Smile Lab., a Square Enix group company located in Tokyo, announced their virtual life community service, Nicotto town, starting with 5000 alpha version players.

Nicotto town calls itself a virtual world, which is a keyword not so popular in Japan so far.
The user will have their own avatar, with a house and a backyard (ok, only rich people have these in Japan)
a town to communicate with other users, and free games.

The virtual world will be a web based service, using Adobe Flash player.

The official website (http://www.nicotto.jp/)will be opening from August 22.
Alpha test will be from August 22 to September 5 (2 weeks)

I got to be one of these alpha users, so I’ll be reporting this sometime this week or next week.

The avatars are so “Japanese” like, having big head and huge eyes.
There still aren’t any Final Fantasy characters, as Yoichi Wada, the president of Square Enix saying they’re looking for different target users. But I can guess there will be some branded content like Daletto World in the near future.

Smile Lab was founded on Feb.29 this year, having Takahiro Ito, former NHN Japan and Real Networks executive as their President. Ito says the new service to be something like a “Japanese version Cute Secondlife”.

(The starting room… with nothing)                                       (A japanese traditional room with virtual goods)

Nicotto Town will also be having virtual coins, just like other virtual world services.
The images given out looks more like a Japanese room, but I’m sure there are lots of more types to
come out.

Since the users need to access “@nifty” for their entry, it seems that nifty is related pretty deep into this.
Nifty was first famous for nifty serve, and is also close to Fujitsu, which had one of the first virtual world services in Japan, Habitat (which changed their name to J-chat a few years ago).

(Games are set for both single players and multi players)

Nicotto town also announced today that they will be having another 5000 additional alpha users.

It can be said for another ordinary avatar service in Japan.
But one thing which is different is that you can actually move the avatars.
Most avatar communities in Japan only had avatars on their profile page and their game page.

Nicotto town looks more like Gaia online’s MMO service, being able to move around your own
avatar around rooms and other areas.

Everytime I see these new services, I always think avatars in Japan has the best quality in the world.
Is this because I’m Japanese?

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