My Fishbowl: A Fast-Growing Facebook Aquarium World

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By Christopher Mack

duckacquariumAs more foreign games make their appearance on Facebook, one of the latest gainers has been a quaint little virtual space app by the name of My Fishbowl. As the name suggests, this title from TwoFishes Interactive has players creating virtual aquarium, and in a somewhat similar fashion to the booming farming genre, raising fish and decorating your own personal aquatic realm.

The game is available in Chinese and English, but seems to be mostly used by Chinese speakers. It is really exceedingly simple, but as with all virtual space games, complication is never necessary. It’s all about how much socially-fueled creativity one can employ, and based on some of the screenshots from more advanced players, there is quite a bit to be had. It was one the fifth-fastest growing game on Facebook last week, among developers with between 100,000 and one million users. When we looked on Monday, it had reached 3.30 million monthly active users, having grown by 1.57 million in the previous week alone. The growth continues, as today it is at 3.76 million.

piratefishbowl However, to get started, one needs money before decorations can be bought. So how is it earned through an aquarium? Through its fish of course, and what sort of fishbowl has no fish? Players are able to buy any number of different types of fish; each of which has its own personality when interacting with others. When you purchase them, however, you have to feed them, and as you feed them, they grow. Yes, it is the circle of life, but what is more important is that every day, the fish magically produce random pieces of treasure that can be sold for more “Shellbucks,” the games currency

With Shellbucks, players are able accomplish the primary point of My Fishbowl: Decoration. They can buy decorations like coral, rocks, seaweed, backgrounds, and even some more creative objects like teddy bears or ice cream. The list is actually quite long and some of the more creative fishbowls have made rather bizarre designs such as spaceships, ducks, and even pirates.

1 shellbuck item vs 9 gold itemsUnfortunately, this vast selection of decorations leads to one very obnoxious issue. Like most games of this nature, monetization is through virtual goods transactions. While there is nothing wrong with that, it feels like 80% – 90% of the decorations you can buy (and even a lot of the fish and pets – pets like sea horses) are bought with “Gold,” the currency that is purchased through real money or by completing advertising offers. Here’s the thing, the problem isn’t that there are items using Gold, nor is it that most of the items are bought with it. No, it’s the fact that there doesn’t seem to be enough Shellbuck items for new players, or players not wanting to acquire gold, to really be creative. As such, there might not be enough to really suck most users into the game to the point where they would want to spend that extra cash. However, that doesn’t seem to be holding back the app’s growth.