National Geographic and Utah-based kid-friendly video game developer Smart Bomb Interactive are teaming to launch National Geographic Animal Jam.
National Geographic’s first virtual animal world encourages kids to discover science and nature and in another first, the company is offering content from its multimedia resources as an integrated component of a virtual world including video, photos and facts about animals, plants and insects.
At Animaljam.com, kids explore the land of Jamaa and gather and earn gems, which they can use to personalize animal avatars and decorate their own animal den. As they progress on their journey, they uncover the story of the animals of Jamaa who themselves are on a quest to discover the origin of the Spirit Stones, artifacts of a past age that give each animal species its unique characteristics. Players can also create their own content that will appear in the virtual world, including hosting special in-world parties or contributing their own artwork that could be featured in the in-world newspaper, Jamaa Journal.
National Geographic Animal Jam is based on a free-to-play model. Early next month, following a beta-testing phase, players will also be able to sign up for a paid membership. On the safety side, the virtual world is supervised 24/7 by moderation technology as well as professional moderators. The world will also be free of the advertising and product promotions often found on other online destinations for kids.