Posts Tagged 'Playfish'

Looking for Sushi’s Papa

Back in April, when the Pet Society diaries became open for all to see, I imagined Sushi’s mama as a grouchy pet with frumpy, old-lady hair.

But Sushi’s mama wasn’t always this unpleasant. Back in her youth, before she was Sushi’s mama, or anyone’s mama, she was fun and carefree.

pet society punk rocker

She was into punk rock and New Wave music and she went to many concerts and nightclubs.

pet society concert

She was popular with the boys, and one summer, she dated four guys. Some time later, Sushi was born, and life changed forever. Mama loved her little Sushi, but over the years, she started getting the look of suspicion in her eyes, and her posture became slumped with hard work and worry.

She still isn’t certain which one of the guys is Sushi’s dad. But with Father’s Day approaching, she would like Sushi and dad to reunite. Which one is your favorite?

pet society dads


Hideeni celebrates World Cup

hideeni world cup

Hideeni’s got a sporty new look in honor of the World Cup. He looks so cute, but I just want to kick him!

He’s giving out 15 flags from around the globe. What’s really interesting is that Playfish is going to be watching the World Cup matches closely and offering the flags as long as the teams remain in the competition. (I’m a bit mystified why all 32 nations in the World Cup weren’t included in this group of flags—South Korea, for example isn’t represented. I guess Playfish doesn’t have much confidence in the Red Devils.)

Which nation will be the last one standing? We’ll find out in about a month. The World Cup goes from June 11-July 11.


The Artists of Pet Society

Playfish London

Note: This article has been modified from its original form to protect the artists from being spammed. In true Pet Society Anonymous form, names have been discarded.

It was a real treat for me to meet the people behind the best game on Facebook. Here are some of the impressions I got of the artists and the Playfish London office in general.

  • They are an international crew. I had lunch with seven people, and only two were from England.
  • One artist was from Taiwan. Another was from Hong Kong. Two were from Italy, and one was from the U.S.
  • The artists all seem to love Japan, or the idea of Japan. At least three of them said that they enjoyed Japan Week the most.
  • Pet Society’s leading artist said that Japan Week felt too short and unfinished. This probably means that we’ll be seeing more Japanese items in the game.

japan week in pet society

  • The leading artist also looks up to Disney art for inspiration.
  • Many of them seem to love the game. As the office manager said, “Before I started working here, I was playing Pet Society. And I thought to myself, I have to work for this company.”
  • They are often surprised by how some of the items are used in the game. For example, one of the artist’s friends used the Volcano Mask in conjunction with a bird’s nest. The bird was singing happily as the volcano erupted.
  • The artists are influenced by everything around them. During lunch, an artist snapped a picture of a flower pot at the table. Maybe we’ll see it in the game soon.
  • They are surrounded by their work. Not only do they have the joy of seeing their art in the game, but their offices are covered with their drawings.

Pictures of Playfish London

Playfish mayor

Playfish London entrance

Playfish London

The Banker of Pet Society

Note: This article has been modified from the original version to protect the Playfish staff from SPAM. Please be respectful of people’s privacy.

During my visit to the Playfish headquarters, I had a chance to talk with the Product Manager of Pet Society, or better known as the Banker of Pet Society. With a background in finance, this PM is relatively new to London (she’s lived there about a year) and even newer to the gaming world (she joined Playfish about two months ago).

What does the Product Manager do, exactly? She replied that she’s “looking after the coordination process between the development and the art, and making sure that everything goes smoothly. But a big part of the job is like being ‘the central banker’ for the game. It’s doing pricing, making sure that the exchange rates are right, and making sure that ‘the taps and the sinks,’ or the ways to earn money and the ways to spend money are in reasonable balance.”

She admitted that sometimes, her team’s predictions are off the mark, as in the case of the Limited Edition Peter Pan statue, which was pulled out of the shops due to lagging sales.

During our interview, the PM also talked quite a bit about how the company relies on crowdsourcing and feedback from players to develop new features in the game. In the video below, she tells us about the Volcano Mask that was released after the Icelandic eruption.

