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Even PBS is getting into online games.

Television network PBS Kids has launched its first-ever online world, Kart Kingdom, today. The browser-based (tablet versions launch this summer) learning experience is aimed at children between 6 and 9, and it features a collection curriculum-based online games designed to build collaboration skills. Kart Kingdom lets PBS expand on its goal of engaging children through learning. This is the company’s first step into the game-based learning market, one which Ambient Insight says is expected to hit  $8.9 billion by 2017.

Kart Kingdom is available on the PBS Kids website.

Kids can customize their own karts with gadgets they craft in these games, and they can then use them to complete quests in Kart Kingdom’s online world. Characters from PBS Kids series Wild Kratts and the Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! are in these games. Collaboration among players in these quests unlocks reward for the entire game community, rewarding more than just the player for accomplishments. The world also features a junior edition of E-line Media’s Gamester Mechanic, which lets kids create their own digital games for other kids to play.

PBS Kids worked with Arizona State University’s Center for Games and Impact to develop Kart Kingdom’s systems, with a focus on systems-thinking skills, which are applicable in complex problem-solving throughout their lives.

“We wanted to make sure that our first online world was true to the PBS Kids mission and built to put 6-9 year olds in the driver’s seat,” said Sara DeWitt, the vice president of PBS Kids Digital in a statement. “Kart Kingdom is unique in that it focuses on creation, collaboration and exploration — not just on buying and selling, like many other immersive games for this age group. The world offers kids a safe, developmentally appropriate space to explore, build and interact, all while developing critical 21st-century skills.”

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