This week Zynga unleashed its latest social game, PetVille.
As the name implies, PetVille is Zynga's entry into the time-tested but
crowded "virtual pet" genre of social game. Users can adopt and play
with virtual pets, earning items to customize their virtual homes and
appearances. What is curious about the sudden launch of PetVille is
that, technically speaking, Zynga was already operating a virtual pet
game– until about a month ago.
Zynga purchased GoPets about one month ago,
according to statements made by GoPets founder Erick Bethke. A cursory
glance at screenshots of GoPets and PetVille make it clear that the two
games are very different, with GoPets 3D virtual world exchanged for
simpler 2D graphics in PetVille. So why did Zynga purchase one of the
Web's most popular virtual pet games only to shut it down and release
something completely different a month later?