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Industry Technology
Founded 2008
Headquarters Auckland
Key people
Mitch Olson and Darren Green co-founders

SmallWorlds is a virtual world and social network service by Outsmart Games, a privately owned company based in Auckland, New Zealand.[1][2] The virtual world runs inside a web browser and integrates with YouTube, Flickr, and a number of other Web 2.0 services. The game has a 25+ million playerbase and is one of the most popular gaming sites for 13+.[citation needed]


In October 2009, SmallWorlds was voted top prize in the Social Computing category of the Adobe MAX Awards 2009[3]


SmallWorlds is a free to play and join, with a requirement to be at least 13 years of age. The game has users that are both teens and adults. SmallWorlds is aimed at being teenage friendly so it is designed to be more casual and less provocative than Second Life.[4]

SmallWorlds also has a VIP option with extended game options for players at a monthly cost. This gives users extra game options such as further character customization, clothing / wearable options, and other special perks not available to free users. VIP can be purchased with real currencies used around the world or with virtual currency (SmallWorld's Gold) that is earned in the game and via offers through the game.

According to co-founder Mitch Olson, SmallWorlds demographic base as of 2012 are about 65% female predominately teens, followed by soccer mums.[5] This game is played by a lot of people worldwide and has added many items of clothing to represent many different cultures.

Partnerships and integration with social media[edit]

In February 2009, SmallWorlds launched embeddable versions of its application that integrate with Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and Bebo.

With SmallWorlds, users can share their experiences together watching YouTube videos, listening to music on SoundCloud together browsing through photo galleries. SmallWorlds brings together all aspects of social media, online games, instant messaging, digital media, all into one bundle.[6]

In Education[edit]

SmallWorlds was one of the tools for learning used in the development of the New Zealand Virtual School project.[7][8] The project was scheduled to open in 2011, but with offices in central Christchurch the Christchurch earthquake saw several changes that led to the termination of the project.


Players in SmallWorlds have seven skill paths: arena, artist, crafting, explorer, farming, gamer and social, each with their own level. A player can level up by playing missions, doing PVP shooting games, sowing plants or crafting up items. There are many different widgets, but only one or two that work at any given time[9]

Business Model[edit]

SmallWorlds is based on the freemium model of sales, where one may play the game free, but can pay for extras, such as VIP membership, granting them access to various places around the site, and have the ability to buy items other players do not have access to, as well as gold, the main virtual currency of the game.


SmallWorlds entered Beta in June 2008 after 18 months in development, and was released on 1 December 2008. Several software updates have been released since that time.[10] SmallWorlds launched version 1.0 in December 1, 2008. This involved performance enhancement, retexturing, and other various technical changes.

The site later on had seen a major update as of April 5, 2013. The new update includes a brand new layout for both the site and the forums. Also, there was a new reward programme called Kudos in which players receive a special item after completing the weekly challenge. Smallworlds replaced the gold payout that players paid for as a bonus with only XP rewards now.


Languages URL Opening Date
English June 2008
Portuguese May 2012


  1. ^ Crunchbase Web Directory
  2. ^ Outsmart Website
  3. ^ "2009 Adobe MAX Awards Winners Announced". BusinessWire. Rebecca Michals. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
  4. ^ TechCrunch, May 21 2008
  5. ^ Mitch, Olson. "Auckland IT scene: Virtual game, real world success". Computer World. Ulrika Hedquist. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
  6. ^ "SmallWorlds". MMOBomb. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "Learning in a Virtual World for Real Life". doi:10.13140/rg.2.1.5029.3602. 
  8. ^ "Bid to launch online school | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News". Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  9. ^ "Skill Levels & XP". SmallWorlds. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  10. ^ SmallWorlds Media Resources