIM, Platform A/Time Warner
- Debra Aho Williamson, Senior analyst, eMarketer Inc. (moderator)
2:00 - 2:30 pm Networking Break and Demos
2:30 - 3:30 pm Virtual Worlds in Schools
Digital media is bringing up a new generation, where among peers, kids are motivated to engage in challenging activities, create their own content, and learn new skills. Through their online activities, kids are finding immediate gratification as well as a sense of competence, autonomy, self-determination and connectedness. Is it possible for public education to inspire the same sense of engagement in learning?

In this case study, Dizzywood will discuss their unique pilot program with a public school district in Marin County, CA. In addition to learning core values such as caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness, students are engaging in activities which train them “to play by the rules,” to “protect the environment,” and “to cooperate with others.” The pilot program proves that kids can get excited about learning and engaged in the process. Is this the model for the future?
- Scott Arpajian, co-founder, Dizzywood
- Patti Purcell, Principal, Bel Aire Elementary School, Tiburon, CA
3:30 - 4:00 pm Networking Break and Demos
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Case Study: Bridging the Gap between
Digital First Brands and Consumer Product Lines
Many virtual worlds have stemmed from the creation of consumer product lines, but Neopets has made the transition from virtual to the mainstream mega-store shelves. Founded in 1998, Neopets is now branching out from their original online virtual architecture and is in the midst of launching their consumer product line. In order to bridge the gap between online and offline, the Neopets strategy is to retain the key emotional drivers – collectibility, exploration and competition – that made the kids-oriented virtual world so successful. This session discusses the strategy, challenges and processes of transitioning the once digital to the now tangible, maintaining the continuity of emotional drivers between online and offline elements, and evaluate their latest rates of success.
- Jeremy Padawer, Vice President of Entertainment Brand Marketing, JAKKS Pacific
- Stefanie Schwartz, Vice President, Marketing and Operations, Neopets, Nickelodeon


Virtual Worlds Expo is owned and operated by Virtual Worlds Management.


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