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80 million created avatars in Habbo Hotel

The company behind Habbo, one of the world's largest virtual worlds for teens, announced that the site has hit 80 million created avatars

The company behind Habbo, one of the world's largest virtual worlds for teens, announced that the site has hit 80 million created avatars.

Habbo was launched in Finland in 2000 by the Sulake Corporation and has since grown into 31 country sites across five continents. Over 6 million unique users visit the site every month.

On average, 75,000 members join each day with each user spending 32 minutes per site visit. This global community of teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17 have created over 80 million characters.

"When we first created the idea behind Habbo, it wasn't our intention that it should explicitly be an online community for teenagers or that it would run for so long," said Habbo founder Sampo Karjalainen.

"The first version of Habbo was a hobby project that myself and my partner, Aapo Kyrölä, were working on and one on which we would only focus for a month or two. But as the community grew, based solely on word of mouth, we of course decided not to take the service down."

Speaking as part of a Virtual Worlds Forum Europe panel discussion entitled "Kidalicious: Are kids and teenagers the future for virtual worlds?", Karjalainen explained how the company decided to change its focus.

"In 2000, when we officially launched Habbo in Finland, we realised that the majority of the community consisted of teenagers. On that basis we took a decision to continue to develop the site but only for teens.

"Now seven years on with 80 million characters created, its clear that teenagers get more out of virtual world experiences and that we made the right decision,â Karjalainen said.

The Virtual Worlds Forum Europe took place from October 23 to 26 in London.

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Mark Androvich

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