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Habbo

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This article summarizes the features of Habbo and is intended as a general introduction. For more in-depth information on the topics covered, click the appropriate links to visit other articles.

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Habbo (formerly known as Habbo Hotel) is a social networking game/website and online community owned and operated by Sulake. Aimed at teenagers, Habbo allows users to chat with others, make friends, and participate in games and activities within a hotel-themed community. Players interact with each other with avatars called "Habbos", using mainly text based chat to communicate. Users have freedom to build their own custom rooms using Furniture. Users buy Furniture using Credits, and can also use Duckets to rent furniture for free.

Users can also make their own games for others to play, or roleplay with other users in various themed settings that are all player produced.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

Development and early history (1999 - 2001)[edit | edit source]

The earliest instance of Habbo began as a game known as Mobiles Disco, a virtual chat room running on Aapo Kyrölä's Fuse technology. Intended as a hobby project, it was made by creative designer Sampo Karjalainen and technologist Aapo Kyrölä in 1999. They went on to design several other games, including Lumisota (Snow Wars) and Hotelli Kultakala (Hotel Goldfish).

Aapo, Sampo and Dee "Daisy" Edwards (the original designers of Habbo) had ideas to create an international business based on the virtual hotel concept. By the end of January 2001, Habbo Hotel had been launched in Beta mode. The official hotel was officially released to the public a few weeks later, which was known as Habbo Hotel at the time. It had a credit system, community and safety features. The next hotel was launched in Switzerland a few months later, in four languages.

Global expansion, domain changes, and website redesign (2001 - 2007)[edit | edit source]

Since the launches of hotels in the UK and Switzerland, Habbo has expanded to over 31 countries in five continents. Hotelli Kultakala went on to become the Finnish hotel, with investments by venture capitalists.

In May 2006, the communities were renamed to Habbo, dropping the "Hotel" portion, and their respective domain names were changed from habbohotel.com (.co.uk, .ca, etc.) to habbo.com (.co.uk, .ca, etc.).

Before 2006, Habbo's technology was very basic, with users logging in directly through the client. Throughout 2006 and part of 2007, Habbo has gone through several changes to its website and client, possessing a more Web 2.0 concept. These updates improved how Habbo interacts with the community, with the addition of many website features, including newsletters, articles, and Room of the Week contests. Clothing, mottos, and account settings were able to be changed via the main website as well. Along with the website, the client received changes too, including a redesign of the overall client and its components, such as chat features and the Habbo Console. The exact dates of these updates vary from hotel.

East Asian hotel closures (2007 - 2009)[edit | edit source]

In August 2007, Habbo China closed down its community due low profit and high operational costs, marking the first time a Habbo website has closed. Users of that hotel were redirected to other nearby hotels. Habbo Russia closed in February 2009 after announcements about closure due to low numbers were made two months earlier. Those who used furni prior to its closure were redirected to Habbo US and given credit codes in compensation for furni losses. The closure of Habbo Japan soon followed in mid-April, due to poor marketing and low numbers as well.

Transition to Flash client and English hotel merges (2009 - 2010)[edit | edit source]

In late May 2009, Habbo announced the development of a new version of the game client. With the announcement, Habbo opened invitations for some players to test it out and report bugs before releasing it to the general public. As testing went on, invitations were given to existing testers to allow friends into the beta version. In June 2009, beta testing was completed and the new client was open to the public. The new client used Flash technology instead of Shockwave and the overall appearance was changed, giving the hotel a cleaner and sleeker look. The old Shockwave client was still in place at the time of release. However, later that year, further announcements revealed the new Flash client would become the permanent client and the old one was removed from Habbo the next day.

At the start of 2010, managers of Habbo Canada and Habbo US published news that these two hotels would be coming together and merging into one hotel. The merge was set to begin on April, with preparations already underway during that time frame; however, on April 7, four months after the first announcement, more news articles were released, stating that the merging of all English-speaking hotels was also planned. Hotels that were to be merged were US, Canada, UK, Australia/New Zealand, and Singapore (includes Malaysia and the Philippines). Although originally planned for mid-April, US and Canada merged on May 5. Australia, Singapore, and the UK merged on June 2, June 4, and June 10 respectively, making Habbo.com the only English community.

