In a Tweet posted on the official Webkinz account on October 23, Ganz announced the relaunching and rebranding of Webkinz, promising fans a “whole new world” to explore with their fuzzy friends alongside the Classic website.
Originally launched in 2005, Webkinz are a line of stuffed animals popular for having online counterparts that could be cared for and played with in various mini-games on their website. It’s comparable to Neopets, with the caveat that the online games were only accessible if you bought the physical stuffed animals. Webkinz were an instant success, earning the company more than $100 million in 2006, and continuing to be popular through the 2000s and into the 2010s.
This new version of the franchise is, according to Ganz, not an alternative to Webkinz Classic, which the company says it will continue to support for the foreseeable future, but instead a new world with new mini-games that will be available on all platforms Webkinz classic is currently available on, including Google Play and iOS, which have already launched, and PC, which will launch soon, although no exact date was given.
Fans of the original series seem to have mixed reactions to the announcement. Some have expressed a nostalgic excitement for this rebranding, looking to get back into the world themselves or pass it on to their children. They are excited for there to be a new breath of life in the nearly-forgotten franchise.
Related: Neopets Is Getting A Mobile Game (But We’re Not Sure When)
Others have noted a few issues with the new launch. Although Ganz claims that an existing Webkinz account can be used with the new game mode, users have found that they are unable to port existing pets, which is frustrating as many do not want to buy new physical toys just to have an avatar in the new game. Some have complained that the new graphics are not up to par and that they prefer the original in terms of style and gameplay.
Still, it seems that we’ll have to wait for the launch of the PC version of the game for any definitive opinions. In the meantime, fans remain excited to care for their virtual furbabies.
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