I’ve mentioned WebKinz before.
It has been a couple of years, but it still gets some attention at our house. In fact my daughter HAD to have a new WebKinz plush toy for Christmas this past year.
She had to have it because that is the basis of the traditional WebKinz subscription plan. When you buy a WebKinz toy, you get a year-long subscription to their online world. In that world, you take a virtual representation of your real life plush pal and build them a home, furnish it, and play games alone or with other people.
So it wasn’t a stretch to make a connection with WebKinz when Bilzzard announced that they would be selling plush toys that would get you an in-game pet as well.
Tangible toy with a virtual world representation: My daughter expressed a desire right away for the plush gryphon hatchling.
The funny thing is that WebKinz is moving a bit towards WoW’s business model with Deluxe memberships.
Deluxe memberships are below the monthly Club Penguin ($6) or Toontown Online ($10) price range, running about $5 a month if purchased in the smallest increment. That said, WebKinz is also much less of a virtual world than either of the two competitors I mentioned. (And we’ve had all three running at our house at various times.)
The one really nice thing that WebKinz has in their subscription plan matrix is a family membership. Only available as an annual subscription, it gives you up to five accounts. I wish Blizzard would look into some sort of family package.
And while I’m on the topic of mixing up real and virtual versions of in-game items, I thought I would mention that Figure Prints has announced the third in their series of in-game companion pet models.
Having posted about the first and second installments in the series, I would have to say that this is perhaps the best set so far, though I’m still not laying down any cash for them. But if you have to have them, they are only available through March 31st.
People who are not fans of the cash shop trend we’re seeing in subscription MMOs will probably enjoy the irony of the Pandaren Monk pet being part of this series. You have to buy that pet from the Blizzard Store, and then you can turn around and buy it again from Figure Prints.