The Neopets community is rallying in protest of the Neopets Metaverse, an NFT project that inserts a cryptocurrency scheme into the beloved pet creation website. Neopets’ small but dedicated playerbase is nearly united in its message: Get your NFTs out of my childhood nostalgia.
Neopets owner JumpStart announced the Neopets Metaverse NFT project in September to some confusion. The Neopets Metaverse Twitter account launched, seemingly, without the core Neopets team knowing about it: A Neopets representative told a fan via Twitter DM that the project wasn’t real. A day later, the Neopets team published a Q&A on the site’s Neoboards to clarify that it is a legitimate, official collaboration.
Neopets players took to internal message boards, social media, and unofficial Facebook groups to denounce the initiative. One Neopets player told Polygon that the community has never been more united in something. “It would be lovely to see if it weren’t so awful to see,” the player said via Twitter DM.
Neopets fan websites, too, are taking a stance against the Neopets NFTs.
“From the moment of launch, Neopians took to the Neoboards and social media to denounce the project, citing complaints about NFTs in general and details specific to the Neopets Metaverse project,” Jellyneo.net posted on a redirect page on its website. “The Neopets community overwhelmingly rejects the Neopets Metaverse NFT project, and we at Jellyneo are standing in solidarity with this protest.”
The Jellyneo page lays out the community’s argument against NFTs in Neopia. For the unaware, NFT stands for non-fungible token, and it’s basically like a digital, one-of-a-kind trading card. NFTs are part of the cryptocurrency blockchain, and there’s a monetary value associated with them so they can be bought, sold, and traded. They’re often derided for being overpriced and bad for the environment. Neopets players aren’t interested in NFTs for those reasons and others; on Jellyneo.net, the staff laid out a detailed list. One of the main arguments, of course, is that a large portion of the Neopets site remains broken following the death of Adobe Flash — players would much rather see the site in working condition.
Community members have also accused the Neopets Metaverse of stealing fan-made art for its examples of the randomly-generated NFTs, according to the Jellyneo page.
No one from the Neopets community asked for them.
Ask any Neopian about their desires and ideas for how to grow and evolve the Neopets brand, and most likely, no one will mention NFTs.
No new major features or events have arrived in Neopia for years. Key Quest is still inactive. Lutari Island is still inaccessible. No new plots in nearly 3 years, and yearly recurring events are either postponed indefinitely or outright retired.
Two Neopets mobile apps have come and gone, with a third stuck in a 17 month (and counting) beta test.
The end of Adobe Flash was announced in June 2017 and finally retired in January 2021. Key features of the original Neopets game that were built with Flash remain dead, including navigational world maps, thousands of wearable clothing assets, and hundreds of mini-games.
Neopets.com has been in a site layout design beta test since April 2020, and there is no end in sight.
Of all the things that a Neopets player needs, an NFT project is not one of them.
You don’t own your NFT Neopet — despite the Metaverse claiming it’s yours.
You don’t actually own the artwork being offered as an NFT. Neopets retains their copyright and will always have a claim to it.
Instead, you own a digital, verifiable slip of paper that points to a PNG image that Neopets owns.
Neopets players also pointed to a failed cryptocurrency project, Neopets CryptoQuest, that was introduced in 2018. These were, essentially, limited edition digital trading cards that were sold in packs priced up to $65.99; that project died in less than a year, and purchased trading cards are no longer accessible at all.
Plenty of Neopets players said they’ve quit the game in protest. #NoNeoNFT organizers are encouraging players who continue to use the site to cancel paid subscriptions and no longer use Neocash, Neopets’ real-money currency. The #NoNeoNFTs hashtag is also spreading across other Neopets community pages and on social media, including the Neopets subreddit. And players on Neopets message boards are using that space to speak out against NFTs, including an initiative to flood Neopets’ Beauty Contest, which publishes player artwork on the site, with anti-NFT protest images.
“We started the #NoNeoNFTs campaign at Jellyneo to spread word of the perils that the Neopets Metaverse project has faced since its announcement: the abhorrent homophobic and racist behavior from the NFT community and the unprofessional behavior from the team running the project; the threat to the Neopets site and brand; and the low quality and scammy aspects of this project in particular and other NFT projects in general,” Jellyneo webmaster Dave told Polygon via email. “Jellyneo will continue to push Neopets and JumpStart to cancel the roadmap plan announced last week, and we will continue to call out any unprofessional behavior from the Neopets Metaverse team.”
The Neopets team has made multiple statements in response to this backlash. The most recent, published Monday, apologized to the Neopets community for “communication or content that many considered to be disrespectful at best.” The Neopets team reiterated that the core site team is entirely separate from the Neopets Metaverse NFT project: It’s noted that the team is still working on the site’s much-needed updates.
The Neopets team also said it will no longer forbid players from posting “NFT-related entries” into the artwork contest.
Responding to a request for comment, Neopets brand manager Stephanie Lord told Polygon that the team takes requests and feedback “very seriously.”
We understand that our venture into NFT’s may not be for all of our players, but want to reassure you all again that their development is happening independent of the support we provide to the Neopets site. At JumpStart, we are always looking for new opportunities to drive our brands and products forward into the future and are constantly seeking new ways for players and fans to engage with us and we see NFT’s as a potential opportunity for this. We appreciate all of our players and value the time they’ve taken to share their thoughts with us.