An in-game currency, "Flow", is earned by talking, dancing, eating and drinking, and playing games. Flow can be exchanged for experience points and coins. ourWorld operates on a microtransaction business model which allows players to purchase in-game "gems". Coins and gems are used to buy items for their avatar such as clothing, accessories or furniture. As players earn experience, they level up. This earns them prizes such as dance moves, access to new areas, vehicles, and privileges.
Players can also talk to each other, request friendship, gift items, create groups, send and receive mail, participate in contests and give "hearts". In 2013, Popularity, marriage and adoption were among the new features added, allowing wedding-rings to be exchanged and a player to become a child of another. Residents are people who have purchased one of several levels of residency cards, or pay money for monthly gems and special places.
There are some "special" items in ourWorld. These may include vehicles, tattoos, mystery boxes, sprites, inventories, residency passes, potions, wings, and ears/horns. Vehicles include skates, hoverboards, cars, skateboards, and jet-packs and the recently added dragons. These can sometimes be earned by leveling up others can be earned any level by gems. Sprites are animals that follow players' avatars around. Inventories increase the number of items players can keep in their inventory and photo album. Residency passes allow players to gain residency without buying a residency card. Potions allow players to change their avatar's appearance in ways they cannot usually do (some kinds of food also do that). Mystery boxes (such as the Zodiac Mystery Box and the Bronco Mystery Box) contain random items that belong in a certain theme. Previously, players could only visibly reach level 100 (players would continue to level up after that but it would not show on their profiles), however in October 2012, the visible cap was lifted to 150, and now it is lifted to 200.
Joystiq questioned FlowPlay's business model, as many of the games in ourWorld are available on other casual gaming sites such as Newgrounds. Reviewer Stephen Greenwell of Gamezebo felt detached from the social aspect of ourWorld. He found conversation to be "dominated by netspeak and txtspeak" with all the depth "of a kiddie pool." However, the presentation was deemed to be "hip and edgy." with "Flash and Java used to create a gorgeous futuristic world." Overall, ourWorld was recommended for teens.
Development on ourWorld began in January 2007 with a public Beta launch in April 2008. Since then the product has received over 600,000 registrations. The company built the world with a team of 40 employees and contractors in Seattle, Shanghai, and India. In March 2007, Derrick Morton, the CEO of FlowPlay, raised about $500,000 in angel financing for the new company, with about one-quarter of that coming from the founders.
In June 2009, FlowPlay announced a partnership with PopCap Games resulting in the launch of a PopCap Arcade and Bejeweled Jewelry Store in its 1.7 million user ourWorld.com virtual world.
In February 10, 2009, FlowPlay announced that it had completed a long-term distribution agreement with Miniclip, LTD. FlowPlay’s ourWorld was integrated into the Miniclip.com website – the largest online game destination in the world.
In March 2010, Tagged.com, the third largest social networking site in the US, announced the integration of FlowPlay’s ourWorld.com. The partnership advances Tagged’s movement into online social gaming and expands their portfolio of innovative products for Tagged’s 80 million worldwide registered members.
ourWorld has generated strong support from its community of users, spawning thousands of player-run blogs with a strong concentration hosted on WordPress.com. The player blogs generally publish news and information on events in the game along with secrets and cheats for advancing faster within the game. Although blogs are a significant part of the site, their forums play a huge part in the blogging process. Users sometimes post updates on the forums before the actual blogs. Though now, the blog forums are becoming more social than ourWorld due to lack of chat filter.
- Brennan, Seraphina (2008-05-08). "OurWorld wants casual gamers to pay and play". Massively. AOL. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- Greenwell, Stephen (2009-12-31). "ourWorld Review". Gamezebo. Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- Morton, Derrick. "FlowPlay lands distribution agreement with MiniClip, the world's largest online destination". FlowPlay. Archived from the original on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Dean, Takashi. "FlowPlay launches ourWorld, virtual world for Kids". Venture Beat. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Cook, John. "FlowPlay: a Second Life for Casual Gamers". SeattlePI. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "FlowPlay to Integrate Popcap Games". Virtual Goods News. Archived from the original on October 7, 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "FlowPlay lands distribution agreement with miniClip". Archived from the original on 2013-08-20.
- "Tagged.com Partners with Social". Find Articles. Retrieved 10 June 2013.