What’s your longest break from Pet Society?

Today, I logged into Pet Society for the first time in over a week. Poor Sushi was being attacked by a swarm of flies when I found him.

While I was in London last week, I had trouble getting onto the game for a couple of reasons:

  1. The hotel’s Internet failed
  2. I was too busy touring the city and having fun in the real world

After I returned home, I didn’t log into the game for other reasons:

  1. I was too tired from jetlag
  2. I realized that Pet Society isn’t as addictive as I’d thought

That last reason has come as a real surprise to me. Some people, including tech writer Michael Arrington, has claimed that games are like cigarettes. I used to think he was right, but now I can say that’s not the case at all, at least not for me.

While I was in London, one of the Playfish staffers asked me if I was attached to my pet. I said, yes, I actually do feel affection for Sushi, and I start to miss him if I don’t log in every day. I like seeing his cute little expressions and hearing the cheerful Pet Society music. But that was more than 10 days ago. This is the longest break I’ve ever taken from the game, and the truth is, I haven’t really missed Sushi or Pet Society.

That’s not to say that I’m quitting the game. Just a few minutes of logging in today reminded me of how much I enjoy seeing Sushi and his little friends. Maybe I’m just feeling Pet Society fatigue, but I’ve been playing this game since November 2008. In terms of pet age, that makes Sushi a great-great-great grandfather. And perhaps it’s time for him to consider retirement… or at least take things slowly for a while.

Have you taken a break from Pet Society? What was the longest time you went without seeing your pet? Were you anxious to get back into the game? Or were you OK with the break?

Peter Pan “Limited Edition” Statue

peter pan statue in pet society

Playfish seems to have a slightly skewed idea of the term “limited edition.” Things that are in limited edition, such as a Leroy Neiman print, or a Bentley Brooklands, are pretty rare with under 500 copies. But there are 250,000 Peter Pan Statues in Pet Society.

More surprising than this high quantity is that so many people have already snapped these up. The picture above was taken less than two hours after the statue’s release. Let’s do the math:

250,000 – 241,407 = 8593 statues sold

Given the astronomical price tag of this statue (16,000 coins), we can assume that most of these statues were bought with the help of the Bank, where you can get 18,000 coins instantly for $20 U.S.

Let’s do the math again. Let’s assume that out of the 8593 statues sold, half of these were bought with the cash coins. (A very conservative estimate; I suspect that the actual number is closer to 8000.)

8593 / 2 = 4296 bought the $20 bag of coins
4296 x $20 = $85,920

$85,920 in less than two hours! And this is a low estimate. If 8000 people went to the bank to purchase this “limited edition” statue, Playfish made $160,000 in that same time frame.

If every statue is bought through the bank, Playfish will make $5 million off this item. The theme this week may be “never grow up,” complete with Tinkerbell outfits and Neverland scenes, but some of us have clearly grown up and grown shrewd.

Pet Society Open Diary Follow Up

Last week, I asked a Playfish staffer what was behind the company’s decision to open the diary to everyone in your Pet Society friends’ list. “Nelson” was a sport about being featured on the blog, and spoke with the game’s product manager. This is the manager’s reply: “The diary was introduced because the team wanted to give players a bit more info because some stats were taken away during the game’s redesign.”

Nelson also said that if I had more questions, the manager would be happy to address them. So I asked why the feature is called a diary if everyone can see it, and if it’s possible to get an option to keep it private. I haven’t gotten a follow-up response yet. In the meantime, I made this comic about the consequences of peering into someone else’s diary.




pet society diary




Note: I do NOT think the open Pet Society Diary is going to breed mistrust between players. I mean, come on, it’s just a game. A very cute game. However, like many others, I think we should have an option to keep the diary private. I would be really embarrassed if someone in my office—my boss for example, who’s connected with me on Facebook but sees a very limited view of my account—decides to go on Pet Society and sees how many times I’ve logged into the game.

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