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Is The Virtual Pets Industry At A Halt?

Discussion in 'Virtual Pets Chat' started by TheTeen, May 26, 2012.

  1. I am really a person of numbers and frequent many petsites just to see how many users are on. A trend I've noticed for the last year is it seems nothing is changing.

    Subeta - Been about 700 - 900 online for the last year (although I remember it frequenting over 1000).
    Powerpets - 400 - 600 people online hasn't changed since they first put up the statistic.
    Marapets - 400 - 600 People online even though it used to be upwards of 3000.

    Many sites I have not seen increase in activity as well include misticpets, rescreatu, neurogalaxy, ect.

    And not to forget sites that have gone down hill, ichumon, neopets, ect.
    origins virtual pet site origins kickstarter
    Forgive me for setting a stereotype as I realize a few petsites have jumped a bit in activity (Icepets used to have 2 players on when I joined @@), but the community is not doing well. With an ever increasing portion of the population gaining access to the internet, there has been big increases for just about every other niche on the web (social networking, humor, videos, ect.), but the petsite industry is not following the trend. It seems the same pool of people are playing the same few websites. I know this topic has probably been brought up before, but I feel it is important to bring up this fact. I can't say, after reading the thread about successful petsites in 2012, that any site is going to be successful in terms of bringing players not already a part of the industry, and by bringing in, I do not mean registrations, I mean having them register and stick with the site. So what is up petsite industry? :eek:

    See this thread as well why pet sites insist upon being a niche?
    #1 TheTeen, May 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2016 at 12:29 PM
    origins virtual pet site origins kickstarter

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  2. Petsites haven't evolved since 1999 when Neopets opened. They're all pretty much the same thing, with just different artwork.

    Petsites need to embrace social networking, mobile platforms, and find features that keep users playing.

    I also think petsites are too expensive to develop. ie: they need some sort of user-content-creation.
  3. Completely agree with everything.

    On the expensive part, yes! To release hundreds upon thousands of items a year and tons of pet colors new pets, or even new maps and NPCs. It gets extremely expensive for anyone who may be in the industry now. Besides the top few sites, I doubt many of the owners even have the money to release nearly daily content and try to integrate into the growing mobile/social networking market unless someone comes in with a nice chunk of cash. The industry itself is poor. It may take a big sum of money to jump start the image of the industry.
  4. I just feel like there's not really anything new and exciting. I barely even show interest in any site that's something-pets because most of them are just the same attempt to be like neopets (or "how neopets was").
  5. I totally 100% agree! Thats what I'm attempting to do with Toongears, and hopefully give it a different look and feel, then the norm. I've noticed that one thing seems to be recurring. Everytime you visit a pet site, it automatically FEELS like you are on a pet site. Which is why I think it kind of turns off new players or people who aren't into the who virtual pet thing. I'm hoping that when you log onto Toongears, your first reaction is "wait what? I thought I was going to play a game." I want you to feel "out of place" so to speak so that way you can gain your own sense of feeling when you play the game. Sure a lot of the recurring elements will be there, pet creation, battling etc, but I'm hoping to deliver it in a fresh new way. I'm embracing the social network and mobile platforms entirely. :)
  6. Keep watching IcePets. That's all I'll say. You'll see.
  7. @ClawsClaws - Icepets is probably the only -pet site that I kind of like (I like the pets, but there's just nothing there to do) so I'm eager to see what you're talking about. I'll be watching.
    #7 Kiara, May 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  8. Aywas hit the nail in the coffin with the customized pets feature.
    @TheTeenTheTeen I know Subeta was actively advertising before, not sure about now though. I think a lot of pet sites are probably developing new features, so thus, updates are at a stand-still unless they're pushing out items/art updates - which really doesn't attract new users as much as new games.

    Its users' online has been increasing ever since it opened. I think the only thing holding back Icepets is the lack of features and things to do[I'd say, someone correct me though). But, the thing is, even if a site has "pets" in its name doesn't mean it'll succeed. It all comes down to - how you interact with the users - motivating them to refer new users. Users go out and refer when they really like the community.

