SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- Brand Vending Products reports that a free beta test version of its Sqwishland online game will go live on June 1. Billed as the "the first-ever Internet game developed exclusively for and through bulk vending," Sqwishland features characters made familiar to kids by Brand's capsuled squishy toys, which were introduced in 2006. The site officially launches on July 1.
Each 1" and 2" capsule in the new Sqwishland product series -- formerly the popular Mania and Friends bulk lines -- will include a "fortune-cookie style" secret code that youngsters can use to access the game and unlock a corresponding character inhabiting the Sqwishland virtual world. Brand said it will begin shipping products with code sheets in June. It expects to have 25 million codes packed into capsules by the end of July.
Like Disney's Club Penguin and Ganz's Webkinz, Brand's Sqwishland is a massively multiplayer online game, known as MMO or MMORPG, involving a virtual world of challenges, activities and avatars. During its public beta test, the bulk vending company is hoping to get feedback from hundreds players in Sqwishland's young target audience. It is building awareness for the test through a Facebook campaign and by reaching out to operators' young family members and their friends. Additionally, seven professional game testers, who will take the game through all its stages, have been recruited for the beta program.
Sqwishland's Web server has several practical features designed to drive customers to locations. One of them is the Sqwishfinder management tool, which allows operators to enter the locations of their vending machines and the Sqwishland toys available there. After a bulk patron enters a zip code, Sqwishfinder returns a list of proximity matches with directions by Google Maps. Location information, which can be added to the database at an operator's discretion, is uploaded by using a special access code or by contacting Brand. Read more about Sqwishland.