National Geographic Animal Jam
|Release date(s)||September 9, 2010|
|Genre(s)||MMO, Biology, Educational game|
National Geographic Animal Jam is a massively multiplayer online virtual world launched in 2010 by WildWorks in partnership with the National Geographic Society. The game, which has experienced 5% year-over-year growth, has more than 5 registered players, and it is one of the fastest-growing online kids properties worldwide.
The game was developed in 2010 by WildWorks (formerly called Smart Bomb Interactive) and it was launched in September 9, 2010. It is one of the fastest-growing online kids properties worldwide; in May 2011, Animal Jam announced it had surpassed 1 million registered players. By August 2012, the game surpassed 6 million players. In March 2013 the game had surpassed 10 million players. In 2014, it was announced Animal Jam has reached 30 million players worldwide. By 2016, it had reached over 55 million players.
Animal Jam takes place in a fictional country known as Jamaa, containing various biomes and cartoon player-created animals. Players can create an animal with an anonymous 3-part name, such as "Lucky Coolpride", "Master Awesomespirit", and "Majestic Smartybear", dress it up with virtual clothing, and control it in the gameplay environment. Players can also customize their den with furniture, chat with other players, adopt pets, play minigames, buy additional furniture and clothing with gems and diamonds, attend parties, and go on various RPG-style adventures.
Communication and safety
Animal Jam contains three versions of in-game chat, which offer varying levels of restriction. Restricted Chat, the default setting, only allows players to type pre-selected words or phrases. Bubble Chat does not allow players to type messages, but they can select expressive words and phrases from a pre-approved list. Safe Chat allows players to freely type words and phrases, which are still run through the game’s safety chat filter. Parents can control players’ chat settings from the site’s parent dashboard.
In addition to in-game nature facts and activities, Animal Jam provides educational video content featuring National Geographic herpetologist Brady Barr and marine biologist Tierney Thys. Furthermore, activities and messages subjected on preventing environmental problems can be found throughout the game. Also, almost everytime they complete a game or minigame they will be given an educational fact.
Game economy and trading
The in-game economy is made up of gems that can be obtained by playing games and participating in many other activities. There is also a more valuable currency of diamonds which can be obtained through Animal Jam Outfitters purchases, membership purchases, and the daily spin. In addition, a diamond is distributed to members once every week.
Many players trade items through a complex currency, depending on each player's views of the item, along with the item's origin and age. The older the item, the more rare it is.
Players can obtain clothing and furniture they desire through a player-wide exchange system in which one player offers items for another player's item displayed on their profile's trade list.
Animal Jam shirts, books, notebooks, wristbands, tote bags, in-game currency and mouse pads are sold on the Animal Jam Outfitters site.
In 2013, WildWorks partnered with Sidekix to produce a set of eight stuffed animals modeled after Animal Jam avatars that can "flip" into a ball.
In March 2015, WildWorks announced it had registered Commonwealth Toys and Novelty as master toy licensee. Currently, Commonwealth is producing a new toy line called "Enchanted Earth".
In October 2015, WildWorks named Jazwares as the master toy partner for the Animal Jam brand. Jazwares will develop figures, playsets, and plush items that will launch globally in 2016.
In March 2016, WildWorks added six multi-category licensing partners for the “Animal Jam” brand. The new licensees include: Issac Morris for apparel, Accessory Innovations for bags, backpacks, and accessories, Palamon for costumes, Wooky for crafts and activity books, Bulls-i-Toy for trading cards, and Penguin for publishing.
In June 2016, WildWorks released Animal Jam toys which consisted of stuffed animals, figures and toy sets.
In September 2016, thetoyinsider.com included Animal Jam in the Hot Top 20 Game List for 2016.