    I haven't seen anyone come up with ideas like @KeithKeith and @ianian have in terms of marketing. Like, Marapets has a "Promote marapets" feature which you can earn referral points per how many clicks your referral link receives - Subeta has the same feature, and I believe its a good one to have because it gets the users referring - and the only way the industry moves forward is if new users are coming in, and spreading the word.

    And plus, not to mention, there really isn't a whole lot of coders on a lot of these pet sites. Why do you think mobile applications are so popular? There's so many damn programmers pushing things out. We don't see this happening with current pet sites, thus, a stand-still happens, and numbers aren't increasing.

    The thing is a lot of site owners came from Neopets - so their ideas are based around that, and trying to do better. But, in order to do better, you have to seek out and see what really made them popular, it was their content, and the fact that the staff members interacted with the users. They pushed their referral system, and a lot of players have thousands of referrals. If word of mouth wasn't that strong, then Facebook wouldn't have blown Myspace out of the water, and Subeta wouldn't have blown Marapets out of the water - in terms of who has more users online.
    #8 cpvr, May 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  9. I think with some sites, right from the get go, the new player is extremely overwhelmed. This can instantly turn that player off. Like Aywas for example. I play pet sites so I get the idea of what they are trying to do. But lets say I tell my friend Jeremy to check it out. He is into cars, call of duty, and reggaeton. He will instantly be a lost and probably wont move past the home page. I think when reaching new players, we gotta find a way to ease them into the idea of playing a pet site by not throwing it so much in their face.
  10. I have to agree with a lot that has been said.
    There is no site I really play anymore at all.

    Wishing I could make my own, but I don't have the funds.
    People need to start breaking from the path of cliche.
  11. There's a few things that I have to say about this.

    I'm from the semi-early stages of pet sites, I used to own GiroPets at I stupidly sold it in 2004 and regret now doing so. I haven't really played any pet sites or been on any of them in a long time. I have no idea what this industry is like anymore, but from this thread, it sounds like it's getting stagnant.

    My opinion on this is that a lot of the people from a long time ago (like myself) have moved onto other things. I was like 12/13/14/15 when I was doing all this, playing the sites, making GiroPets, and I hardly have time anymore for anything it seems like. I'm currently 22. Having a full time job, sometimes working overtime at my job, having a girlfriend, driving so much, and doing things for my family takes up a lot of my time. I barely have any time for Facebook anymore, I used to check it daily but now I'd be lucky to. I currently need to start working on things like figuring out my finances to try to buy a house. It's a lot of things to think about. My girlfriend is currently on my case about me not seeing her that much lately, and I'm trying to tell her that it's hard for me to handle all that I've got. (She's currently without a job). Other people my age have kids of their own now and they have to shift their responsibility to that. Other people have significant others and houses of their own. Many things like that.

    The internet has sorta shifted in the direction of YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia. I use YouTube a lot, probably the most of any site. Music, humor, etc. Instead of playing games, I'm out there to sit and relax at the computer.

    I guess it's like how Myspace used to be the most popular site, now it's very much dead because Facebook took over.

    As far as gaming goes, I guess virtual pet sites might be the last on the list when it comes to your choices - you got PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and major computer games that are all based on motion instead of 2D browser, like Call of Duty. Or now with Kinect, PlayStation Move, and Wii, you have things like Just Dance.

    I've never played FarmVille on Facebook, but that's my guess on what's the most popular online game that's sorta pet-related (I guess). I don't have time for FarmVille, correct me if I'm wrong.

    I guess another thing is that NeoPets seems very commercialized and huge for me now. It's overwhelming to see all the advertising, and see so much of my screen being filled with content it's like "what should I do? how big is this game?" It makes me not want to play it. That's just my thought of looking at their home page awhile ago.

    I always have this ambition to re-work GiroPets if I ever manage to get ahold of the domain name and the site dies (it's still online, not changed since 2005), I've got a few ideas of which I don't think other pet sites are currently using.

    I made a Facebook page for GiroPets in 2010 and not one person "liked" it other than me. I don't blame anyone. Because the site's unchanged and dead since 2005, though still online.

    Anyone's thoughts?

    - Mike.
    #11 izcool, May 27, 2012
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  12. What exactly is cliche, anyway? People keep saying that, but I'm having a hard time pinpointing how to make a petsite that isn't 'cliche'.

