Mattel launches Barbie Girls' virtual world

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Recognizing that all consumers -- not just adults -- are spending more time online, toy company Mattel has created a virtual world for girls where they can create their own characters, design a room, shop with virtual money, play games, watch videos, have real-time chats with other girls and send e-mail.
 
The virtual world is called Barbie Girls, and it is being released in two stages.
 
The first is an online virtual world at http://www.barbiegirls.com/, which launched last week. In July, Mattel, New York, will introduce a $59.99 MP3 player that, in addition to playing music, will include customizable fashions and accessories and serve as a key component to unlocking additional material on the Barbie Girls' Web site.
 
Barbie Girls is the result of listening to what girls want, researching how they play and fusing it with the right technology to deliver a completely new experience, Chuck Scothon, general manager and senior vice president-girls at Mattel Brands, said in a statement.
 
Two types of chat will be available on the site. B Chat is the more widely available and more restricted kind of chat that is conducted in the girls' room and in public zones. Secret B Chat is a private chat that happens only in a girls' room and is only accessible to girls who have the Barbie Girls' MP3 device and who have physically connected their devices into another user's computer docking station.
 
Safety features on the site include word filters to keep chat secure, prevent the exchange of personal information and block inappropriate language.
 
Girls also have the ability to lock or open their rooms to other characters, and site administrators have the ability to monitor chat and track users.

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