Video Games

Neopets’ Promised ‘New Era’ After Crypto-Driven Decline Is More Complicated Than It Seems

After years of turmoil, Neopets announced on July 17th that it is under new management with plans to revitalize the brand, making a detailed statement for the first time in years that leaves fans hopeful about the future of the 23-year-old game.

This announcement post to media — Promise extensive changes to the popular web-based digital pet game. Some of the changes are at the management level, with a new CEO heading World of Neopia. World of Neopia has just become an independent studio after purchasing itself from its previous owner. Others include Neopets’ involvement in NFTs and Web3, ongoing bug issues, and responding to fan criticism about the game’s predicament. There are also all-new creations, like his upcoming mobile release, World of Neopets, a mobile game touted as the future of Neopets.

But as exciting as this sounds for Neopian, fans are concerned this may not be the resurrection they were hoping for.

Decline of Neopets

Since 1999, the popular browser-based game Neopets has Temporarily revived during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after launching Neopets Meta, a new Neopets game designed on the blockchain in 2021, it quickly lost face among new and old players alike. In the Neopets meta, players can earn Neopets themselves and unique in-game “Neo Collectibles” like “Pizza Lou’s Unique Pizza” to sell or trade on marketplaces including Magiceden and Solanart, which are used to sell NFTs and other similar digital collectibles. To make matters worse, Neopets’ branding and gameplay are very clearly marketed for children, making their promotion of NFTs and cryptocurrencies particularly predatory and alarming.

Like other blockchain-related pivots and initiatives, Neopets Meta drew widespread fan backlash when it was announced. But until earlier this month, Neopets Meta showed no signs of stopping in response to that feedback.Earlier this year, Neopet also won $4 million in funding We will drive that effort forward with participation from prominent players in the Web3 space.

Meanwhile, other aspects of the basic Neopets game show widespread devastation. On Neoboards, his online messaging forum linked to Neopets’ main website, something serious is going on. Content moderation issues. Problems caused by cheating and bot his accounts are widespread in the game’s economy, and items such as bread can cost users months of savings.

Also, a lot of changes have been made to the structure of the game and browser-based games in general over the last few years, so many pages and games no longer work. The company has been in the red for more than a decade, according to a statement posted in a Medium post. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder Neopets felt the time was ripe for a radical change.

Neopets splash art

A New Era of Neopets

Dominic Law, the company’s former Chief Metaverse Officer, will appear. Following the collapse of parent company Jumpstart, Law negotiated a takeover deal with management in late June, officially bringing Neopets under the umbrella of an independent developer. Newly freed Neopets and his team have released their first official statement as an independent studio. Dubbed “New Era of Neopets,” the announcement promised sweeping changes to the game that addressed many players’ concerns.

First and foremost, the controversial Neopets Meta is shutting down. Based on this statement, the Neopets team considered player feedback and engagement before making a decision. It’s also worth noting that this follows a trend of other prominent players in the gaming industry pulling back from blockchain-related venture efforts.

Since this announcement, visitors to the Neopets Meta website have seen a statement announcing the end of the blockchain-based game. However, the Neopets team also pledged to “continue to support the Web3 community as they embrace ownership of these collections,” stating that existing “digital collections” collections will continue to be available on the open marketplace, so those interested can continue to buy, sell, and trade Neopets collections.

Hoping to avoid future conflicts between players and developers, the Neopets team has also announced that it will put even more emphasis on community engagement and engagement with the onboarding of brand ambassadors. John Legend etc.hosts regular AMAs.

But perhaps the biggest announcement of the statement was that World of Neopia Inc. is moving to a mobile app called World of Neopets. Rebuilt from the ground up, World of Neopets is a social life sim game that incorporates elements of Neopets’ past, with lots of new content planned for the future, including new stories. Fans of the original browser game can rest assured that is still playable and accessible.

