The Ganz company launches a line of stuffed animals in 2005 called Webkinz. Each Webkinz has a tag on it that allows the person to use a code to log into the Webkinz World online. Using the special code, each stuffed animal essentially becomes a virtual pet that can associate with other users that are different avatars. Many of the users try to collect as many Webkinz as possible for the online pet interaction with their friends and family members.
Webkinz are found at about every online site and in a few select retail locations. The cost of a single Webkinz is anywhere from nine to twenty dollars. The older Webkinz are usually the cheapest as the users want to purchase the new Webkinz to show their friends. Once you have a Webkinz avatar, you can choose to leave it how it is or you can create a virtual world for it. Most users purchase charms, clothing, furniture, and other virtual items for their pet at the Webkinz eStore. To keep the web site up and running, each user is required to purchase a new Webkinz once a year. For each Webkinz you register on the site, the membership will only be active for one year.
The reason why many children are attracted to the site is because they can play online games with their friends or by themselves. The more games you play, the more KinzCash you will collect. The KinzCash is online cash that you can use in the Webkinz store to buy things for your avatar. Each day you can participate in a Game of the Day. If you complete the Game of the Day, you will get bonus KinzCash. Some of the daily activities are limited to participating once every eight hours; this is to encourage children to participate in other activities so they do not get addicted to the virtual world. Weekends and afternoons have extra games with KinzCash bonus offers.
To keep your avatar happy, you will need to purchase food for it. Each pet requires different food. You will be given a home for your avatar with pre-made themes but you can decorate it however you choose if you earn enough KinzCash to purchase furniture and decorating themes.
Each month the site will designate a ‘Pet of the Month’. If you have that pet and you register it during this month, you will receive bonus KinzCash and other offers. To gain access exclusive offers, you need to spend enough time on the site and develop relationships with other avatars along with the Curio Shop owner. If you are considered a friendly Webkinz, you will be given the exclusive offers. One of the exclusive offers in the Curio Shop are recipes and collecting a variety of different items. To keep your Webkinz healthy, you need to take it to Dr. Quack for regular check-ups to make sure you aren’t feeding it too much and that it is getting enough exercise. If you have an unhealthy Webkinz, Dr. Quack may recommend that you earn enough to buy a swimming pool so the Webkinz can exercise. You also need to brush your avatar’s hair, brush their teeth, and bathe them.
Webkinz is targeted to audience members aged four to fourteen years old. However, anyone that purchases a Webkinz and has a special code can gain access to the site. There is no way to specifically track the identity of online users so it is important to proceed with caution when you interact with other users on the site.
The more you are on the site; you will start to get into different games and collector’s items. Webkinz also offers Trading Cards which can be used in challenge games. The codes on the cards will give you free pet codes and other things that allow you to unlock prizes.