Based on the buzz and advertising build up before this year’s NY Toy Fair, I’ve been predicting that the digital toy company Techno Source had a unique technology announcement to make. Just a few days before the show started, signs were pointing to a collaboration between Techno Source and Disney. Both were planning to deliver a big announcement on February 18 at Toy Fair. I made it to the press event and the news definitely raises the bar for the future of successful social networking sites and virtual worlds.

As the news outlets have been reporting since Disney’s acquisition of Club Penguin, Disney is very interested in growing its online virtual world properties. in the last seven months we’ve seen a number of virtual world announcements from Disney. Disney and Techno Source jointly announced their work together to create the latest in virtual world experiences called Pixie Hallow and a physical extension to that world called Clickables. While you can create your own custom fairies today, the Pixie Hallow site will launch later this year.

Pixie Hallow is a virtual world where girls ages 8 – 12 can create their own fairy avatar and explore, better yet “fly”, through the magical fairy world. The world will also include many games and communication tools to interact with other fairies through a number of safe filtered, monitored and canned communication methods. As you can imagine, PixieHallow is beautiful, lush, and visually captivating world. However, the biggest surprise in this world is how Disney developed the art in this world. In true Disney fashion, this virtual world was developed using a multiplane camera technique often used in Disney animated features. This visual technique is also sometimes referred to as a parallax process which is often used to animate and bring alive background art. What’s so unique about this? It’s a striking visual technique that gives the illusion of depth in the virtual word that I have yet to see anywhere else online. It’s a 2D enhancement that ads a level of realism to the product. Each plane of the background moves at its own unique speed. Items in the foreground more at a faster speed than items in the background. If you’ve ever worked in Flash you know that Flash tends to choke on large moving animations. Flash generally doesn’t play nice when it comes to pushing multiple layers of full screen motion either, let alone a single layer of full screen art. Whatever Disney discovered to pull off the effect, I applaud their engineering and animation teams for their success. Job well done!

So Pixie Hallow is the Disney side of this announcement. Techno Source brings a complimentary and compelling experience to the party in the form of a technology called Clickables. Clickables in its simplest form, are like tiny little digital buttons that can be attached to any item; jewelry, notebooks, clothing, whatever. Each button contains a tiny piece of data inside. An initial use for these buttons is to create charms for bracelets. A bracelet can have many different dangling charms but also has a main touch pad location on the bracelet where charm information from a friend can be transferred and captured. Once the tiny bits of information are captured, the bracelet can be “docked” and that information will be uploaded to your virtual fairly account. When this is done, information about your friend is added to your account. The uploaded information also unlocks different online trinkets and game experiences as well.

The beauty of Clickables is that this social experience is not purely a virtual one. Clickables technology, combined with the Pixie Hallow virtual world, encourages real world interaction and real world engagement. Once you’ve physically met someone, clicked bracelets upload that shared, real world event to your Pixie Hallow account. No longer do you have to worry about connecting with people online that you’ve never met.

I’m seeing many unique possibilities for Clickables beyond the Pixie Hallow experience. Similar uses of the technologies could make attending real world exciting long after the event is over. Be prepared to see more announcements related to this new way of connecting with people in the physical world and then sharing more meaningful relationships online.

Pixie Hallow by Disney and Clickables technology by Techno Source

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4 Responses to “”

  1. AtPress Event Says:

    I hear the inventor of Clickables is a technology whiz and worked very hard to develop the technology and core value of online / offline social networking! I really enjoy reading your blog Scott.

  2. Scott Says:

    The inventor of Clickables is indeed a technology whiz. I’ve had the pleasure to work with this person in the past. I’m betting you will see many more cool tech products hatching from this lab in the years ahead!

  3. Scott Says:

    Here’s some additional information about the products and virtual world “Pixie Hallow” announced by Disney and Techno Source from the 2008 NY Toy Fair.

  4. Lawrence T. Smith Says:

    Disney/Silvertree/Schell – Remarkable! Head and heels above the rest of the gamers…

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