Channel 4 investigation and The Great Mute (2012)[edit | edit source]

On June 12, 2012, UK news program Channel 4 reported an alarming allegation regarding sexually explicit behavior towards under aged teens on Habbo. Following this report, Sulake made a decision to mute all communities, preventing all conversations in the hotel. This Habbo-wide mute effectively changed Habbo in the sense of safety. A few days into the mute, CEO Paul LaFontaine announced "The Great Unmute" which would allow users to openly voice their opinions about Habbo. Further news revealed plans for a new limited chat system based on pre-approved phrases and words.

On July 6, the mute was considered finished after the testing and deployment of the limited chat system to all communities.

Company Restructuring, Habbo Turkey Launch & Release of Habbo for iPad (2012 - 2014)[edit | edit source]

After The Great Mute ended, CEO of Sulake Paul LaFontaine resigned and was succeeded by interim CEO Markku Ignatius.

Shortly after The Great Mute ended, Habbo Turkey was officially launched on August 8, 2012.

In 2013, during Markku Ignatius' period as acting CEO, Sulake was acquired by Elisa Group in order to stay afloat, although it was allowed to run as an independent company. After it was acquired by the Elisa Group, new CEO Antti-Jussi Suominen was appointed.

In 2014 after the company stabilized, Habbo announced a new iPad application that would allow players to play Habbo on their mobile tablets. Dubbed Habbo for iPad the app originally had a soft release only in Canada, and in the next month was made available worldwide, reaching the #1 Top Free App spot in various country App Stores for iOS.

Closure of Scandinavian Hotels, Habbo Web update (2015 - Present)[edit | edit source]

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This article may be out of date, due to a recent update.
Please take the time to update it.

On January 27, 2015, Habbo Staff announced via a news article, that Habbo Norway, Habbo Sweden, and Habbo Denmark will be closing permanently on April 29, 2015.[1] According to the news article, the reason for the closures is so Sulake can focus on going after larger markets and getting Habbo supported on more devices. This may also be an effect of the large number of Scandinavian retros that have stolen a large amount of players from the actual hotel. Habbo Staff also announced that users from the affected hotels will not be able to transfer anything from the hotel, and it will all be deleted following closure, although they will be compensated.

On March 12, 2015, the Habbo Web update was released for Habbo.com.[2] The update included a completely redesigned Habbo website, the removal of traditional user pages, and various in-client updates. It was the first major website update in 5 years.

Habbo API[edit | edit source]

After The Great Mute, the amount of users on Habbo greatly decreased. To help remedy this decrease, Sulake developed API tools that developers could use to integrate their game into Habbo. Some video game developers, like Seepia, hopped on board and started developing games.

The games that were developed were curated in the Game Center where users would go to select games they wanted to play, without having to leave the Habbo client. However, in 2014 Habbo removed the Game Center from the client, effectively ending the use of the Habbo API.

The website[edit | edit source]

The current landing page of Habbo.com (captured August 2014).
When players first visit the website, they come across the landing page to log in, register a new account, and link existing accounts through the use of Habbo ID. Once logged in they are redirected to the home page. On the home page they can see the latest Habbo news. From there, they can explore the rest of the site or visit the game client. Many activities and features are available on Habbo's website that are not accessible on the Hotel itself. The Community section of the website features Habbo Stories content, current official Habbo fansites, and current event updates/information.

User pages[edit | edit source]

A player's Habbo Home is basically a profile to show off their Habbo account. User pages displays a players rooms, friends, groups, Habbo Stories content, photos, badges, and general account information.

Prior to the 2015 Habbo Web Update, users were able to customize their user pages with widgets, custom background images, stickers, and more. However, the removal of many of these caused outrage in the community due to the fact that many background images and stickers cost Credits to obtain. After the update, Habbo Staff promised they were working on a compromise/solution.

Groups[edit | edit source]

Groups are special clubs users can join. They share a similar format to Habbo Homes, but are very different. Groups have customizable badges to symbolize the group. Group owners can change various settings, such as group name and description, customize the badge, change/remove discussions in forum threads, make the group private, exclusive, or available to everyone, and give/remove admin rights to players. Players with admin rights have near the same powers as owners, but are only limited to customization, and giving/removing admin rights. They cannot change the group's main settings.

