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How important are pets in a pet site?


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42 minutes ago, kami said:

It seems silly to call a game a "pet" site if there is basically no point to the pets. If you want to make a game centered around something else, go for it, but calling it a "pet" site seems silly in that case.

What I was mentioning for instance was neopets where you can completely ignore your pet.

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10 hours ago, Digital said:

What I was mentioning for instance was neopets where you can completely ignore your pet.

That's essentially what I was getting at. If the pet doesn't play much of any of a role in the site, why is it a "pet" site?

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A lot pet sites are community based. So really you could play either way, either ignoring the pets or ignoring the communities. I'm not entirely sure what the original question is asking but I think it depends on the user. You have the collectors who need ALL the ANYTHING with fur, feathers or scales and then you have users who dedicate their time to just doting on a few of their favorites. I think Avatar sites are in a similar boat with yes their users love their avatars but the site is really about the community. 

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I think Subeta is a perfect example. The pets are definitely one of the least important things, as is the game play. The BIGGEST aspects to the site are the human avatar system and the forums, but people still call Subeta a pet site.

Neopets does allow for some balance though, which is true, as Syntax mentioned, it depends on the user. But for quite a few sites, it seems like incorporating more things and uses for the pets is either not planned or on the back burner. Not necessarily a bad thing though, again, just calling those kinds of games "pet" is silly.

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1 minute ago, kami said:

Neopets does allow for some balance though, which is true, as Syntax mentioned, it depends on the user. But for quite a few sites, it seems like incorporating more things and uses for the pets is either not planned or on the back burner. Not necessarily a bad thing though, again, just calling those kinds of games "pet" is silly.

Do you feel this is a detriment to the market and industry, or just a way things are?

1 hour ago, Syntax said:

A lot pet sites are community based. So really you could play either way, either ignoring the pets or ignoring the communities. I'm not entirely sure what the original question is asking but I think it depends on the user. You have the collectors who need ALL the ANYTHING with fur, feathers or scales and then you have users who dedicate their time to just doting on a few of their favorites. I think Avatar sites are in a similar boat with yes their users love their avatars but the site is really about the community. 

Pet being lesser importance then community, but enough to do that community isn't greater then activities? If that made any sense?

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Just now, Digital said:

Do you feel this is a detriment to the market and industry, or just a way things are?

Pet being lesser importance then community, but enough to do that community isn't greater then activities? If that made any sense?

No, I think it's just the flavor of each site. A game like Flight Rising is all about the gameplay, but despite this forum having adoptables I wouldn't label it as an adoptable site. I'm here for the community, not the pets(although they are super adorable). In the same way I've played a lot of pet sites and while they're fun, the only time they stick with me is if I love the community and make friends there.

It's hard to give a general importance to pets vs. other aspects because they're all different and they all appeal to a slightly different group of people. Communities have been known to make or break a game, but your initial draw and ability to get users interested and keep them interested can depend on your pets and features.

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3 minutes ago, Syntax said:

It's hard to give a general importance to pets vs. other aspects because they're all different and they all appeal to a slightly different group of people. Communities have been known to make or break a game, but your initial draw and ability to get users interested and keep them interested can depend on your pets and features.

So really solid pet features and community features could be seen as equals?

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8 minutes ago, Digital said:

Do you feel this is a detriment to the market and industry, or just a way things are?

I wouldn't think so? I mean, I haven't really seen any sort of negative impact, despite most games I've seen not really caring much for the "pet" aspect of their game. I mean, before Neopets added in the clothing feature, their pets were even more in the background. People got them just to use the pet pages, but it was still successful and the idea of pet sites still resonated with a lot of people, resulting in the continuation of the genre today.

I think the main thing to keep in mind for those wanting to build their own pet sites is for them to ask themselves, is it a pet site they want to build? If there are pets, how necessary is it really for them to be there? Is there any purpose to them? If it's not the focal point, like Subeta, calling it an "avatar" site would seem to be more appropriate and advertises much more what the game is about. It's kind of like having genres for books or movies, I suppose? Helps people identify what your game is about. If you call it a "pet" site, people are going to expect the pets to be more than eye candy you can leave starving and bored.

