Why virtual pets ?
Over 60% of households in the world own a pet. While most people prefer having a dog or a cat as a pet, some have fish, hamsters and there are many more animals that humans consider as pets.
For most people, a pet is considered a friend or even family member and they are taking care of it, feeding it and even cleaning after it. Humans have an evolutionary trait of connecting to animals, that trait used to help us befriend animals for purposes like: hunting, protection etc.
Even thou we don’t need pets for such purposes anymore, the human animal connection trait that we have stayed to this day.
Some people prefer to have a virtual pet which they can still take care of and feel connected to, yet do not require the same level of responsibility from them, and the long years of commitment to their pets. For such purposes, Virtual games that let players choose and take care of a virtual pets like Webkinz or Tamagotchi have been popular through the years.
Tamagotchi is a handheld digital pet that came out in Japan in 23rd of November 1996 and quickly became one of the biggest fads of the 90s or even video games history. While consisting only from a small screen and 3 buttons, people were obsessed with their Tamagotchi animals and took care of it as if it were their pet.
As time went by and technology improved, better Pet simulators were developed. In 2005 a Canadian company named Ganz released the Webkinz stuffed animals. Webkinz deepened the connection between the player and their pet by not only letting them choose what animal they want but also having a real life stuffed animal of the pet they have chosed. Webkinz allowed the players to engage with their pets in activities such as dressing them with items they bought in the virtual world for their pets, playing games with them, feeding them etc.
Virtual / Augmented reality
Recently, Nintendo took a big step forward in pet simulator games when they released Pokemon Go. Pokemon go is an Augmented reality Smartphone game that requires you to take your phone and roam the big wide world to catch pokemons, challenge gyms, gain more experience or in other words – to progress in game.
The game is a wild success – gaining millions of downloads at the first week of it launch and putting Nintendo and Pokemon back on the headlines again.
Augmented reality games like Pokemon Go are hinting on what’s to come from the Pet simulators game Genre in the future, with Virtual reality providing limitless options to the features that can be added or improved for such games.
Virtual reality Pet simulators will take the next step in bringing people and virtual pets together, and giving people the ability to physically take their virtual pets to a walk, pet them and etc in the not so distant future. Virtual reality could allow you to keep pets you never could before like Dinosaurs or Pandas. Virtual reality can also be used to help people decide if they want to keep as pet and if so which one.
Virtual reality is the key for so many doors that have never been unlocked before in that genre of games.