BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

Simulation And Role-Playing Apps Are Taking Over Social Media

You've probably seen BitLife and Zepeto all over your feeds. Here's why people are obsessed with them.

Posted on November 28, 2018, at 11:38 a.m. ET

Over the past few weeks, Twitter has become flooded by screenshots and tweets about two apps — Zepeto and BitLife.

Okay but #ZEPETO and #bitlife has taken over me

zepeto is the art hoe version of bitlife you heard it here first

Both apps have landed in the top 10 on the entertainment and game verticals of the App Store.

Zepeto, created by the people behind popular South Korean photo app Snow, lets people build avatars by scanning their faces. They can interact with others in chatrooms and games within the app.

Zepeto is taking over my life. #ZEPETO

Think of it as a combination of Bitmoji, Habbo Hotel, and Second Life. You can follow friends, meet new people, and do creative things like take photos together and customize your avatar. There's also an in-app currency that can be bought with real money or through exploration and "daily quests."

One of the games in the app, which is similar to Flappy Bird, is very popular.

But the app's popularity is mainly due to its heavy visual elements. "I got Zepeto because I saw all my friends memeing with it on social media. Decided, 'Hey, why not just see what that app is,'" says @moonlytn, a user who, like so many others, changed their Twitter profile pic to their Zepeto avatar.

BitLife, in contrast, allows you to live another life. The game assigns you a fictional life, and you have to make decisions and choices to keep your fake person happy — and alive.

I've just been conceived by my parents testing a bed at IKEA. My parents were freaks freaks 😭 #BitLife

This is more like a really extreme version of the Sims. You're given a baby born somewhere in the world, and as they get older — if you don't accidentally kill them in childhood — they'll get more options on what they can do. Make good choices and they'll live a long life. Make bad choices and things go terribly wrong.

The game is only on iOS but plans to become available for Android soon.

For the most part, BitLife has developed a calm, if somewhat obsessive, fanbase.

(my character dies again on bitlife) Me:

BitLife: “Do you want to smuggle a suspicious package to another country?” Me: ................ yes . BitLife: “Busted. 10 years in prison.” Me: https://t.co/mmo25txKqq

Me on BitLife when I marry a man that’s 100% rich and he dies the next time I age

And it's become competitive to try and outlive one another.

I’d like to see someone beat me #bitlife

I’m 16. What are my chances I’ll outlive a 123 yr sentence 😅 #bitlife @BitLifeApp

The game's recent offer for players to add their names to the game creates an even more immersive element.

📛 BITIZENS! Do you want your first name (or last name) to be added to the game's name bank in the next update? Simply reply with the name you want and the correct country for it. If we "like" your tweet it means we added it!

BuzzFeed News has reached out to BitLife for comment.

Zepeto became hugely popular in what seemed like a period of days, and its rollout has mostly been smooth. But the community was rocked when a rumor spread that the app was tracking user movement.

attention!!! if you have zepeto, delete it!!! it has been considered a tracking app so pls be safe if you have it!! i suggest you delete it!! https://t.co/GLObGHMoGr

As Motherboard pointed out, the app does not request this kind of access, so this is very unlikely. BuzzFeed News has reached out to Zepeto's parent company, Snow, for further comment.

But the app was so popular, and the rumor so widespread, that the reaction became a meme.

these rumors about zepeto tracking locations reminds me of that night in 2014 when everyone started saying that that tom and angela talking cat game watched u through the app

Us after posting that zepeto is tracking us then later finding out it actually wasn't and nothing is wrong:

me changing my zepeto's outfit after reading bout all the tracking rumors

Despite the quasi-controversy, Zepeto is enjoying a wave of popularity and memes, especially from K-pop fans.

THIS IS THE CUTEST ZEPETO I’VE EVER SEEN ALL MY UWUS JUST JUMPED OUT

DELETE ZEPETO!!! i zoomed into the eye and saw this weird man watching me!

The apps have a huge number of users. Zepeto alone has millions of users at any given time. These second-life simulations are likely here to stay.

bitlife and zepeto are to 2018 what animal crossing pocket camp was to 2017

ADVERTISEMENT