Though then again, /because/ so many sites have used the term "pet" site, despite the pets being an almost nothing feature, we've built up this understanding and expectation of what pet sites are. Nowadays, we expect a site called "pet" to be where you can just completely ignore the pet features, and the main attractions are everything else.

Even with people trying to think of new and innovative features for pet sites, whenever I see these discussions come up, almost entirely they're talking about features /other/ than for the pets. Like crazy explore systems, certain integrations with mini games, etc. It's a bit comical, really. People are coming up with great feature ideas for a pet game that don't at all involve the pets XD (To be fair, occasionally there are mentions of battling, and once I did see someone have a fantastic renovation for the standard feeding system, but nevertheless, it seems like building crazy awesome new features that involve the pets are basically not even considered to begin with.)

And just to be clear: I don't find this all to necessarily be negative nor am I necessarily in disagreement with how sites are run/developed.

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If I was to create a pet site, I would make features with two things in mind. 1) They have to be fun. 2) They have to be related to pets. 

Of course adding other features that don't fit into both criteria is always nice. For example, the feeding and playing with your pets features I've seen have always been cute and a nice thing on the side, they are obvious pet features, but they aren't really fun (at least the ones I've used, they just felt kinda repetative and mundane). Or an example of something fun but not pet related necessarily I would say might be battling. Great feature to have, but we don't fight pets in real life,  it has more of a Pokemon feel (so I wouldn't center a petsite around it if I wanted to focus on pets). 

An example of something that's both fun and pet related might be adoptions and adoption agencies. I remember on Neopets, people loved making these. Theyd collect a bunch of unwanted pets from the pound and rehome them. This is a totally believable scenario for pets in real life, and also is a lot of fun. A whole site could probably be based off a pet adoption concept, but if not, at least it could be one of the core features. Another core feature could be pet shows (like you train them to do tricks and such and compete with other players, not like shows for breeders like in SIMs, but pet shows like that TV program Pet Star). 

Again, don't get me wrong. Totally love battling, playing with your pets, etc. and sites like Subeta I would still consider a pet site, this is just what I would do personally if I was going to focus on the pet aspect of a pet site.

This is just my opinion and some brainstorming though. 

Edited by Hare
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The status quo of these sorts of sites have shifted. The pets used to be front and center, jump through x hoops to get this pet, grats you got it, now show it off. Now, economies in these games are more robust, the audiences of these games have matured and that plays in part of why pets are not the centerpiece of these sites anymore.

This is why adoptables are so popular now--these people that stopped getting their 'pretty pet' fix have carved their own space while filling their own niche on dA/FurAffinity/etc. And we are left with communities that may have started there for the pets, but stayed for the people and gameplay.

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I think @bird touched upon some key issues, namely that audiences have matured.

This leads to the evolution of game economies and communities to fit the interactivity and social requirement that most "matured" audiences consider as the new status quo. I've seen a shift in game economies where real-currency purchases are not frowned upon anymore (remember the times when it's hard to incorporate micro-transactions?). And I've seen a shift in online communities where it's not as frowned-upon to chat with "strangers" on pet sites as a teen. Implications from a shifting demographic certainly challenges our original understanding of what a pet site is, since audience expectations - and preferences - of features and gameplay do affect how "pet" features are implemented, where we tend to see owners try and incorporate more non-pet site features into their game.

Having said that, I do think a pet site must have some pet feature to consider it a pet site, as long as it falls within a spectrum. What I mean is on one end of the spectrum, there are sites strongly focused on pet gameplay (i.e. breeding, battling, sims, etc)., while the other side considers pet gameplay as a part of their game experience rather than the singular experience.

So while one side can be 100% focused on pets (i.e. no robust human avatar system, more individual gameplay than co-operative/community based), sites that fall into the other end of the spectrum are still "pet sites", just pet site "lite", if they have at the bare minimum some sort of pet-related function. And of course certain (if not most) games fall in between, straying towards one side of the spectrum to another.

 

Edited by Cadence
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