A new start: Neopets abandons NFT game and severs ties with corporate ownership after 17 years

A new start: Neopets abandons NFT game and severs ties with corporate ownership after 17 years

Neopets, one of the beloved pet games from the golden era of the World Wide Web, has announced its transition to independence, backtracking its plans for an NFT collection as a result. This marks the first time since 2005 that the virtual pet platform operates free from corporate ownership.

Neopets struggles to keep up in the 2020s

Developers have been striving to maintain the Neopets platform for the past decade despite dwindling audiences and revenue. The once-popular online destination, acquired by Viacom in 2005 for $160 million, passed hands to JumpStart, a U.S. edutainment company, in 2014.

Later, Chinese game developer NetDragon took ownership. When NetDragon chose to shutter JumpStart last month, Neopets faced an uncertain future. But, in a fortuitous turn, a management buyout deal ensured its survival.

A new start: Neopets abandons NFT game and severs ties with corporate ownership after 17 years - 1

This lifesaving move came from the newly formed World of Neopia, spearheaded by Dominic Law, former NetDragon’s Neopets Metaverse NFT project executive. Through this buyout, Law merged the original Neopets team from JumpStart and the Neopets Metaverse team from NetDragon, giving birth to an independent entity with Law at its helm.

In a recent blog post, titled “A New Era for Neopets!”, the development team stated:

“Free from the corporate baggage that existed in the past, the newly united [Neopets team] has now been entrusted with the decision-making and overall brand strategy of Neopets, enabling them to work solely on the betterment of the entire Neopets game and community.”

Neopets Game rages one; Team cuts Metaverse and NFT plans

Despite earlier plans for a Neopets NFT game and the company receiving $4 million from crypto companies, World of Neopia has announced that they are “transitioning away from” the Neopets Metaverse NFT game. Instead, the company will channel its resources towards the development of a new mobile game, “World of Neopets”, a social life-simulation game free from NFTs and cryptocurrency.

“The Neopets Team has taken a close look at every nook and cranny of Neopets, and after doing so, the decision has been made to transition away from the Neopets Metaverse game and redistribute those resources to the development of a game that we feel can better reflect our values and vision.” – Neopets official website

Though existing Neopets Metaverse NFTs remain available in the open market, the company hasn’t clearly stated the extent of their support for these collections, beyond maintaining an active Discord server. They have yet to reveal any compensatory measures for NFT owners in relation to the upcoming “World of Neopets” game, which explicitly shuns a crypto model.

The World of Neopia team is also committed to revamping the original Neopets website, which has suffered from technical glitches since the discontinuation of Adobe Flash support. The team assures fans:

“Don’t worry, the Neopets.com that you know and love isn’t going anywhere; in fact, there are great things on the horizon for the classic virtual pet site that started it all.”

Bringing the “Neo” back to “Pets”

On July 20, a new Neopets homepage will be unveiled, featuring a comprehensive roadmap outlining the future plans for the nearly quarter-century-old virtual pet game. The company has also teased fans with news of an “exclusive virtual concert,” a “brand new plot,” and a giveaway in celebration of this “new era” of Neopets.

This marks an exciting chapter in Neopets’ journey as the beloved online destination embarks on an independent journey, free from the shackles of corporate oversight. Only time will tell whether the brand will have another try at NFTs further down the line.

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