Whether they’re having another day at the office or enjoying downtime at home, members of the Windows Live Messenger network are just a click away from exploring a new virtual world as Microsoft Casual Games partners with GoPets Ltd. to launch GoPets on Windows Live Messenger. Inhabited by pets that owners create and customize, the virtual GoPets world on Windows Live Messenger offers environments to explore, casual games to play, groups to join and countless ways to express individuality. The relationship between Microsoft and GoPets Ltd. brings about the unique integration of a virtual world into an instant messaging (IM) service. GoPets is exclusively available now via IM to the Windows Live Messenger network in the United States, Australia, Japan and Korea – with expansion planned to more than 30 countries by the end of 2007.

“GoPets on Windows Live Messenger takes instant messaging to the next level of 3-D interactivity,” said Chris Early, product unit manager for Microsoft Casual Games. “Teaming up with GoPets enables us to provide the Windows Live Messenger network with this new social networking experience.”

A Global Dog Park for the 21st Century
Imagine an office worker in China sending his bamboo-eating panda to surf the waves down under. Or a Texas housewife’s country-music-loving dog frolicking on the desktop of a schoolteacher in London. Much like a virtual dog park, GoPets offers users a great way to meet and socialize with others in the Windows Live Messenger network around the world. Curious and inquisitive, these virtual pets love bringing owners together who share similar interests, regardless of borders or language barriers.

“GoPets is an online community where anyone can adopt a pet, customize it to their liking and interact with other pet owners anywhere in the GoPets virtual world at any time of day,” said Erik Bethke, CEO and founder of GoPets Ltd. “With direct access through Windows Live Messenger, it will be even easier for pet fans to make friends all over the world through common interests and shared experiences, such as chatting and playing games on the Windows Live Messenger and GoPets platforms.”

With a growing user base of nearly 260 million active accounts worldwide, Windows Live Messenger is the world’s most-used IM service. Current Windows Live Messenger users in more than 30 countries can travel the world with GoPets by visiting this site or by clicking the Games icon on the left side of the Windows Live Messenger window and selecting GoPets. New Windows Live Messenger users can visit this site to connect and share instantly on the world’s most popular IM network.

[tags]GoPets, virtual pet[/tags]