JumpStart- also known as Jump Ahead in the United Kingdom-, was a very popular franchise for children that brought educational elements into the world of gaming.
The series was originally made up of educational PC games, but it went on to expand into a range of other media such as mobile apps, workbooks, and even a massively multiplayer online game known as JumpStart World.
JumpStart was a huge company, but is it still in business today?
In this article, we are going to be looking at the history of JumpStart from its inception to now to see if the company is still going and whether they are still considered a big name in the educational gaming industry (see also “Best Turn Based Strategy Games“).
Let’s get started.
What Was JumpStart?
Let’s recap what JumpStart was and how it began. JumpStart was a multimedia educational franchise for children, including computer games, books, and toys.
The franchise was created by Knowledge Adventure and was first released in the 1990s.
The games were designed to make learning subjects- such as math, reading, and critical thinking skills- fun and interactive for children.
In addition to computer games, the JumpStart franchise also included printable activities, worksheets, and other educational materials.
The games and other products were aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 12.
The franchise was widely popular and well-received by both parents and educators, and it continues to be remembered fondly by many who grew up playing the games (see also “30 Best Games To Play On Facebook“).
Some of the most popular games from the JumpStart franchise included the following:
- JumpStart Kindergarten: A classic educational game that teaches basic skills such as counting, letter recognition, and shapes.
- JumpStart Advanced 3rd Grade: A game that focuses on subjects such as vocabulary, grammar, and history.
- JumpStart World: A massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) that combines elements of educational content with social play.
- JumpStart Academy: A subscription-based service that provides children with access to a variety of educational games and activities.
- JumpStart Preschool Magic of Learning: A game that teaches basic skills such as colors, shapes, and letters.
What Was JumpStart World?
JumpStart World was a massively multiplayer online game in the JumpStart educational franchise.
It was released in the early 2000s and provided a virtual world for children to explore and learn in.
The game combined elements of educational content with social play, allowing players to interact with each other and participate in activities that taught subjects such as math, reading, and critical thinking skills.
JumpStart World was designed for children aged 4 to 12 and aimed to make learning an engaging and enjoyable experience.
The game was well-received and helped to establish the JumpStart franchise as a leader in educational technology.
Upon the release of JumpStart World, CEO David Lord spoke to Engage Digital about how the launch of the MMOG signified huge growth for the JumpStart company as a whole, with a large commitment being made by the business in terms of both time and investment to evolve their business model.
With such a strong focus on company progression with the release, JumpStart World seemed to be the beginning of bigger things to come from the company, so what happened?
What Happened To JumpStart?
JumpStart is still going to this day, though the huge amount of competition in the field of educational gaming- due to the exponential growth in technology as a whole since the 90s- led to a decline rather than the predicted acceleration after the release of JumpStart World.
After the company rebranded from Knowledge Adventure to JumpStart Games in 2012, the business went on to purchase the highly popular Neopets website from Viacom in 2014 and was later acquired by Chinese online game publisher NetDragon Websoft in 2017.
Despite JumpStart still being very much alive, its popularity has declined in recent years. The franchise has evolved somewhat, now primarily featuring online games and educational apps.
While the JumpStart brand remains well-known, it has faced competition from newer educational technology companies and has struggled to maintain its position as a leader in the field.
However, the franchise continues to be enjoyed by a new generation of children and is still recognized for its commitment to making learning fun and interactive.
The Possible Future For JumpStart Games
The future of JumpStart Games, like any other company, will depend on a variety of factors, including market trends, competition, and the company’s ability to adapt to changing technology and consumer demands.
In the future, JumpStart Games could focus on expanding its presence in the educational technology market by developing new and innovative products, such as more educational games and apps for mobile devices.
The company could also explore new areas of education, such as coding and STEM, to meet the growing demand for these skills.
Another possibility for JumpStart Games is to collaborate with schools and educational institutions to incorporate their products into curriculums and provide students with a fun and interactive way to learn.
They could also explore new distribution channels, such as partnerships with educational publishers or online educational platforms.
Ultimately, the future of JumpStart Games will depend on the company’s ability to stay relevant and meet the changing needs of the market, while maintaining its commitment to making learning fun and interactive for children.
So there you have everything you need to know about JumpStart, including what happened to the company as a whole and where they are now.
Knowledge Adventure might have rebranded to JumpStart Games and then been acquired by NetDragon Websoft, but they are still going strong following these major changes, even if they don’t have the same impact in the educational industry that they once did.
There is definitely something to be said about this impact, though, as JumpStart was a leading company in educational games during a time when video games were beginning to become a hugely prominent form of entertainment.
Hopefully, JumpStart Games will continue to grow with modern technology whilst under the NetDragon Websoft holding company so that they can continue to provide a whole new generation of kids with games that are as fun as they are educational.
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