Habbox was founded in the summer of 2003 by a Habbo and former UK Hobba called Mizki. It started as a small project, but she soon started to realise that she needed other people to help her with the site. Sierk joined the team and quickly became more involved in the development, and in June 2004 he was given full ownership of the site.
Habbox is far and away the longest running Habbo fansite, having been around ever since fansites were introduced. It is also an “Official” fansite, which means Habbo/Sulake directly link to the site and work together with Habbox staff on large events and gameplay development. From the moment it was opened, Habbox has remained popular with players and its name still resonates with a lot of older members who remember its high standing, particularly due to pre-MarketPlace rare values which the entire Habbo economy relied on, and many users still do.
In late 2009, as Sierk started to become less active, :Jin: took on a co-owner role to assist with the background running of Habbox, and these two remain as such to this date. In 2014, xxMATTGxx (a long-standing General Manager) was named as the third co-owner, but he stood down from all roles in March 2017.
As an entirely new way of networking with Habbos without using the hotel itself, Habbox was a massive hit from the start. Mizki needed to have quite a lot of people to help run the site and ensure people would want to remain. As mentioned above, Sierk (as Web Page Manager) was key to developing Habbox and as he took a more active and managerial stance at Habbox, Mizki eventually felt it was time to hand ownership from herself to Sierk. This paved the way for many brand new features, including the implementation of the rare values team which had a lasting effect on the way Habbos would trade, and was a predecessor to the in-client MarketPlace system.
Under the management of the former Hotel Manager, Callie, Habbox was selected to be among the first ever group of Official Fansites – barely a year after opening its doors to the great Habbo public! With this new-found acclaim came great rewards for Habbox. In the Habbo Awards of 2004 (with an astonishing 60% of the vote), Habbox was voted ‘Best Fansite’, with HxHD manager DJ-3000 also being named ‘Most Helpful Male’, and the radio named as ‘Best Radio Station’ of the year.
Just a short few months after receiving these three amazing awards, Habbox was stripped of its official status in early 2005 as a fansite due to an incident on HabboxForum involving several members and Callie. In her anger, Callie stated that Habbox would never regain Official status, sparking a rise in new rival fansites vying for the now-vacant Official spot.
Losing Official status was a huge blow to Habbox, but a mix of brand loyalty and general disillusionment of Habbo staff at the time allowed Habbox to continue as the UK’s favourite and most popular fansite. Loyal users stuck with Habbox and thousands more joined – the community thrived.
Over the next two years, Habbox grew and picked up strength. There were now three sites affiliated with Habbox outside of Habbox.com (HabboxLive, HabboxForum, and HabboxWorld) all of which catered for many thousands of different people’s wants and needs. HabboxLive radio provided entertainment, HabboxForum gave Habbos a place for lasting discussions, and HabboxWorld drew in the international crowd pre-merge.
After almost three years without the Official status, Habbo launched an application process for fansites to become official. Callie had left the Habbo offices by this point, and Lost_Witness as her replacement was assumed to not hold the grudge of his predecessor. On 9th May 2008, the public voted for Habbox to regain its place on the list. Even more spectacularly, Habbox was awarded the new title of ‘Gold Tier Fansite’ for being one of the two most popular fansites, with ClubHabbo being the other to gain this honour.
From that point on, the only time Habbox has not appeared on the list of Official fansites was when Habbo decided to temporarily remove the entire system.
In September 2008, just four months after being voted Habbo’s number one fansite, Habbox was nominated for and also won the following awards: ‘Best Fansite News’ ‘Best Fansite Features’ ‘Best Fansite Forum’ and the most prestigious award ‘Best Overall Favourite Fansite.
2009 saw the eagerly anticipated Version 4 of Habbox.
“V4” had mixed reviews initially as many long-lasting users were averse to change, but as other sites began to develop visually in earnest it was deemed necessary to move with the times for the sake of new growth. 2009 also saw many more department management changes than there had ever been at Habbox.
One of the most important and prominent changes was that of the long-serving member of staff, Jin. He had been staff for many years and also an administrator on HabboxForum, dealing with many site issues. In 2009, he became an Assistant General Manager, then Acting General Manager, then just a few weeks later stepped up and became Co-Owner alongside Sierk.
