Mattel launched Barbie Girls, a "virtual world" that "will allow children to create their own virtual characters, design their own room and try on clothes at a cyber mall." (Forbes.) In the same article, a company exec is quoted saying it's "the first global online virtual world exclusively for girls". The cool part is that "the doll-inspired handheld portable device will be available in July at an expected retail cost of $59.99. It is designed to unlock even more content and activities on BarbieGirls.com, like adopting a virtual pet and buying clothes using virtual money."
I barely squeezed in for a moment (the site was so overcrowded it wasn't accepting new people all morning). The experience is pretty straightforward; it's somewhere in the neighborhood of Kaneva, Coke Studios and Virtual Laguna Beach but more pink. A few interesting things I noticed:
The virtual town has a cinema that among other Barbie-related things plays spots for Mattel's products.
And you get virtual bucks for watching the spots. The B Bucks can be spent on furniture for your room, accessories, outfits -- that kind of stuff.
Apparently, other Mattel products have promo codes that you can enter to unlock more content.