= SmallWorlds =
'SmallWorlds' was an online virtual world and social network service
created by Sega Games, a privately owned company based in Auckland,
New Zealand. The virtual world used Adobe Flash and ran inside a web
browser. It integrated with YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud, and a number
of other Web 2.0 services. The game had thousands of players, peaking
in 2012 with a total of 3.8 million visits globally from July to
It was announced in March 2018 that the game would be shut down due to
shrinking player numbers and financial struggles. It closed on 8th
April 2018. A message on the SmallWorlds website stated that the
company was in talks and hoped to resume service soon. As of December
2019, there is a new message on the SmallWorlds website indicating
that developers are working on a new project called TownCenter. It
also says that it will be "founded on similar principles, content, and
offers new life for those who called SmallWorlds 'home'."
In October 2009, SmallWorlds was voted top prize in the Social
Computing category of the Adobe MAX Awards 2009.
SmallWorlds was a free to play and join, with a requirement to be at
least 13 years of age. It was designed to be teenage friendly, being
more casual and less provocative than 'Second Life'.
SmallWorlds also had a VIP option with extended game options for
players at a monthly, three monthly, half yearly, or yearly cost. This
gave users extra game options such as further character customization,
clothing and wearable options, and other special perks not available
to free users. VIP could be purchased with real currencies used around
the world or with virtual currency (SmallWorld's Gold) that was earned
in the game and via offers through the game.
According to co-founder Mitch Olson, SmallWorlds' demographic base as
of 2012 consisted of about 65% female players, predominately teens,
followed by 'soccer mums'.
Partnerships and integration with social media
In February 2009, SmallWorlds launched embeddable versions of its
application that integrate with Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and Bebo.
With SmallWorlds, users could share their experiences together
watching YouTube videos, listening to music on SoundCloud together and
by browsing through photo galleries. SmallWorlds brought together all
aspects of social media, online games, instant messaging and digital
media into one bundle.
SmallWorlds was one of the tools for learning used for learning used
in the development of the New Zealand Virtual School project. The
project was scheduled to open in 2011, but with offices in central
Christchurch, the Christchurch earthquake saw several changes that led
to the termination of the project.
Players in SmallWorlds had seven skill paths: arena, artist, crafting,
explorer, farming, gamer and social, each with their own level. A
player could level up by playing missions, doing PVP shooting games,
sowing plants or crafting up items. There were many different widgets,
but only one or two that worked at any given time
SmallWorlds was based on the freemium model of sales, where one may
play the game free, but can pay for extras, such as VIP membership,
granting them access to various places around the site, and have the
ability to buy items other players do not have access to, as well as
gold, the main virtual currency of the game.
SmallWorlds entered Beta in June 2008 after 18 months in development,
and was released on 1 December 2008. Several software updates have
been released since that time.
SmallWorlds launched version 1.0 in 1 December 2008. This involved
performance enhancement, retexturing, and other various technical
The site later on had seen a major update as of 5 April 2013. The new
update includes a brand new layout for both the site and the forums.
Also, there was a new reward programme called Kudos in which players
receive a special item after completing the weekly challenge.
Smallworlds replaced the gold payout that players paid for as a bonus
with only XP rewards now.
Smallworld's had another major user-interface making it much sleeker
and less jumbled by combining controls and features into collapsible
panels on 13 June 2016.
Decline and shutdown
In February 2018, an I <3 SmallWorlds event was launched with an
aim to increase online store purchases. Players were encouraged to
purchase from SmallWorlds' online store packages, Gold, and VIP
memberships to support SmallWorlds financially. SmallWorlds stated
the company faced a shrinking audience and poor player numbers since
It was announced on 13 March 2018 that SmallWorlds and MiniMundos will
shut down on 8 April 2018. The closure was blamed on a shrinking
audience, financial struggles, and business laws in New Zealand.
SmallWorlds and MiniMundos officially were discontinued at 11:59PM on
8 April 2018. Players were active minutes before the shutdown and
throughout the day hosting farewell events. An offline message stated
that the company is in talks and hopes to resume service.
On November 23, 2018, Vince Gee announced on official subreddit for
Smallworlds on Reddit that a prototype based on the idea of
Smallworlds named "TownCenter" being released in early 2019. This
project is see how much the community can grow in order to signal a
strong business consideration. He stated that the prototype being
released in 2019 will need a strong demand for anything to move
"Small Worlds Brings Innovative Lifestreaming to the Virtual World"],
'Lifestream Blog', April 23, 2009.
"SmallWorlds Brings a Third Dimension to Web 2.0"], 'TechCrunch', May
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Original Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmallWorlds