Well Good: Littlest Pet Shop VW gets some help
In September, Hasbro threw its hat into the toy-based virtual world ring with an online offering for the Littlest Pet Shop line–the VIPs. That was developed with Pileated Pictures, but, according to Hasbro’s 2007 Q4 earnings call, it’s not seen as a revenue source. All the money for the Littlest Pet Shop line is still in toys. That said, it looks like there’s more on the way from Hasbro’s partnership with EA than just digital ports of its classic board games.
“Certainly the idea of the VIPs is similar to sort of a Webkinz idea where the plush toy that you can buy is coded and connects to an Internet site,” said David Hargreaves, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, Finance and Global Operations. We’ve developed that. Hasbro has sort of had a partner develop that and that will be not a revenue generating site — that will be based on — we will make our money selling the toy.
Once upon a time, I was happy that LPS was coming to the wild frontier of Virtual Worlds. I thought that of ALL the pet-play virtual worlds, Littlest Pet Shop should have been #1.
Then I bought one of the dolls with the codes.
The overall world is glitchy (I still don’t know what my pet looks like online– it’s a silhouette of nothingness that I can only track by the movement of the screen), the games are buggy, and there isn’t a soul around to talk to or play with.
It’s like a barren, lonely dessert of bright pinks (not desert, get it? Yeah, I’m lame) and greens with mirages of possible-fun, but no one to share it with. I almost want to hear a giant “Wa Waaaa” in the background as I roam aimlessly.
Sure, visually, there’s a lot to be happy about for kids liking the brand– it’s neon cute.
But, with minor flash-games that are so casual and mundane that boredom comes so easily– there isn’t too much there to keep me coming back. It would be great to actually have the comradery of a pet shop (oh, stop… not all pet shops are bad, are they? Are they? Hmmm) where loads of baby pets are bouncing around, interacting, etc. And maybe a little more depth to the game play (Club Penguin has spies & quests & events, Webkinz has school, jobs, and pet “health” care).
Of course, if LPS wants to go that direction– building a safe world for their users to have a single experience and imaginative play on their own… that is great too. Again, I think there needs to be a bit more depth to the play pattern since the play pattern choices are gone (chat vs pet care vs games vs degrees of user competition). But over all– if you want to have a singular experience world, go for it. Give a bored 6 year old salt & pepper shakers and they’re be content playing in their own imagination for hours. Just remember– set another child with barbies text to her? So long salt & pepper shakers…
I look forward to what EA might bring LPS to help remove the glitches and bugs and improve upon the tremendous possibility the brand lends a child’s imagination & play.
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