Discussion forums[edit | edit source]

Within groups are discussion forums where players can start a conversation on virtually any topic imaginable. Forums on Habbo differ from most general Internet forums; they lack personal signatures, e-mail notifications upon new posts, a keyword search, are policed by the hotel's main moderators as well as separate forum mods (who are the groups admins), and are connected to groups instead of branching into sub-forums (while threads of any subject can be created, many forums tend to be related to the group's purpose, except in some specific types of groups where its purpose is the former). Regardless, Habbo forums still have the basic features, including post counts, stickies, and threads.

Note: As a result of The Great Mute, web-based Habbo forums were put out of use. However, in mid-2014 client-based Group forums were introduced as an alternative featuring better moderation and safety.

Community-wide news and events[edit | edit source]

The main website serves as a vehicle for releasing news about many areas of interests, from important security news concerning the entire community, to seasonal competitions and events.

Throughout the year, Habbo Staff regularly hold competitions and encourage participation through news articles. These competitions are often seasonal and therefore, the theme is repeated every year, such as summer events. Other types of competitions include the sponsorship of many external sources and the following of a clothing or furni update. Participation is usually encouraged through the use of events such as polls, room building contests, and pixel art contests, prizes usually being a furniture or trophy, free HC membership, or a badge.

Before or during a major update, many news articles will usually be released to the public to provide information as the update progresses. Notable examples are the 2010 merges, the introduction of Habbo ID, and the development of New Habbo.

Gameplay inside the hotel[edit | edit source]

Most of the gameplay in Habbo happens inside the actual hotel, which consists of a Flash client (formerly Shockwave). Within the client, players can chat with other users, play user-hosted games, build rooms, trade furni among other players and engage in roleplay. The mouse and keyboard are primarily used for input.

Players communicate with each other by typing what they want to say. Their words appear in the hotel inside a speech bubble with their username and Habbo's head. Movement is achieved by moving the cursor and clicking on a tile in a room. Friends can be made by clicking on another person's Habbo and sending a friend request, which they can either accept or decline. If accepted, the two have the ability to follow one another (commonly known as "stalking") and have private conversations via the console.

The center for all room navigation within the Hotel is the "Navigator." The Navigator allows users to travel to other rooms around the hotel. As well as being a means of transportation, the Navigator also shows basic information about rooms, such as descriptions, current online users, privacy settings, and player-hosted events.

Habbo is home to a wide community of people all around the world. By purchasing furni or trading with other players, users can design their own hotel rooms and create a social space for themselves and their friends, spaces for others to socialize, and more. There's also many dating-themed rooms and game rooms that many users participate in.

The Habbo Style[edit | edit source]

Habbo's art style, known as The Habbo Style by Habbo staff, is based off of isometric game art. The isometric art style is known for major use in games in the mid 80's.[3] Here is an example of a Batman game from the 80's that uses a similar isometric art style.

Example batman1986.png

The Habbo Pixel Pushers (art/design team) base all art in the game off of the isometric art style, and the style itself helps with consistency in furniture designs according to the Pixel Pushers.

Client interface[edit | edit source]

The client with different features labeled. Click image to enlarge.
The client consists of different features for gameplay (refer to the image on the right):
  • The taskbar, which contains icons to do various tasks like visit other rooms and purchase furni.
  • The Chatbar, Players type what they want to say and press Enter/Say.
  • The current room
  • Friends Taskbar, which lists all of a player's friends
  • Friend request notifications
  • The actual chatlog of conversations
  • Counters for number of coins, special currencies, and Habbo Club days

Games[edit | edit source]

One of the most popular activities in Habbo are games. Games are played within guest rooms and are user moderated. Throughout Habbo's history, user-moderated games have helped shape the overall game, providing for the economy due to the trading and purchase of furni and also implementing participation from Habbo staff. Among the most popular games are Falling Furni, Costume Change, and Carnivals. While games can be beneficial to Habbo, they can also be a source for many scams, leading to criticism and many controversies.

Up until 2009, Habbo had official games open to the public. These included the Cunning Fox Gamehall which had old-school games like tic-tac-toe and chess, Lido Diving located at the Lido Deck, Wobble Squabble, Battleball, and SnowStorm. These games were removed due to incompatibilities with the new client following the New Habbo update.