On July 18, 2013, a mobile app based upon the game titled "Tunnel Town" was released. The game allows for players to create their own "bunny empires" by purchasing new rabbit species. Later in 2013, a second Animal Jam mobile game was made available for purchase, titled "AJ Jump." This game centers on kangaroos (which, at the time, were recently introduced to the Animal Jam game) and is very similar in format to "Doodle Jump." After two years without an Animal Jam-based mobile game release, WildWorks released Play Wild, a 3D mobile version of the Animal Jam universe. As of the moment, any changes players make to their accounts from Play Wild will not affect their accounts on Animal Jam. In February 2016, Animal Jam announced their mobile app Play Wild reached over 1 million downloads. The app is the top downloaded iPad educational game in 20 countries, the top downloaded game for kids 9-11 in 35 countries, and top grossing iPad game in 54 countries.
The Gem donation box in the Conservation Museum is one way that Animal Jam helps support the mission of the National Geographic Society to inspire kids to care about the planet. A significant portion of all revenue Animal Jam collects goes to support National Geographic's worldwide conservation efforts. They determine which animal National Geographic should contribute more to. By June 2012, players enabled the Animal Jam creators at WildWorks to contribute over $3 Million to the National Geographic Society's work. The Play Wild Fund was introduced in November 2011 to allow players to choose which animals and conservation efforts they wanted to donate to.
|Mr. Dad||National Geographic Animal Jam||Won|
|National Parenting Publications Awards||National Geographic Animal Jam||Won|
|Mom's Choice Awards||National Geographic Animal Jam||Won|
|Life Buzz Award||National Geographic Animal Jam||Won|
|About.com Readers' Choice Awards||National Geographic Animal Jam||Won|
|Webby Awards, Games Category||National Geographic Animal Jam||Nominated|
The game has received relatively positive reviews, however was criticized for moderation flaws and strict limitations for users without membership. Common Sense Media reviewer Dana Villamagna gave Animal Jam a 3-star rating, saying that the site was most appropriate for ages ten and over due to dangerous "unmonitored chat." Gamezebo reviewer Nick Tylwalk gave the site a 4-star review, stating that "there's something [here] for animal lovers over a wide range of ages."
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- "National Geographic Animal Jam surpasses 6 million young players". PRNewswire. August 2012.
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- Takahashi, Dean (May 2011). "National Geographic virtual world Animal Jam hits a million kids". Venture Beat.
- Grubb, Jeffrey (March 2013). "National Geographic's Animal Jam reaches 10 million players — iOS spin-off in the works". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- "What types of chat can I set for my child's account?". Animal Jam Help Center.
- Schiff, Allison (December 2014). "Animal Jam: 'Monetizing An App For Kids Is Easy - Doing It Ethically Is What's Hard'". Adexchanger.
- Abraham, Kera (June 2014). "Marine biologist and science educator is on a mission to promote ocean stewardship.". Monterey County Weekly.
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- "Animal Jam lands master toy licensee". March 10, 2015.
- "WildWorks Names Jazwares as the Master Toy Partner for Animal Jam Brand". Marketwire. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- "Tunnel Town". tunneltown.com.
- "AJ Jump". animaljam.com.
- WildWorks. "AJ Jump: Animal Jam Kangaroos! - Android Apps on Google Play". google.com.
- "Play Wild". animaljam.com.
- "Animal Jam Named Fastest Growing Gaming Site in the United States by SimilarWeb". Marketwire. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- National Geographic. "Animal Jam". National Geographic Kids. National Geographic. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- "Smart Bomb And Animal Jam Help Conserve Big Cats With Today's Launch Of The 'Play Wild' Fund". Develop Online.
- "Seal of Approval Winners, Father's Day 2011". Mr. Dad. June 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- "National Parenting Publications Awards :: Virtual". National Parenting Publications Awards. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- "Mom's Choice Awards - Store". Mom's Choice Awards - Store. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- "Jodie Lynn's Life Buzz Award Program". Jodie Lynn's Life Buzz Award Program. Jodie Lynn. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- Matte, Christy (2011). "Best Website for Elementary School Kids - 2011 Readers' Choice Award Winner". About Parenting. Christy Matte. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
- "Smart Bomb's National Geographic Animal Jam Nominated in 17th Annual Webby Awards". National Geographic. April 12, 2013.
- "Common Sense Media - Animal Jam". commonsensemedia.org.
- "Gamezebo Animal Jam Review". Gamezebo.