In 2010, after almost 5 years of the same system, Habbox got a totally new Rare Values system. The thing which had made Habbox so famous and useful was starting to become out of date and difficult to maintain with such a high volume of new rares to add and value. With the introduction of the in-built MarketPlace on Habbo, the Rare Values staff were now able to keep the basic values up to date as fast as possible and focus their more manual efforts on items so rare and expensive that the MarketPlace couldn’t cater to them.
The summer of 2010 brought a massive change for Habbo which shook up fansites forever. Sulake decided that they needed to merge all English-speaking hotels (American, Australian, Canadian, English and Singaporean) into one. Habbox would now have to cater for thousands of new users almost overnight. Up until this point, Habbox had had little success with international affairs (HabboxWorld having been largely deemed a failure many years previously), but the staff managed to pull it off and recruit a fair amount of international staff – to this day, Habbox is still predominantly visited by UK residents, but the international crowd is a constantly growing and vital section of the membership and staff.
2011 was another year for big changes at Habbox. In March 2011, the eagerly anticipated Version 6 was released – Version 5 being largely overlooked as merely updates to Version 4, while V6 was a far greater change. A massive team effort was made to successfully release it, and many users commented that was the best layout Habbox had seen.
It also incorporated many brand-new features which no other fansite had seen before, including moveable content boxes, widgets, interactive content and so much more. It was originally planned to merge HabboxLive.com into this version, but a slurry of staff changes prevented this.
2012 also saw the launch of HabboxWiki, an enormous resource for all things Habbo and Habbox related. Through the hard work of the Content Design team and members of the community lending their expertise, HabboxWiki is the largest and most comprehensive of all Habbo wiki sites by several orders of magnitude, with meticulous checking and constant updates.
Work began very quickly on Version Seven after the release of V6, with designs being drawn up in 2012, with an original planned release in 2012. Delays due to staff changes (including a management dismissal for publicly leaking the designs!) once again halted the project temporarily and many different people were drafted in to help.
This continued for the next two years, with coders working on the project for a while before leaving as staff or becoming too busy to complete the project. As each new coder would have to get to grips with the varying progress of their predecessors, work was slow.
Much like how Version 4 had became outdated and hindered many departments’ progress or ideas, so too did Version 6 suffer. Simply not understanding code, panels becoming outdated, and faster development from Habbo staff on client features all led to the site becoming more confusing to use and missing various functions.
xxMATTGxx handed over the General Manager reins to Wispur on the 8th of October 2014, and one of the first projects he undertook was hiring new site coders who could dedicate themselves to finishing the project. Soon after, work began again, now moving more quickly than it had before.
Version Seven was finally released for BETA users (managers and some select staff members) in Spring 2015.
It had its official public release on 4th July 2015. The 3-year delay left many users feeling underwhelmed, but while the site was far from finished, it allowed many departments to move on while the team of site coders worked on updating features piecemeal and in live updates rather than waiting for an entire site to be drafted.
V7 also brought in the long-awaited merger of Habbox.com and HabboxLive.com – the latter site having been seen as surplus to requirements and even a distraction from people who might otherwise browse the main site.
On 13th March 2017, xxMATTGxx announced his resignation from all roles and involvement at Habbox, and the full running of the site was handed over the General Management team.
2018 – 2020
Work on Version Eight of Habbox began officially in November of 2015. Passing through several teams of development and design versions, the final version Eight was released public view on 2 August 2019.
The release came as a shock to the community, who had long given up on seeing V8 after so long since the last release. The General Management team had intentionally kept progress and development under wraps to avoid any potential disappointment or delays to the project before the release, intended to be up and running fully by the time HxSS started.
Version Eight did not launch with many major functional changes, but was mainly intended to be a style refresh to keep the sites modern, clean and functional. A new forum skin and staff panel were released towards the end of the year.
Just a few days after the V8 release it was announced that there would be a change in the fundamental way the General Management team would work: with the (Assistant) General Manager role scrapped and the three existing General Managers (ozad, Sho and lawrawrrr) to equalise their titles and roles. Each General Manager has an area of speciality (lawrawrrr as GM Site, Ozad as GM Campaigns, and FlyingJesus as GM Community), but is a looser construct than previously.