To make up for the removing these features, Habbo introduced the Games Center. This was a hub for various Habbo-made and Third-party games that users can play without leaving the client. It included previously removed games like SnowStorm, and new games like Fast Food. However, in 2014 Habbo decided to remove the Games Center to focus more on the overall experience rather than a bevy of minigames.

Economy[edit | edit source]

Surprisingly, Habbo has also developed their own economy around furni, and the virtual currency in Habbo called, coins. Many Habbos are merchants that buy, sell, and trade furni and coins interchangeably. There are many ways to get items in Habbo without paying real life money. This includes play user hosted games, winning competitions, and more.

Even today, the economy of Habbo is still changing due to furni price changes, the Marketplace, trading among players, and many furni-related scams.

Many consider the 2014 Casino/Gambling Ban to be a permanent crash in the Habbo economy. This basically rendered most previously coveted rares, worthless by most standards and basically devalued every piece of furniture in-game.

Currency[edit | edit source]

Coins are Habbo's main form of premium currency (currency bought with money), with Diamonds being a secondary premium currency obtained by buying credits, and Duckets being Habbo's secondary free currency.

Coins[edit | edit source]

Coins (or credits) are Habbo's main form of currency. They allow players to buy furni without trading, Habbo Club membership, pets, groups, stickers, and backgrounds. Credits can be exchanged into furni items, using the Habbo Exchange furni line, allowing them to be traded among players and later redeemed as coins. Coins can be bought through many real-life methods including text messages, credit card payments, and prepaid cards (see Coin purchasing methods).

Duckets[edit | edit source]

Duckets are the latest free secondary currency, introduced in January 2013. Like Pixels, they can't be bought with real money nor can they be traded. Also like Pixels, players earn them by completing achievements, logging in, and doing various other tasks in the hotel. Unlike Pixels, all furni that can be bought with Duckets can also be bought with Coins. Also, you can only rent furniture with Duckets, not keep them permanently, and there is a limit to how many Duckets you can have at a time.[4]

Other currencies[edit | edit source]

Habbo sometimes releases other forms of currencies similar to pixels for seasonal/special promotions. One example of this is Snowflakes from the Xmas 2010 event, that users got by completing quests. These currencies are also usually obtained by buying credits to earn some of the currency. An example is with the Clouds promotion where users would have to purchase a certain amount of credits in order to earn clouds.

Pixels[edit | edit source]

Pixels were a the previous free secondary currency, introduced in November 2008. Unlike coins, they couldn't be bought with real money nor be traded. Instead, players earned pixels by accomplishing certain goals, such as logging in daily, being respected, and completing Achievements, which provided a steady flow of Pixels. Pixels were used to buy special effects for the player's Habbo, rent special furni from the Rentals furni line, and buy furni from the "Pixel" furni line.

Pixels were removed from Habbo on June 2012 due to a general lack of interest in them, and were replaced with Duckets.

Membership[edit | edit source]

While Habbo can be played for no cost, the membership options Habbo Club (HC), and Builders Club can be bought. This gives players extra benefits to enhance their playing experience, such as more clothing and color options, access to virtually unlimited furniture and room designing features, a badge to show off their membership, a free furni for every month of subscription, and exclusive in-game commands.

Unlike other MMOGs similar to Habbo, premium membership (Habbo Club) can be bought with coins and not always real money; the cost of Habbo Club is 25 coins for one month and 60 coins for three months (although previously lower). However, users do have the option of paying real money for membership.

Membership to Builders Club is only able to be obtained by paying real money, and expansions for it can instead be bought with Credits.

Management and moderation[edit | edit source]

Habbo is operated by Sulake, which was acquired by Elisa Group, with offices located in 12 countries. Each community is managed by employees of Sulake, known as Hotel Managers. These people manage the entire hotel, taking care of finances, administration, and advertising as well. Staff members are divided into separate groups responsible for different aspects, such as player support, graphic design, and moderation.

The safety and security of hotels are managed by moderators, whose main duties are keeping the players' safe by responding to emergencies and policing the hotel. Moderators are equipped with the MOD Tool, granting them the ability to deal with troublemakers by kicking them from rooms, mute them (prevent them from speaking), sending them warnings via in-game pop ups, or banning them from the hotel entirely.

