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Upon reading many of our members' questions, concerns and interest in Ganz's upcoming virtual world, Tail Towns, I leveraged my relationship with the Webkinz Creative Director to get some more information for everyone. Here is some more concrete, confirmed information from Ganz, and the Creative Director's answers to specific questions I asked him.
Tail Towns is a new line of collectibles from Ganz with a virtual-world counterpart. While this is similar to the model from Webkinz, this new site is designed primarily for women, and requires that you to be 13 or older to play. The new collectibles will be high-quality animal figurines that come with codes that you can enter into Tail Towns.
Tail Towns is set to launch on March 8, 2011, International Women's Day, and the Webkinz Creative Director offered us this exclusive tidbit that should make many of our curious Webkinz Insider members quite happy: Tail Towns will have a free-to-try option. While you won't get the great "estate" feature in the game, you'll be able to try out quite a bit and see if you like it without spending a penny.
When you register for the site, you will create a virtual villager and use skills to complete tasks and build your own town, starting with your own "estate" that will eventually develop into a private village (the estate feature is only available if you enter a code, not in the "free-to-try" type of account). As you collect more figurines and enter more Tail Towns codes, you will increase your villager's abilities and skills.
You can invite friends to join your Tail Towns village, and you can continue to build your villages by working jobs and earning the Tail Towns virtual currency. Special tasks will also earn virtual items and the in-game currency.
In addition, Ganz has confirmed that Tail Towns will have some form of a story line (also known as "lore") which will be "tangled tales of forbidden love, true romance and hidden treachery". It will also have unrestricted chat more similar to Free Realms or Club Penguin.
You can join their mailing list for updates and "exclusive first access to the world of Tail Towns" by visiting the official site: http://www.tailtowns.com.
To address everyone's concerns that Webkinz World may be put on the back burner, as Ganz devotes personnel and resources to Tail Towns, that isn't the case.
Will Ganz shift resources and personnel away from Webkinz if Tail Towns starts to really take off?
Ganz is completely dedicated to Webkinz. We have the plan for 2011 locked and loaded and I'm already planning 2012. Look at any Web Metrics site - we're still one of the top three most played kids sites on the internet. We're not risking that. Also, Webkinz is Flash, Tail Towns is in Unity3D (like MAZIN' Hamsters). The two teams don't overlap.
Do you anticipate that older Webkinz players are going to leave Webkinz World in favor of Tail Towns?
Webkinz is a very robust site with a specific play style. We have lots of arcade games, and lots of collectable elements. I do think that some of the older members of Webkinz will enjoy the expanded design abilities in Tail Towns, and the robust trading/selling features that have been included. The figures themselves look awesome too. But overall it isn't our goal to "move people" from one site to another. In many ways we're looking to get a whole new audience. The kind of audience who never considered Webkinz -- most adults who play Webkinz got into it through their children, or grandchildren.
If so, is Ganz going to make any efforts to hang on to those older Webkinz players inside WW, or are they going to focus their efforts in Webkinz World on their younger audience?
Webkinz has always been for "younger members". But we also wanted to make a site that we enjoy playing. While there are features that appeal more to our younger members (like taking care of their pets) beyond that kids and adults on Webkinz play very similarly. We definitely have more collection events coming and another large daily (ala Jumbleberry Fields) on the way - and who doesn't like getting more prizes?
Re: More Details About Ganz's Tail Towns and Its Effect on Webkinz World
Thanks for the information, Justin and the Creative Director.
I really hope Ganz will sincerely keep their focus on Webkinz World. The Creative Director made it plain that they would, which I'm glad about. I also hope they'll take some of our WI member's suggestions -- like the Pom Pom Tom for instance!
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