    The generation of players nowadays focus on mobile stuff, so perhaps site makers have to start focusing more on that. Make things much more mobile oriented but keeping the virtual pet feeling. I think. I mean, a lot of games nowadays focus on 'don't have to linger too long, get back later'. The audience is much busier now with all the stuff, so perhaps we should focus on a different view on how we should do games and features? Eh, I really have no idea.
  13. I agree with the pet sites being all the same part. I believe that a smart path to take would be heading towards MMORPG pet sites, although they are costly. In what way that could be done, I do not know, but I see that as the best way to revolutionize the industry.
  14. @CorleoneCorleone - This is definitely an idea as mmorpgs seem to be the big thing especially the social aspect of it. Pet sites NEED to be more social in my opinion. The shout out box was a nice new feature for the petsites, but I still feel very alone when playing a pet site. In an mmorpg you can see player's face, their costumes, their gears, ect. Profiles make this process feel even more isolated as you are not looking at directly at the person, but looking at a page that they may have put up some time ago. In an internet where connection is the thing, petsites have all failed.
    #14 TheTeen, May 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  15. How about coming up, or altering what is already made, with new ideas??
    Sure everyone /likes/ a trading system, but why not ADD to it or make it BETTER?
    Instead of just /adopting/ a pet or /hatching/ a pet, why not have to befriend if first, then earn a trust level to make it grow?
    Or maybe instead of painting a pet or using potions, you have to feed it specific foods to get it to specific colors?
    What about, instead of catching pets, you have to trap them? There could be a whole part of a site where you work to build your own capture devices and the higher your level, and the better of parts, the more chances/rare/more pets you can catch?
    What if you had a whole site based on /building/ the pets? Earn the parts to build their insides, then find the fur, construct the outers, ect.
    Or a whole site

    Stop sticking to the same line and grow out into the water.
    Doesn't mean you have to do away with old ideas, add to the old ideas and incorporate a new "theme" to it all.
    If you wanna keep battling, make it so you can find new parts or they teach you something or your pet gains stats based on what they find?
    Maybe instead of doing a normal turn based battle arena with weapons, have other battle options too; such as luck where the pet uses its smarts to fight on its own and you can win more money or something. Another option would be to have "survival" tournaments. There could be many levels, but the object of these tournaments is to survive 3+ fights in a row without healing/dying. Healing items couldn't be used, but ability heals could be.

    Another thing owners can start doing is tying the site features together, but not limiting.

    Come on guys, use your minds.
    HONESTLY, if anyone wants to hire me for ideas, I am game for that. Though I doubt anyone will bite lol
  16. I hate to disagree, but i think there are a fair number of programmers involved in the VPS industry. I just think that many owners enter a project without knowing :-

    a) the scope of the site they are aiming for. Saying "code me a messaging system" is much different to "go here for a 3kb specification document o...tes, to avoid the owner<->programmer barrier.
    #16 Nate, May 27, 2012
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
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  17. If I ever find time to get GiroPets going if and when the domain expires (this may be years from now), you might have gotten a bite from me. I liked many (all) the ideas you thrown out. Hearing from the people is what makes a pet site important from my experience, I've listened and implemented many ideas from my members because it was not only my pet game, but their's too, they suggested ideas to make it better.

    I think NeoPets is TOO large for them to listen to the members on suggestions, which makes them very impersonal compared to the smaller sites. Personal = friendly. Impersonal = unfriendly.

    There's a few ideas I've come up with too, thinking about it for awhile, but I don't know if anyone's going to steal my ideas for their site if I post them which I would like to be the unique one to have it on my site when I get the domain / name rights if the owner lets it die and expire. I mainly want to do this as I have a fond attachment to the name and I liked the artwork that was done already (just use it over again), I'm far from being an artist and it's real hard to come by.

    I think you could find more programmers than artists, I was very fortunate to have a couple of artists that done such fabulous artwork at no charge.

    - Mike.
  19. The industry is very genrefied. If a game doesn't fit the cliche then it isn't really considered a petsite.

    Most free MMOs contain a pet system these days, but we don't consider them pet games. A lot of avatar sites (Gaia, Solia) now contain a pet system, but aren't considered pet games.
  20. I guess they dont promote it as other industries I mean I didnt see so many petsites advertisments and I am almost all over the internet :D

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