During the Old Habbo era, before the full use of paid moderators, hotels were also patrolled by Hobbas. Hobba's were unpaid volunteer players that dedicated their time to help keep Habbo safe. Hobbas mainly consisted of normal players who applied for and became accepted into the program. Like today's moderators, Hobbas had powers to aid in their job, but these were very limited. The Hobba system was a ranked program, with higher ranks having more powerful tools. Due to the rapidly growing popularity and amount of players, Habbo dropped the program and decided to use actual Sulake employees to moderate the hotels.

Queries sent in by players are responded by customer support staff who are employed to answer players' questions via e-mail such as technical issues and requests to have their accounts unbanned.

The Habbo Way[edit | edit source]

The Habbo Way is Habbo's code of conduct mandatory for all players in every hotel and it is expected that all players follow it. Basic rules include rules against scamming and fraud, offensive language, sexually explicit content, harassment, and disruption. Habbo also expects players to follow the Term of Use. Failure to obey these could result in a ban or in rare cases, legal actions.

If a user gets muted by a moderator, they are forced to take the Habbo Way quiz although it will not affect the status of their mute.

Sponsorship/Promotions[edit | edit source]

Since Habbo is primarily aimed at teenagers, it often attracts sponsorship from outside entities. This sponsorship includes visits by musicians and celebrities such as The Veronicas, Gorillaz, Skye Sweetnam, Little Birdy, Stephanie McIntosh, Operator Please, Chingy, Evermore, Avril Lavigne, Ashlee Simpson, Cole and Dylan Sprouse, The Ting Tings, DJ Ironik, Alesha Dixon, Same Difference and Eoghan Quigg, and major brands such as American Idol, Pepsi, Caprisun, etc.

As Habbo is targeted at teenagers, and 90% of its users are between the age of 13 and 18, it receives a lot of attention from youth organizations, who wish to educate players about many topics concerning teens, such as online safety/bullying, drug and alcohol use, and sexuality.

Full list of hotels[edit | edit source]

The hotel was merged in 2010.
The hotel has closed down for various reasons.
† UK & IE, US, CA, AU, NZ, SG, RU, MY, JP and PH merged into one.

Country URL Opening date Status
Australia http://habbo.au/ September 2005 Merged May 5, 2010
Brazil http://habbo.com.br/ February 2006 Open
Canada http://habbo.ca/ June 2004 Merged May 5, 2010
China http://habbo.cn/ July 2006 Closed August 24, 2007
Denmark http://habbo.dk December 2004 Closed April 29, 2015
English http://habbo.com/ May 5, 2010, June 10, 2010 Open
Finland http://habbo.fi/ August 2000 Open
France http://habbo.fr/ November 2004 Open
Germany http://habbo.de/ March 2004 Open
Italy http://habbo.it/ September 2003 Open
Japan http://habbo.jp/ February 2003 Closed April 16, 2009
Netherlands http://habbo.nl/ February 2004 Open
Norway http://habbo.no/ June 2004 Closed April 29, 2015
Russia http://habbo.ru/ September 2007 Closed February 6, 2009
Singapore http://habbo.sg/ December 2004 Merged June 4, 2010
Spain http://habbo.es/ September 2003 Open
Sweden http://habbo.se/ December 2003 Closed April 29, 2015
Switzerland http://habbo.ch/ August 2001 Closed October 4, 2010 (redirects to Germany)
Turkey http://habbo.com.tr/ August 8, 2012 Open
United Kingdom http://habbo.co.uk/ January 4, 2001 Merged June 10, 2010
United States of America http://habbo.com/ September 2004 Merged May 5, 2010

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Hex colors of the habbo logo are typically: Orange (FFCE00) and Gold (FF6300). However, slight differences can be found in some logo variations.
Wikipedia
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Habbo

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://habbo.com/community/article/3471/more-wood-behind-fewer-arrows
  2. http://blog.habbo.com/2015/03/12/introducing-the-new-habbo-web-2015/
  3. http://blog.habbo.com/2014/07/30/summer-school-qa-feat-notmiceelf
  4. http://help.habbo.com/entries/23265566-Duckets-FAQ