Kid’s Software & The Evolution of SaaS
Something interesting just occurred to me as my (now) four year old and a couple of her friends were huddled around one of the computers in my office playing a Dragon Tales coloring game while my seven and eleven year old were in their respective rooms playing with the virtual pets in their virtual worlds of Webkinz.
Why is the fact that my kids are huddled around their Mac Mini’s on a cold day playing computer games in any way remarkable? Because all of them were playing games which are hosted and presented via the Internet; no software except a browser required on this end.
Well, the really interesting thing was that my wife reminded me that we haven’t purchased ANY children’s software titles in the last two years because all of the games, learning applications and reference materials are all on-line. Software as a, well, service. And mostly free to boot! The same usually can’t be said in the, um, "adult" realm.
This sounds like the kiddy version of GoogleApps. How long until you don’t even have to buy a DVD for your XBox, PS3 or Wii…as high speed feeds continue to rise, it’s not that large of a stretch…
I think it’s a very interesting perspective on the more "mainstream" adoption of SaaS and a rather interesting way of monetizing it. In the case of Webkinz, while the virtual world — replete with currency, domiciles, and social services — is free, one has to purchase a physical doll which has attached to it a "secret code" that one uses to register your pet in Webkinz World. You then give it a name and choose a sex and start building rooms.
It’s basically second life for kids — without the job fairs (yet.) My wife has now informed me that she’s going to get her own doll to play with the kids online. I wonder if we’ll actually ever speak to one another in person any more!?
Scratch that, she’s at this moment registering a bulldog named Waldo.
I’m hoping they start making 5’11 blonde Swedish nurse Webkinz soon…
…which reminds me, given the fact that since all this kid’s software is now on-line, how long until someone compromises it for unseemly reasons? An interesting attack vector, no doubt. I think I’ll call it SaaD – Software as a Disservice?