Dominic Law, CEO of World of Neopia, recently announced details regarding the discontinuation of the much-anticipated Neopets Metaverse. The NFT-powered game, which was under development for approximately two years, has now been abandoned due to shifts in market sentiment and community backlash against the incorporation of cryptocurrency.
Working on a tight budget
As previously reported, Neopets Metaverse was to be a next-generation iteration of the wildly popular 1999 pet simulator game, Neopets. After the NFT game’s abrupt cancellation, the team is now redirecting their efforts towards a new mobile game, ‘World of Neopets’, devoid of any crypto components.
World of Neopia, the freshly independent studio behind Neopets, has raised $4 million this year despite claimed “scarce resources.” It recently split from its parent company NetDragon in a buyout deal, marking Neopets’ first independent venture in nearly 18 years.
NFTs didn’t sit well with the community
In an interview for Decrypt, Dominic Law attributed the NFT game’s cancellation to the negative community sentiment toward crypto and unfavorable market conditions. “At this stage, they probably care less about what Web3 is about,” Law stated, referring to the Neopets fan base. He highlighted the prevalent skepticism towards the broader technology, associating Web3 with cryptocurrencies, play-to-earn schemes, and rampant scams.
Law’s primary objective as CEO is to grow the community so it may one day resemble what it once was. Unfortunately, the initial introduction of Neopets NFTs, aimed at attracting younger players, ended up alienating existing ones instead.
The adverse reaction to NFTs was so pronounced that last year PC Gamer reported that the Neopets NFT news was “swiftly protested into oblivion thanks to loyal fans of the site.”
Law expressed understanding of the community’s stance against Web3 gaming, adding that higher-quality NFT games could potentially help dispel the current stigma. However, he acknowledged the scarcity of such games in the present market.
Neopets NFTs? Maybe in the future
Despite securing $4 million from pro-crypto investors like Polygon Ventures and Avalanche’s ecosystem fund, Law emphasized that the company was not obliged to pursue crypto integrations. The resources, he claimed, were limited and would be better spent on addressing fundamental site issues, such as bug fixes and post-Adobe Flash updates for over 50 classic Neopets minigames.
With Adobe officially ending support for Flash at the end of 2020, these updates are critical for the continuity of the site. Law pointed out the importance of maintaining a stable foundation before implementing any new technologies or gaming experiences.
Law hinted that blockchain tech could still have a place in Neopets’ future. While he dismissed the “play-to-earn” philosophy, he acknowledged the potential for crypto to facilitate player ownership and novel gaming experiences:
“We still believe that there are certain parts of Web3 technologies that could bring a new game experience to our users,”