|This article may be out of date due to a recent update.|
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.
Habbo (formerly known as Habbo Hotel) is a social networking 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 (hotels). Players interact with each other with avatars called "Habbos".
Development and early history (1999 - 2001)
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)
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 www.habbohotel.com (.co.uk, .ca, etc.) to www.habbo.com (.co.uk, .ca, etc.).
Before 2006, Habbo's technology was very basic, with users logging in direct 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)
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)
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)
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.
The websiteWhen 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 their "Me" page, which provides information on users' current motto, and last log in date and time. 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 regularly updated news, quests, discussion forum topics, and events in the hotel.
A player's Habbo Home is basically a profile to show off their Habbo and possessions. Users can customize their page with a wide selection of widgets, such as a guestbook , a room and badge viewer, stickers, notes, and backgrounds (however, all widgets that included a user writing on them have been removed). Stickers and backgrounds can be purchased with credits, but many promotional events and sponsorship's can provide users with free stickers and backgrounds.
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, URL, customize the page and badge, change/remove discussion forum threads, make the group private, exclusive, or available to everyone, and give/remove admin rights. Players with admin rights have the same powers as owners, but are only limited to customization, and giving/removing admin rights. They cannot change the group's main settings.
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, and a keyword search, are policed by the hotel's main moderators instead of separate forum mods, 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 had the basic features, including post counts, stickies, and a threaded view.
Note: As a result of The Great Mute, Habbo's forums were put out of use. But they've returned since then and can be found by clicking this link. You can also find more information on this forum by clicking here to see the Habbo Wiki page regarding the Habbo User Voice Forum.
Community-wide news and events
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 regularly holds competitions and encourages participation. 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, usually for a furni, HC membership, or a badge prize.
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 hotelMost 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 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, or massive party rooms. There's also many dating-themed rooms and game rooms that many users participate in.
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- The "Emergency Exit" button that allows players to quickly leave the room in an emergency situation (e.g. bullying) and report another player to a moderator.
- 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 currency, and Habbo Club days
One of the most popular activities in Habbo are games. Games are played inside 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.
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 furni and coins in Habbo, from playing user-hosted games, to gambling in player-made casinos.
Even today, the economy of Habbo is still changing due to furni price changes, the Marketplace, trading among players, and many furni-related scams.
Coins are Habbo's main form of currency, with pixels being a former.
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).
Pixels were a kind of free 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, etc. Completing Achievements provided a steady flow of pixels. Pixels were used to buy special effects for the player's Habbo, rent special furni for a limited time called Rentals that can cause room effects, and buy furni from the "Pixel" line.
Pixels were removed from Habbo on June 2012 due to a general lack of interest in them.
Duckets are the new free currency introduced in January 2013. Like Pixels, they can't be bought with real money nor be traded. Also like Pixels, players earned 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.
- Main Article: Currency
Habbo sometimes releases other forms of currencies similar to pixels for a seasonal promotion. One example of this are Snowflakes from the Xmas 2010 event.
While Habbo can be played for no cost, the membership option Habbo Club (HC) can be bought. This gives players extra benefits to enhance their playing experience, such as more clothing and color options, a badge to show off their membership, a free furni every month of subscription, and in-game commands. Unlike other MMOGs similar to Habbo, membership is bought with coins and not real money; the cost of Habbo Club is 25 coins for one month and 60 coins for three months (although previously lower), and VIP was 25 coins for one month and 60 coins for three months.
Management and moderation
Habbo is operated by Sulake, 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 use of paid moderators, hotels were patrolled by Hobbas, who were unpaid volunteers 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. Hobbas 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 is Habbo's code of conduct mandatory for all hotels and it is expected that all players follow them. 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.
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 corporations such as American Idol, Pepsi, 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, drug and alcohol use, and sexuality.
List of hotels
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||(Former) URL||Opening date||Closing date|
|Australia||http://habbo.au/||September 2005||May 5, 2010|
|Canada||http://habbo.ca/||June 2004||May 5, 2010|
|China||http://habbo.cn/||July 2006||August 24, 2007|
|English †||http://habbo.com/||May 5, 2010, June 10, 2010||(Open)|
|Japan||http://habbo.jp/||February 2003||April 16, 2009|
|Singapore||http://habbo.sg/||December 2004||June 4, 2010|
|Switzerland||http://habbo.ch/||August 2001||October 4, 2010 (redirects to Germany)|
|Turkey||http://habbo.com.tr/||August 8, 2012||(Open)|
|United Kingdom||http://habbo.co.uk/||January 4, 2001||June 10, 2010|
|United States of America||http://habbo.com/||September 2004||May 5, 2010|
|Venezuela||http://habbo.com.ve/||July 2006||April 16, 2009 (redirects to Spain)|
- The Hex colors of the habbo logo are typically: Orange (FFCE00) and Gold (FF6300). However, slight differences can be found in some logo variations.