PKTOON is a Guangzhou-based company offering personalized cartoon platform and cartoon-centric online community. Founded in December 2007, PKTOON is invested and managed by the founders of Canada’s Association of Chinese Senior IT Professional, senior managers and technical gurus who have been working in Internet marketing, advertising, animation and game development industries.
We had great pleasure of interviewing Wenqing BAO, co-founder of PKTOON, who shared with us his insight on the integration of cartoon market, online gaming and social networks.
Social Networks and $600 Billion Cartoon and Animation Market
Bao said, “In 2007, the global cartoon and animation market (including derived products) is $600 Billion. This industry is supported by majority of younger generations worldwide. In China particular, the cartoon/animation consumers are teenagers and early/mid 20s, it is a perfect match to China’s Internet user group. SNS is the de-facto trend for internet services. Users socializing and interactions are the key elements in the new Internet applications, This has been proved by both Web 2.0 sites and Internet games.” So how to extend the cartoon industry to internet services? The solution we can see now on PKTOON is the integration of animation, SNS and entertainment, i.e. bringing SNS and games to the cartoon lovers. Bao believes that the $600 billion cartoon industry provides PKTOON plenty of opportunities for this expansion.
Web-based Game and Desktop-based Game
Web-based game is getting quite popular these days (check ECBattle we have covered). Unlike many Internet companies that prefer the browser-based technology, PKTOON games are developed not limited to web games, they can also be embedded in PKTOON’s desktop application. Bao gave us three reasons:
1. Desktop not only enables PKTOON users to have ease-of-access to cartoon making and showing functions, but also let users have instant messaging and interactions.
2. Desktop client technologies are similar with mobile clients technologies (on mobile devices) which gives better portability to migrate PKTOON functions to mobile platforms.
3. In terms of usability or user experiences, speed and 3D rendering are far better on desktop than in web clients. User experience is regarded as by far the most important factors for PKTOON’s targeted user groups, and it is the core competency the team is fostering in PKTOON.
PKTOON’s games are “small”. Bao calls these types of games “Micro-entertainment”. He explained, “First of all, they are simple games that do not require user to spend more than 60 seconds to play; secondly, the PKTOON’s 3D user characters are embedded in the games to give users a personalized experience; thirdly, the game design are focusing on user’s (visible) interactions.”
PKTOON and Tencent’s QQ Show
QQ Show is a very popular service from Tencent. On QQ Show, QQ users can use and buy virtual stuff to decorate their online avatars, which seems similar with what PKTOON is offering. Gao emphasized that PKTOON actually offers very different services compared with QQ Show:
1. QQ Show only provides pre-made avatars that is far less than the personalization capabilities offered by PKTOON’s 3D functions (such as using User’s face on cartoon figures). PKTOON as an advertising platform, can also bring in many cartoon characters from its customers and partners.
2. PKTOON enables user to conduct like-real-life interactions and game playing using user’s personalized characters as his/her unique virtual identities, unlike QQ Show which gives user very limited customization functions (e.g. user can only change the color, style of cloths,etc.)
3. QQ Show focuses on static characters for users in IM, and PKTOON focuses users’ dynamic interactions such as movements and user generated cartoons.
The Future: 3D Animation SNS and Content Distribution Platform?
We asked Bao how he see PKTOON’s future. Bao told us their ambition: “From users’ perspective, PKTOON will become a 3D animation SNS based on desktop and mobile devices. From advertisors’ perspective, PKTOON is a platform that offers ever-fresh, visible contents, various distribution channels and word-of-mouth effects for their products and services. The embedded advertising offered by PKTOON is non-intrusive as the embedding of advertising objects is subtle in delivery, but efficient in influensing targetted consumers.”