Last week, a new game, PetVille, was released on Facebook. The game is pretty much a copy of Pet Society. You get a virtual pet, you customize its appearance, feed it, shop for it, decorate its house, visit friends and earn money.
The game is made by Playfish frenemy Zynga, the maker of Mafia Wars, Farmville and Yoville. On the day of PetVille's release, a Playfish staff member contacted me and had this to say about the rivalry between the two companies: "I'm biased of course, but even if I didn't work for Playfish I'd gravitate to our games because they look better, have more depth, and are more creative and innovative."
To be fair, I'm sure someone working at Zynga would say the same about their games, and one poll shows that more people actually prefer the look of PetVille over Pet Society. It'll be very interesting to see how PetVille fares in the coming months. Perhaps the competition will be good in helping Pet Society improve its features.
I tested PetVille on three separate occasions. Here's a quick review of the highlights.
Here's my test pet "Ramses" eating. I bought a banana, but it looks like dried dog food in the bowl, and the pet shovels it in with his hands. This is interesting to note, because Playfish COO Sebastien de Halleux once told me that when Pet Society was first released, it featured animal food, but the company found out that players preferred to feed their pets human food.