ToyNews' research partner, Dubit Research, has studied the popularity of toys based on online worlds, looking at Disney’s Club Penguin, Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters, as well as Build-a-BearVille, Poptropica and Webkinz.
The study of 500 kids showed that 55 per cent of children owned a toy from at least one of these games. The most popular was Disney’s Club Penguin, with 32 per cent of children owning a branded toy from the online world.
Each toy is connected to the virtual world as they’re packaged with a code that allows items to be unlocked online.
Moshi Monsters came a close second and the study showed that even before Christmas, a quarter of UK children already own a Moshi Monster or a Moshling (a Moshi pet).
As a comparison with toys related to kid’s TV shows, the research shows that just as many children own Club Penguin toys as they do toys based on Dr Who.
Furthermore, earlier Dubit research for ToyNews showed that Moshi Monster toys are more popular (25 per cent) than toys based Ben 10 (20 per cent), and only marginally less than popular than Spongebob Square Pants (29 per cent).
The research also showed that toys from virtual worlds are gender-neutral, with equal popularity across boys and girls.
73 per cent of the children questioned had played at least one of these online games, with half having played Club Penguin and 47 per cent having played Moshi Monsters.
Dubit’s head of research, Peter Robinson, commented: “Children are spending more time playing in virtual worlds and now those worlds are becoming part of their offline playtime.
“Today’s kids are platform agnostic and don’t care where their favourite stories and characters come from. It used to be the case that books or TV shows launched characters and toys, but now online entertainment is proving just as important.”