ECCKY launched this week and it's an IM game around a virtual baby that two users mind for six days. It costs €1.50 ($1.80) to make a baby, and then you get a daily "allowance" to take care of it by providing virtual food and clothes. And of course you can spend additional money on branded toys, clothes, and food--plus you have to give your virtual baby a lot of attention.
You can depend on the Eccky chatbot. It can respond to chat lines with some 45,000 different answers around 3,500 recognized topics. The first 10,000 users that bought an Eccky generated 15 million chats during the six days of the game, and bought 250,000 different virtual articles. The chatbot in fact does such a good job in understanding the natural-language lines it receives that many of its young players never realize it is not a person.
I am waiting for the teenaged Eccky. Taking care of a virtual teen would undoubtedly be an expensive proposition.
Monica Van Dusseldorp -- "IM as Your News Messenger"