A new iOS title is replacing microtransactions with social interations.
Developed by Fuzzy Face Games, Tweechi is a so-called ‘next-generation virtual pet', a la Tamagotchi, exclusive to iPhone.
Like so many mobile titles, the upcoming app features in-game virtual currency, which players can use to buy treats, toy and minigames for their animal.
However, unlike the oft-maligned drive of freemium apps to tempt users into spending real-world money on the in-game tender, Tweechi instead utilises social connectivity.
Players can earn ‘Zips' by hooking up Tweechi to their Twitter account. Their retweets then generate the electronic cash, which can apparently also be nabbed by taking and sharing selfie pictures.
Further daily bonuses, experience points and items can be obtained by taking good care of their pet.
"With one of our co-founders being a father to three girls, it became absolutely crucial to us early on that players of any age are able to enjoy Tweechi without having to spend real life money on soft currency," said Chris Thomas, co-founder and director of Fuzzy Face Games.
"To that end, we have made it possible for players to get Zips completely for free through all sorts of different ways. You might get Zips through retweet bonuses, sharing selfies of you and your pet, or even as rewards for positive and healthy behaviour – such as making sure Tweechi cleans his teeth before he goes to bed."
Co-founder and art director Rory Muldoon added: "We designed Tweechi to be the game you play for 60 seconds every day, perfect for a commute or to tinker with over your morning cereal.
We were inspired by the relaxing nature of wonderful games like Animal Crossing where you can build a longer term relationship with your game world and characters over more frequent, but shorter, play sessions.”
Tweechi is due out this Autumn, and is currently slated for iPhone only.