Interview with Starkitten, Owner of

What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Mostly creative pursuits such as art and writing, and I also have a long running interest in biology, particularly genetics and evolution.

What inspired/motivated you to create Xanje?
It grew out of a desire to bring to life a lot of the creatures and places I created over many years in my other work, as well as add new ones.

How old were you when you started developing your game?

What are the easiest or hardest aspects of running Xanje?
The easiest part is probably drawing the pets themselves. The hardest part is keeping up with the need for new and novel content.

How many daily active users does Xanje have?
It is difficult to estimate but we have anywhere between 300 and 1000 players online, total, over the course of a day.

How many staff members do you have?
We currently run the site with three paid staff and a varying number of volunteers. Most of the volunteers are players with a love of the game who wanted to see their own art on the pets. They were trained to be able to add them and then brought onto the team. We are always welcoming new artists!

Do you run any other website or is Xanje your only site?
It is currently the only one. It is run by me and Routine, who recently became a co-owner.

What has helped you grow Xanje?
Sheer passion and determination. If you have that, the rest follows. Besides that, I would say, the best thing that we have done is making sure that the players of the game feel like their input matters.

How does your game make money?
The site is funded through both advertisements and in-game purchases. In-game purchases are not necessary to enjoy Xanje--virtually everything can also be obtained without money--but most players choose to spend some money, which goes towards supporting the site's development.

How much did it cost you to fully develop Xanje?
Let's just say it took a good few years of purely sinking money--a lot of money--into the site before it got off the ground. These sites are largely labours of love.

Are there any big plans for the future of Xanje?
We have loads of plans. Among them are new minigames, new full games, animations, a mobile app, upgrades to our existing features such as our breeding and battle systems, as well as of course, many more new pets!

How many features and games do you have right now? What’s xanje’s Best feature and game?
We have too many to name! Come check out the site and see. :)Among players' favourites are probably our breeding system, our pet-catching games, our battle game, and our designer pet lab (which lets you create a new pet). They also love the friendly community and its thriving little art scene.

Where do you see Xanje heading in the next 2-5 years?
I see us implementing many if not most of our planned new features and upgrades.

What are some of your main goals for your game?
I wish for it to continue to grow, add the features and upgrades we have planned, and continue to evolve. We especially would like the game to become fully mobile as well as remain a desktop browser based game.

If you weren't running your own game, what would you be doing instead?
I would probably still be working at a factory, call centre or supermarket.

What are your thoughts on the state of the virtual pets industry? Is it dying or flourishing?
It is moving. These types of games have largely become mobile, although some exceptions remain, and increasingly rely on AR and AI for both their look and user experience.

Do you have any advice or tips for someone that's looking to create their own pet site?
If you have a strong passion for it, go for it, and be ready for lots of hard work.
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