The Medium post made no mention of new Neopets content, updates, or a newly announced mobile game timeline or roadmap. Instead, they made additional promises. Later that same week, his roadmap for content would go live, along with a new centralized landing page that brought together all of Neopets.

lost map

As promised, the new landing page is now live. But despite its sleek look, the site doesn’t seem to be as complete a hub for all things Neopets as originally promised. For example, the “News and Updates” page of this site has a link to the Neopets Podcast with a handful of guides and tips for Neopets players, as well as a few other blog-style posts. Most notably, the content roadmap that was supposed to go live on the site on July 20th is nowhere to be found in this section or anywhere else on the new website, four days after he promised.of The old Neopets website still has the roadmapBut the date is November 2022. And the “New Era of Neopets” post on the new website has the sentence “If you want to know more about all the plans, check out the newly updated roadmap”, but it doesn’t link to anything.

As another example of the imperfect nature of the new website, one link in the News and Updates section titled “It’s Your Choice” appears to be a disclaimer regarding the collection of user data. But it doesn’t provide any information about how the user will behave. can The “choice” claimed in the header exists to opt out of such data collection practices, and the text lacks context or introduction. The page has a vaguely threatening (albeit comical) vibe thanks to a combination of sparse on-page headlines and thumbnails.

A news post on the Neopets website reads: "it's your choice."
A news post on the Neopets website reads, “It’s your choice.”

Links to the original Neopets and the web pages of the three mobile games under the brand (Faerie’s Hope, Island Builders, and World of Neopets) are all present and prominently displayed on the new website. However, World of Neopets, which is being discussed as a pivotal part of the rebranding, doesn’t have a full website, instead welcoming players with a statement about the game’s development. The statement concludes by encouraging players to check out the brand new landing page for news and updates.

The future of Neopia

For fans looking forward to new Neopet content that doesn’t include, at face value, controversial metaverse-oriented efforts like cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and Web3, the closure of Neopets Meta may sound promising. A Medium post features NeoPez’s new CEO Dominic Lowe as a lifelong NeoPez fan excited to reunite with his childhood favorite.

That may still be the case, but the Medium post doesn’t mention the history of Law and the brand. From 2021, he served as the company’s Chief Metaverse Officer until his June 30, 2023 acquisition of The Neopets Team (led by Law). In addition to his previous positions within the company, Law’s also made comments expressing his interest and excitement for his Web3 on has fans It’s natural to worry about the future of gaming.

Image Source: Reddit
Image Source: Reddit

If you dig deeper into the big Neopets update, you’ll see more links to the Web3 and Metaverse initiatives. Remember when Neopets received $4 million in funding from an “industry leader in the gaming and blockchain space” earlier this year? The Medium post cited the same $4 million as part of the reason the Neopets team was able to acquire itself following the June 30th closure of parent company Jumpstart.

Investors Polygon Ventures, Blizzard Avalanche Ecosystem Fund, Hashkey Capital, IDG Capital, and NetDragon Websoft are all blockchain-focused organizations. Polygon Ventures is also involved in the Neopets Metaverse marketplace and currently requires a Polygon account to redeem Neocollectible. Polygon Ventures has also invested in other blockchain-based play-to-earn services such as Sandbox, which has worked with the likes of Ubisoft and Atari.

The Medium post and various statements released by the newly independent developer state that current plans across the Neopets brand do not include cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but do not mention Web3 or blockchain, potentially leaving the door open for non-NFT and non-crypto-specific ventures in blockchain.

Since the announcement, many players have flooded message boards, social media sites, and forums to express their excitement and anticipation for the platform. Many are certainly cautious about this new leadership change. Pointed out by Reddit user u/artisanal_doughnut This could prove to be a last-ditch effort for the Neopets team if the plan doesn’t succeed.

Image Source: Reddit
Image Source: Reddit

IGN reached out to World of Neopia Inc. for comment on the missing roadmap and the brand’s future involvement in the Web3 venture, but did not receive a response at the time of writing.

After all, most Neopians share the same sentiments. They want to enjoy the game as before, without circumventing unmoderated forums, inflated in-game prices, dysfunctional mini-games, and questionable monetization practices. Between the lack of a roadmap for a “new era” of gaming and the possibility of Web3 returning to his Neoopia, the future of gaming may not be as bright as players think.

Charlie Wacholz is a freelance writer at IGN.

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