While many social games and apps have drifted to the U.S. from Asia (farming games such as Happy Farm, for example), it looks like a hint of the reverse has occurred recently. California-based social developer, FooMojo, Inc., the creator of popular virtual pet game, FooPets has made the move over to China, becoming playable on two of the region’s more popular social networks, Kaixin and RenRen. Operated by Oak Pacific International (OPI), new users to the networks will actually be encouraged to add a personal FooPet to their account upon sign up.
For those unfamiliar with FooPets, players are able to “adopt” and care for a highly realistic and animated 3D pet such as a cat or dog. Within the simple world, users are able to entertain their virtual pet with mini games (like fetch), take pictures, feed them, and buy various virtual items for a little spoiling. In fact, many of the virtual goods are branded, consisting of advertisements from 20th Century Fox, Purina and Pedigree.
These elements are preserved in the new Chinese version (save for maybe the American advertisements), but by the looks of things, FooPets will not be limited to just China. It will be expanding into other areas of the Asia Pacific market with a new regional subsidiary, FooMojo Asia K.K. Based in Tokyo, Japan, the company will focus on business relationships and marketing strategies in Japan, China, Korea, and other Asia Pacific regions.
According to CEO and Chairman of OPI, Joe Chen, virtual pets have long been an influential and popular concept in Asia, so the new partnership with FooMojo makes for quite the synergistic marriage. Not only will FooMojo gain access to a booming regional industry, but Chen states that the partnership will also allow them to “tap into the growing use of social games and applications that is spreading rapidly throughout Asian countries.” As Virtual Goods News points out, this marks one of the first Western expansions into the Asian market, but likely, it will not be the last.