Stardoll inks licensing deal with toy giant Mattel – a sign of things to come?

Stardoll, the online fashion game aimed at teen and “tween” girls, is to enter a multi-year licensing agreement with toy giant Mattel to create toys based on the characters in the game.

The first products will ship this autumn according to Mattias Miksche, CEO of Stardoll at the International Toy Fair. Mattel already knows Stardoll well from having advertised its own brands on the site, like Barbie, Fashionistas and Monster High. It’s also sponsored fan clubs, created exclusive dolls and a virtual store. Miksche says Stardoll is now “very focused on entering the licensing space.”

Stardoll was launched in 2006, has more than 92 million registered (note that’s registered, not a figure for active) users globally and reaches over 15 million unique users per month. Stardoll is a virtual world where teens come together to create a “MeDoll” in their likeness, and express themselves through design, dress up and interacting with one another. Apparently it’s pretty popular in the Middle East where it’s a little harder to do that kind of thing in public.

However, it’s backers Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures are known to be impatient for an exit. So pushing for greater revenue streams could make Stardoll a more attractive proposition for a buyer.

Toys are big business, worth $22 billion annually in the US but it is one of the few major industries that hasn’t been massively disrupted by the web – yet. So Stardoll’s move makes lots of sense. Mattel would make a perfect acquirer for Stardoll so perhaps this is a date before the wedding?