You may have heard some of the exciting feline technology news coming out of SXSW this year. If not, check this out!
The video above displays three early “cat games” released by Friskies brand cat food at SXSW 2011, which included “Cat Fishing,” “Tasty Treasures Hunt,” and “Party Mix”. However, at this year’s SXSW Interactive they unveiled an all new cat game titled “You vs. Cat.” This game will allow for humans to play their companion animals for the first time. Because the earlier apps were designed simply for cats, people could not play alongside them. The result is a lot videos of confused cats slapping and rubbing on iPad screens.
The “You vs. Cat” application allows you to play a simple game on your iPad with your feline friend by lobbing virtual objects at your cat’s “goal” across the iPad screen. The cat, presumably will then frantically swat, bat, and slap the objects before they reach his/her goal. In this way, the cat is directly reacting to movements and actions initiated by the human companion. This lends itself to a greater level of human-animal interaction. This really is a “video game” designed for both humans and companion animals (in this case felines). This is unlike the earlier games released last year, which were designed largely for cat-solo play.
It appears that Friskies is trying to make their way into the internet cat video business. According to Julie Voss Catron, a brand representative showcasing the product at SXSW Interactive, the logic is quite simple. “There are more cat videos than just about anything out there on YouTube,” Voss Catron said, “And we know there are quite a few cat lovers here at SXSW Interactive, so it made a lot of sense.”
And later she proclaims,
This is just another step in Friskies fueling the fire for Friskies being the leader in cat gaming. It’s something that has caught fire since we launched our first game last year called Cat Fishing for tablets and iPhone. There was such a good response from it that we decided there was such an opportunity for us to expand and grow in this area.
Human-animal sociality is currently a fledgling topic of study (at least in sociology, where the American Sociological Association recently created the “Animals and Society” section). But with the proliferation of Web 2.0, the preponderance of cat videos in social media, and the rise of “catvertising” as a new form of niche marketing, we may see this topic expand greatly as our pets and other nonhuman companions become increasingly central to our self-concepts and identities as consumers.
You can download the new game “You vs Cat” yourself from the iTunes store now.