Left Behind Games wants to tap into what the Gospel music industry and Mel Gibson have uncovered as a large yet largely missed niche of the Christian market. After hitting the video game industry, the Christian entertainment company is now joining the Christian MySpace craze.
New technologies adopted by MySpace to block out sex offenders and increase online safety have failed to satisfy the millions of parents who find it a problematic site.
As the name indicates, MySpace "sets up a situation where these kids are not monitored at all," said Michael Medved, best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, on a Focus on the Family broadcast Tuesday.
"When you're trying to raise children, [the Internet] presents all kinds of new challenges," said Medved, who recognized that kids today have to grow up computer-savvy.
With MySpace still a tremendous concern among parents, Left Behind Games launched a social-networking site of its own to appeal to a religious audience. The appeal comes from the "live monitoring, filters for profane language, and extra security features" that the new site offers.
Released in a beta test form on Wednesday, it takes on a similar name: DreamWebSpace.com. Except this time, it sets up a situation where monitoring may be less needed.
Earlier this month, MySpace partnered with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to build a database of sex offenders in the United States in an effort to block sexual predators that parents have complained about. But it stopped short of adopting Sentinel's technology for verifying the ages and identities of its users. MySpace currently restricts adult access to the information teenagers post about themselves but has not way of verifying age.
"It's allowing the entire world into the most intimate aspects of your child's life," as Medved described the popular network.
DreamWebSpace.com comes weeks after the "LeftBehind: Eternal Forces" video game was released to more than 10,000 retail locations. The game is based on the popular "Left Behind" novels and targets the Christian audience.
However, the video game has drawn complaints and protest from some Christians and parents who feel it's too violent.
"Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces," said the Rev. Tim Simpson of Jacksonville, Fla., who heads the Christian Alliance for Progress, according to The Associated Press. "It is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
The game's makers, however, contend that the violence from the good side is exclusively defensive and should not be seen as contrary to church teachings.
Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, reportedly said sales are terrific.
The company's mission is to develop high-quality interactive entertainment products, comparable to that of the secular market, that perpetuate positive values to appeal to both mainstream and faith-based audiences.