To play "Webkinz," players must purchase a real-life plush Webkinz toy and register it on the website. Once the player registers the toy as her pet, she can interact with her pet on the site by playing games, entering contests and shopping for items to use on the pet.
By registering, the user gets access to the Webkinz website as a premium account for one year. Premium members can participate in website events, interact with their pets and buy items from the virtual Webkinz shops. Members can also purchase real-life accessories and other Webkinz items and register them on the website for premium-only benefits. For instance, a player can purchase lip balm in real life and register it to receive a free salon-themed item in-game.
Players can collect exclusive items or use them to care for pets. For instance, pets require tooth brushing, bathing and regular feeding. Players can build a swimming pool and take their pets swimming to restore health.
Webkinz plush toys and other in-store items are only available in the United States and Canada. International users who want to play Webkinz can pay a fee for a virtual version of the toy, which grants the user a premium membership.