Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Webkinz: Another Virtual World Gateway for Kids

Webkinz are regular stuffed animals. The gimmick is that you can adopt a virtual version of your pet and play with it in a virtual environment. Apparently, this toy is the latest toy craze. I just heard about them two weeks ago but I hear the demand for them rivals the Cabbage Patch Fiasco of 1982. I'm not sure this is true. I've been in toys stores all this weekend and I didn't hear anyone talking about them. In fact, I couldn't find any; not even an empty place where they used to be.

Either way, I like them because it introduces children to virtual worlds. The bad thing is that communicating as animals in a virtual world has a bit of a "furry" undertone to it. I guess kids won't think of that unless adults point it out.

I'm thinking about getting one for my niece but I want more evidence that this toy is interesting to kids.


kevbayer said...

Webkinz are definitely THE TOY this year. My three kids and all their friends are into them (as are Brad and Christina from the Podculture podcast).
You won't find them in regular stores - they are usually only available in specialty stores and Hallmark Card shop-type places.
Locally, we have several specialty gift shops that sell them. My wife and I were in a walmart supercenter yesterday and saw one sitting all by itself in the middle of an aisle on a display for something else. We asked about them, and were told each Walmart store got 45 of them last Friday for a special un-advertised sale (they were about $3 cheaper than at the specialty stores). We found the tub Walmart had them in, and found about 25 of them left, one of which was one our youngest daughter asked for as a Christmas gift.

Webkinz are really cute stuffed animals that come in two sizes. The regular size, and a smaller "Lil'kinz". As you said, you get to adopt a virtual version of your pet with a special code and play with it in games very similar to Neopets. You get a room for each animal you adopt and dress them, put items in their rooms, etc. There are clothes you can buy for the stuffed animals too, as well charm braclets and charm necklaces for yourself (and charms), there are magnetic bookmarks, there are "purses" to carry around one of your animals in, there are collectible trading cards... each product you buy comes with a code to use online to get special products in the online virtual world.

Most of the animals are really cute.

scifirantergirl said...

I bought two Lil' Kinz for my niece and cousin. I was supposed to get a couple more but I'll have to wait till next week. I'm gonna buy one for myself just to be able to explain to the girls how the toys work. I got a chihuahua and a bull dog :)

JoshC said...

I'm planning on securing on of these for my little computer-nerd-in-training three year old.