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Barbie Revolutionizes the Way Girls Play
Girl Power: Jay Cochran - 2007.04.27
Today, Mattel unveiled the next generation of fashion doll play with Barbie Girls™, an unparalleled, hybrid play experience that blends fashion, music and an online virtual world. Representing the true evolution of what today’s girl loves and opening the door to how tomorrow’s girl will play, Barbie Girls™ fuses the best of virtual and real life for a fresh, new experience. At launch this week, Barbie Girls™ first comes to life via www.BarbieGirls.com, the first global, virtual online world designed exclusively for girls. At BarbieGirls.comSM girls can create their own virtual character, design their own “room,” shop at the mall, play games, hang out and chat live with other girls. In July, Barbie Girls™ will take shape in the real world with a sleek, handheld, 4 ½-inch portable device that serves as a music player and fashion statement-in-one, while also unlocking new content within BarbieGirls.comSM.

“The Barbie Girls™ experience is like no other because girls are in control at every level,” said Chuck Scothon, general manager and senior vice president, Girls, Mattel Brands. “We set out to create a platform that is truly revolutionary to transform how girls interact with music, fashion and the online world. Barbie Girls™ is the result of listening to what girls want, researching how they play and fusing it with the right technology to deliver a completely new experience.”

Safe Online World Connects Girls with Customized Fashion and Fun

Globally launching today, BarbieGirls.comSM is the first global virtual world of its kind designed exclusively for girls and packed with “virtually” everything a girl could want. When a girl registers on the site, she can create a personalized virtual character, design her own room, shop with B Bucks (virtual money) that she earns, play games, watch videos and have real-time chats with other girls. Girls can create their own, highly-personalized virtual characters by choosing from 2.64 quadrillion character combinations of fashions and accessories, as well as stylish faces, expressions and hairstyles. Personalization also extends to each girl’s “room” where more than 4.6 quintillion combinations of room colors, floors, backgrounds and furniture are offered to suit girls’ varied design styles. Customization is limitless and profiles can be changed at every log-in. Girls can then chat live with other registered girls on the site.

BarbieGirls.comSM is designed to be a safe place for girls to play and interact online. The site features a three-pronged safety approach that includes:

- Sophisticated word filters to keep chat secure, prevent the exchange of personal information (e.g. phone numbers, names, etc.) and block inappropriate, hurtful or offensive language.

- Easy-to-use safety features that give a girl the ability to lock or open her room to other characters, the ability to block users and prevent them from contacting her on the site, and the ability to report other users for inappropriate behavior.

- Robust moderation tools that provide BarbieGirls.comSM administrators with the ability to monitor chat that occurs in the environment, track and monitor reported users and ban users who attempt objectionable behavior.

Chatting in the Barbie Girls™ environment is designed to be fun and safe with two levels of chat based on the relationship between users:

B Chat™” is the most common yet most restricted type of chat, and it may be conducted in a girl’s room and in the public zones of the BarbieGirls.comSM world. With B Chat™ girls can only use words approved and compiled in the BarbieGirls.comSM database, which precludes the disclosure of personal information (e.g. real names, locations, numbers and spelled-out numbers will be blocked). The filters also prevent otherwise acceptable words that may be combined in inappropriate sequences from the site.

Secret B Chat™” is a private chat that only occurs in a girl’s room and is only available to “best friends” – girls who both have a Barbie Girl™ device and who have physically connected their devices into one another’s computer docking station. This allows girls to chat at a more personal level but still blocks inappropriate, obscene or threatening language.
BarbieGirls.comSM also gives girls a personal email device – “My Mail” – where they can send and receive messages of up to 500 characters with “friends” and “best friends” using the same levels of security and safety for chat. Girls can change the look of their mailbox with different skins and personalize incoming email alerts with fun ringtones and cool music.

There are many ways for girls to play in the BarbieGirls.comSM world, including shopping at the mall, watching entertainment clips and more. Girls can earn B Bucks™ and shop at the B Chic Boutique™, B Stylin’ Shop™, B Charmed Accessories™ and Furni Fever™ stores, or meet up with friends at the B Café™. Other fun destinations include Club “B”eauty, B Cinemas™, B Posh Pets™ and the B Park™.

More Than Meets the Eye – Portable Music Device & New Form of “Fashion Doll” in One

This July, Mattel will launch the second phase of Barbie Girls™ – the Barbie Girl™ device – a techy, doll-inspired MP3 player with a range of customizable fashions and accessories, delivering the next generation of fashion doll play. The Barbie Girl™ device gives girls an innovative way to experience music and fashion in a new medium, while also acting as a “key” to unlock additional new pets, games, hangout spots, fashions, furniture and more on BarbieGirls.comSM.

“Girls today move seamlessly from screens – computers, television and video games – to real-life group and individual play, and then back again at any given moment,” Scothon said. “Barbie Girls merges these different parts of a girl’s world together for the first time, giving girls everywhere a hybrid play experience in both real and virtual worlds.”

Tech Specs, Pricing and Availability

The Barbie Girl™ device has 512 MB of on-board memory to hold up to 120 MP3 or 240 WMA-file songs, and it has an expandable miniSD slot that holds a memory card up to 2 GB (sold separately). It can play any non-DRM-encrypted MP3 or WMA files, comes with Windows® Media Player 11 and has a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery that charges via the USB port. Recommended system requirements include: broadband Internet connection; Windows XP or Windows Vista™; DirectX 9.0 or above; Pentium® III 800 MHz or above (or equivalent processor); 512 MB RAM; 200 MB free hard drive space; Internet Explorer 6.0 or later with SP1 and Macromedia Flash Plug In; CD-ROM drive and a USB 2.0 Port

The Barbie Girl™ device will be available in July 2007 for an average retail price of $59.99 at major retailers across the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. A belt clip, adjustable-sized earbuds and durable storage case are included with the Barbie Girl™ device. Accessory Packs are sold separately for $9.99 and include various fashions, accessories and pets, as well as additional, exclusive content that comes to life online.

This fall, Barbie Girls™ will reach girls on four continents and more than a dozen countries, launching in five additional languages around the world, including Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.
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