updated 12:40 pm EDT, Thu April 26, 2007
Barbie raids music players
Not content with its dominance of toys and DVDs, Mattel is taking the Barbie franchise online this week with Barbie Girls, which it positions as the first virtual world designed specfically for young girls. Subscribers will be able to engage in a number of stereotypically female activities, including customizing appearance, designing a personal room, and shopping at a virtual mall. Much of a user's time will be spent earning "B Bucks," needed to use all the available options.
The service is essentially a promotional vehicle however for an upcoming music player called the Barbie Girl, launching in July. Shaped like a doll, it will have its own optional clothing and accessories, and will behave as a "key" to unlock new items and locations in the online realm. The player itself is limited to playing only non-DRM encrypted MP3 and WMA files, which are stored on 512MB of internal memory, or else on a miniSD card. Pricing should be $60 for the player and $10 for each Accessory Pack.