Habbo, previously Habbo Hotel, is a teen social networking site operated by the Finnish company Sulake. Users of Habbo, known as Habbos, can do many things on the website including making friends, chatting with new people and playing games. Habbo is themed around a hotel and as such used to be known as 'Habbo Hotel.'
Habbo Hotel was formed from a hobby project by Sampo Karjalainen and Aapo Kyrölä called Mobiles Disco, a virtual chat room for a Finnish Band. They were contracted to create a virtual game and chat room by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) which they called Hotelli Kultakala (Hotel Goldfish) with a small team of developers. It launched in August 2000 on the ISP's web portal.
Aapo, Sampo and Dee Edwards, an entrepreneur from the UK, wanted to create an international business based on the virtual hotel concept. A plan was drafted out and by August 2001, Habbo Hotel was released into beta. The new hotel exited beta a few weeks afterwards, aimed at the teenage market, run from an HQ in London. It featured a new credits system with community and safety features.
In May 2006, the service, along with its domain names, were changed from www.habbohotel.com (.co.uk, .com.au, etc.) to www.habbo.com (.co.uk, .com.au, etc.). In August 2007, Habbo's Chinese community closed down temporarily, the first time a Habbo website has closed.
In late May 2009, Habbo opened a new beta version, with a select group of Habbos acting as beta testers, before launching it officially. In the new version of Habbo, the client uses Flash instead of Shockwave, resulting in a change of hotel interface.
Over the Habbo period Habbo players have been welcomed by the 'Hotel Manager' Frank who wishes you into the hotel upon your visit, he can still be seen in the Welcome Lounge and he is an automated bot!
Early April 2014, Habbo released the content of a new addition to their marketing area. The code name was '04-04' - meaning 4th April. The lead up to this was tense, on the day of arrival Habbo produced a video made by 'cowboystyle', during the course of the video Habbo main point was that they were bringing their hotel to iOS (Apple Tablet Software).
Players sign up to move around the hotel with their very own Habbos. These Habbos can be decorated with differentiating the number of clothes depending on how many days of VIP they have if any at all. The players can take their Habbos to visit "Guest rooms" which are rooms owned by other Habbos (unlike Official Rooms which are owned by Habbo or Guest Rooms that have been chosen for specific events by Habbo Staff).
These rooms can be decorated with furni to make them more inviting and then Habbos can participate in games hosted in the room or "work" in the rooms. Players interact via the chat console but can also IM (Instant Message) other Habbos.
Other than news crews such as Channel4 coming onto Habbo they haven't been shy to hold Celebrity Visits and some such as Cher Lloyd, JLS and Justin Bieber have come onto the site to chat with the players!
Along with Channel4 came the mute that lasted on some hotels over 3 weeks; Paul LaFontaine then came up with The Great Unmute.
Habbo has suffered many major changes which have been very unpopular with the players. For example, the old UI (the interface on the client) was changed to a newer more confusing style. For a period of around two weeks in 2009 both interfaces were available after the user logged in, but then they were forced to use the new UI. Since then gradual updates have changed the client UI for (what most players see as) the worst.
Years ago when a person swore or emitted an unsavoury word on Habbo the word Bobba would replace it, this was later changed so that a set of six asterisks replaced it regardless of what was said. Another small change was the rename of the 'Hab Hop' which was known as the norm dance on Habbo, this was changed to just Dance and is still usable on Habbo today.