Highly Anticipated Barbie Girl™ Device Arrives in Stores This Week, Allowing BarbieGirls.com Fans to Discover Even More Online Features and Experience Summer’s Hottest Tech Toy
Within just three months of its launch, BarbieGirls.com (www.BarbieGirls.com) has become the fastest growing virtual world, touting 4 million registered users to-date and growing by an average of 45,000 girls per day. This week, BarbieGirls.com looks to build on this unprecedented growth with the highly anticipated debut of the Barbie Girl™ device. Rolling into stores now, with a suggested retail price of $59.99, the multi-functional Barbie Girl™ device will be one of the most exciting tech gadgets introduced for girls this year, functioning as a portable music/MP3 player, next generation fashion doll and a “key” to unlock exclusive play features and trillions of character and room combinations on the popular BarbieGirls.com website. The portable, doll-inspired Barbie Girl™ device connects to a girl’s computer via a USB-enabled docking station and allows girls on BarbieGirls.com to adopt pets, such as a puppy, bunny or monkey; enter exclusive hangout spots within the world; “buy” or “gift” special fashions, including everything from a tiara to a cowboy hat; and decorate their rooms with girl-favorites such as an aquarium, tiki hut, and even a juke box that plays music.
In addition to unlocking trillions times more play on BarbieGirls.com (on top of what is already a robust play experience for non-Barbie Girl™ Device owners), the sleek, handheld 4 ½-inch Barbie Girl™ device is a music player for MP3- and WMA-file songs. Not only a music player but also the next generation of fashion doll play, the Barbie Girl™ device features a range of snap-on, mix-n-match fashions and accessories, so girls can customize and style out their Barbie Girl™ device, while also making a fashion statement of their own with clip-on earrings and beads for the device’s earphones.
“Barbie continues to lead and evolve as the way girls play evolves, and Barbie Girls has proven to directly deliver against what today’s girl wants, combining the perfect trio of fashion, music and an online virtual world,” said Chuck Scothon, general manager and senior vice president, Girls, Mattel Brands. “We are thrilled to be the first global, virtual online world designed exclusively for girls and offer girls an unparalleled online/offline hybrid play experience.”
Barbie Girls™ – “Biggest Bit of News in the Online World…”
In late April, the beta version of BarbieGirls.com launched globally, providing girls with “virtually” everything they could want online, including giving girls the opportunity to create a highly personalized avatar and “move” it throughout the Barbie Girls™ world, design their own rooms, shop with B Bucks (virtual currency) that girls can also earn, play games, watch videos and have real-time chats with other girls online. With 4 million users registered to-date, the site has been a runaway success in its beta phase and is scheduled to come out of beta in late August, receiving notice by industry experts.
“The biggest bit of news in the online world industry didn’t come from E3 in Los Angeles…in the first 60 days of its existence, the new online virtual world Barbie Girls has signed up three million members, and they’re adding new ones at the rate of 50,000 a day,” said Wagner James Au, GigaOM. “This is staggering growth by any standard, but even more so because Mattel’s MMO is still in Beta.”
In addition to being a favorite among girls, moms alike will endorse BarbieGirls.com, as it is designed to be a safe place for girls to play and interact online. The site features a four-pronged safety approach:
1. Chatting on BarbieGirls.com prevents the exchange of personal information between users who do not know each other in real life, and prevents inappropriate, hurtful or offensive language.
2. Easy-to-use safety features give a girl the ability to lock or open her room to other characters, the ability to block users and prevent them from contacting her on the site, and the ability to report other users for inappropriate behavior.
3. Robust moderation tools provide BarbieGirls.com administrators with the ability to monitor chat that occurs in the environment, track and monitor reported users, and ban users who attempt objectionable behavior.
4. Finally, later this summer, parental controls will be implemented, which will require parental permission via e-mail for girls to register on BarbieGirls.com. Additional parental permission will be required to access certain chat functionality.
Parents are also encouraged to spend time online with their children to monitor their online use, and “Valuable Tips for Girls” and a “Message to Parents” are featured on the site.
On August 13, Barbie Girls websites will go live in five additional languages including:
French: www.barbiegirls.fr (France)
Spanish: latina.barbiegirls.com (Latin America)
Italian: www.barbiegirls.it (Italy)
German: www.barbiegirls.de (Germany)
Portuguese: br.barbiegirls.com (Brazil)
Barbie Girl™ Device – Tech Specs and Availability
The Barbie Girl™ device has 512 MB of on-board memory to hold up to 120 MP3 or 240 WMA-file songs, and it has an expandable miniSD slot that holds a memory card up to 2 GB (available at retailers nationwide). The Barbie Girl™ device is available beginning now for a suggested retail price of $59.99 (U.S.) at major retailers across the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. There will also be a 1 GB version available at select retailers beginning in October. Both versions can play any non-DRM-encrypted MP3 or WMA files, comes with Windows® Media Player 11 and has a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery that charges via the USB port. Recommended system requirements include: broadband Internet connection; Windows XP or Windows Vista™; DirectX 9.0 or above; Pentium® III 800 MHz or above (or equivalent processor); 512 MB RAM; 200 MB free hard drive space; Internet Explorer 6.0 or later with SP1 and Macromedia Flash Plug In; CD-ROM drive and a USB 2.0 Port.
A belt clip, adjustable-sized earbuds and durable storage case are included with the Barbie Girl™ device. Accessory packs are sold separately for $9.99 (U.S.) and include various fashions, accessories and pets, as well as additional, exclusive content that comes to life online.