Animal Jam logo
|Release||September 9, 2010|
|Genre(s)||MMO, Educational video game|
Animal Jam is an online virtual world that was launched in 2010 by WildWorks in partnership with the National Geographic Society. With about 160 million registered players, Animal Jam is one of the fastest-growing online children's properties worldwide.
In Animal Jam, players who are mainly children and teenagers discover and learn various facts about zoology using the game's numerous features, including mini-games, adventures, parties, and social interactions. Due to its growing popularity, Animal Jam has spawned different types of merchandise, including figurine toys, children's books, and a subscription box.
The game was developed by WildWorks (formerly called Smart Bomb Interactive) and it was launched on September 9, 2010. It is one of the fastest-growing online children's properties worldwide. In 2011, Animal Jam recorded 1 million registered players. Later, in March 2013, the game had surpassed 10 million players, a milestone which was posted on the game itself.
Animal Jam takes place in a fictional area known as Jamaa, with various biomes and customizable animals. New players create an animal with a three-part name, such as "Crashing Magicshark." From that point, players can dress it up with virtual clothing and control it in the gameplay environment. The original six virtual animals that could be created were the panda, rabbit, tiger, wolf, koala, monkey, seal, and penguin. Many more animals have been added following the six, giving players a possibility of seeing one of their favorite animals in the game. Players can also customize their dens with furniture, chat with other players, adopt pets, play mini-games, buy additional furniture, clothing, and dens with gems and diamonds as the game's currency, attend parties, and go on various RPG-style adventures. There is a membership feature available that costs real money. Only members get access to exclusive dens, pets, animals, and adventures, among other things.
Animal Jam contains three versions of in-game chat, which offer varying levels of restriction. Safe 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 are still allowed select expressive words and phrases from a pre-approved list. Safe Chat Plus allows players to freely type words and phrases, which are still run through the game’s safety chat filter. Safe Chat Plus is only available to paying members. Parents can control players’ chat settings from the site’s parent dashboard. The game does not allow profanity. One can also report or block other players for unacceptable, impolite, or rude behavior.
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 about the prevention of environmental problems can be found throughout the game.
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 Isaac 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.
The most popular mobile application by WildWorks is Play Wild, a 3D mobile version of the Animal Jam universe, which was released in August 2015. In February 2016, they announced their mobile app Play Wild had 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. On May 19, 2017, Play Wild won the Google Play Awards 2017 for Best Kids' App.
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.
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.
The game has received relatively positive reviews; however, it was criticized for moderation flaws and strict limitations. 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."
|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|
|2016 Parents' Choice Awards ||National Geographic Animal Jam||Won|
|2017 Google Play Awards, Best Kids App Category||Animal Jam - Play Wild||Won|
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