Neopets, a popular virtual pet game, has announced the cancellation of its NFT game plans and abandoned efforts in the metaverse.
A few months ago, Neopets Metaverse CEO Dominic Law said he supported the idea of “play-and-earn” Web3 gaming. In an interview with Forbes, Law said the Neopets franchise possessed “all the right ingredients” for an NFT game.
Neopets Metaverse, a Web3 game based on the classic 1999 simulator game, was in its early development stage. It sold over 9,000 Solana NFTs across different collections and received financial support from backers such as Polygon Ventures and Avalanche’s ecosystem fund.
However, upon reviewing the NFT and metaverse plans, the Neopets team recognized that the game did not align with Neopets’ mission.
“For the first time in over a decade, [the team is] equipped to make meaningful changes in pursuit of a Neopian renaissance,” Neopets said in a blog post.
Law now leads Neopets, engineering a management buyout deal that secured additional funding and essential resources for the brand. The brand’s new plan includes shifting its focus towards developing a non-crypto mobile game called World of Neopets, a simulation game in which players live the “ideal Neopian life from the perspective of a Neopet.”
World of Neopets will offer features such as home decoration, mini-games, a Neopet collection and iconic Neopian lands in 3D. The developers have assured that World of Neopets will not be a rebranded version of Neopets Metaverse.
They also shared plans to develop a solution for the Adobe Flash problem in response to the end of Adobe Flash in December 2020, which left many Flash-based games abandoned.
The team aims to address the issue by exploring Ruffle, a Flash player emulator, as it plans to speed up the restoration of functionality to their games.
A new website will also launch on July 20, serving as a “one-stop shop” for all Neopets-related updates, games, articles and more.
The Neopets team believes that this era for Neopets has become possible due to the separation from JumpStart Games, as the previous management struggled to find success for Neopets before shutting down on June 30 of this year.
When the Neopets developers announced collaborations with multiple blockchain companies to create over twenty thousand NFTs in 2021, the player community responded negatively.
Neopets released NFTs featuring adoptable pets called “digital memorabilia.” These NFTs included unique backgrounds, personalities, assets and clothing. However, this concept was similar to owning a decorated Neopet image, which users could already do by creating a free account on the website.
“The @Neopets community overwhelmingly rejects the new NFT cashgrab project. We’re hard pressed finding someone outside of the NFT community that wants this,” Neopets fansite Jellyneo said on Twitter.
Moreover, in 2018, Neopets made an earlier attempt at an NFT game called Neopets Cryptoquest. The game allowed players to buy virtual card packs that offered redeemable prizes. It was abandoned within a year.
Sega and Ubisoft are also among the gaming companies that have withdrawn from their NFT-related plans. Sega cited concerns about content devaluation, while Ubisoft backed down from its initial plan due to criticism and low interest.
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