One of the developers in our New York office told me about
HabboHotel.com, and though I doubt I'll ever have time to tinker with it
as much as I'd like, it is very cute indeed. Chillingly reminiscent of
something I wanted to do for a client several years ago (back then both
budgets and the client's ambitions railed against me), the concept is
simple and familiar, but with a twist.
A cross between a Multi-User Dungeon - for those of you lucky enough
never to have set foot in a university computing department, that's a
game where users can interact with each other as well as create spaces
and objects at will - and a virtual chatroom, the hotel's economy is
fuelled by something very close to my heart, the mobile phone.
You can wander around and talk to people without commitment, but if you
want to set up your own rooms and furnish them you have to pay. No need
to reach for your platinum card though - just grab your phone and send a
text message to buy credits which can be exchanged in the hotel. The
site also allows payments via the SplashPlastic system - obviously
hoping to capture the hearts, minds and pocket-money of those who aren't
old enough to have even an Amex Blue yet.
So HabboHotel makes cunning use of SMS to provide micro-payments - how
many websites have longed to be able to charge people a few pence for
It looks good, it works and, erm, I am all but convinced.
Well, there are two things a hotel should deliver above all else: big
fluffy towels and a never- ending supply of martinis. If I could get
those by SMS I'd be moving in. Until then, Sanderson will just have to
Site positioning: A hotel for UK teams - it just happens to be on the
Launched: February 2000
Developed by: Sulake.