Site review: Zoomumba


Thanks to Alan for contacting me and asking me to highlight up and coming new sites on the blog. One of the issues I have here is that I get sent so many sites each week – by email and Twitter, that it’s difficult to do a review on all of them. Also, I’d rather to stick to the sites that I think are going to be successful rather than point to the many poor ones.

Chances are, if you have children, you already know about Zoomumba. It was introduced by my nephew to my son a fortnight ago, and now my eldest three are hooked. My wife too.

The site takes the Sims-like concept of creating a zoo, and puts it inside a browser. The typical, get-more-virtual-money-to-buy-more-attractions aim of the game seems to be addictive to my family!

From my perspective, the clever part of the game is the virtual currency element – you can only earn silver ‘coins’ inside the game to buy more attractions (e.g. animals, rides, amenities, merchandise shops, etc.). To collect gold coins though, well, you have to buy these with real money.

On Friday I joked with my wife that the kids will just need to spend more time collecting silver coins rather than trade our hard earned real cash for virtual stuff. At which point she owned up that she had let the kids “buy” some of the virtual currency. I won’t report on the rest of the conversation.

Here’s a related thought though – this week, VISA bought a virtual currency company, Playspan, for $190 million in cash. PlaySpan raised $18m in funding from Vodafone and Softbank last August, raising the total funding to $42m in three rounds.

Inside Network estimated that virtual goods in social games grew to $1.6 billion in revenues in 2010. I know where £2 of the 2011 revenues can be attributed.

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