Finnish publisher Dramaforum has appointed virtual world development studio Dubit to develop a virtual world for its Petra’s Planet franchise.
The virtual world will be based on children’s book series Petra, which follows a young girl transported to different countries - such as Senegal, Sri Lanka, Samiland, and Jordan - through her mother’s magical theatre wardrobe.
The new platform upgrades Dramaforum's current online experience for Petra’s Planet, as Dubit Platform allows the virtual world to be delivered as a new App on iPad and other mobile devices.
Petra’s Planet will be free-to-play and subscription packages will be available along with the option to purchase virtual items, with children able to care for virtual pets, decorate their room and socialize with friends.
Eevamaria Halttunen, founder of Petra’s Planet, said: “Petra´s Planet was created because I wanted a safe online environment for kids. We at Dramaforum feel that our globe is an extremely interesting place full of new exciting things to discover and learn about. Through Petra´s Planet we want to give children an opportunity to explore and discover socially the wonders of the world safely from home.”
Matthew Warneford, Dubit’s chief technical officer, said: “Children are spending more time online and playing in virtual worlds. Currently there are more than 972m virtual world accounts registered to children aged 5-15 and this number is growing. For publishers, virtual worlds can act as the perfect brand-extension for their books. They allow children to engage with their favourite stories in ways that have not been possible before as well as providing educational benefits.
“We believe, and our research shows, that a strong story is integral to an engaging virtual world for children, so to work on a story like Petra’s Planet is a fantastic opportunity.”