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Neopets announces change of management and a relaunch of the main site

Plus, a mobile app and more plot

Characters from the Neopets online game franchise. Image: Neopets
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Neopets is an independent company for the first time in 18 years, and the developer is promising a “return to the glory days.” The Neopets Team posted an announcement on the developer’s Medium site that delves into the recent change to leadership and the future of the world of Neopets. The announcement also shares that the developer is pulling back on the metaverse in favor of a mobile app and a revitalization of the site.

“We are on the precipice of a new era,” the post reads, in part. “With the 25th anniversary of Neopets approaching next year, we have snowager-sized plans up our sleeves to celebrate. A relaunch of Island Builders, an exclusive virtual concert, and a brand new plot (yes, you read that correctly) are just a few of the exciting plans we have for the near future!”

Neopets was at its heights in the early 2000s, serving as a hub that contained Flash mini-games, egg-related currencies, and cute pets to collect. All of these activities were self-contained, but with a bit of digging, fans could uncover an over-arcing plot about faeries, wizards, and the emergence of mysterious obelisks.

Despite a decline in its userbase, Neopets has continued to cling to relevance, although not always in positive ways. A neopets “black market” flourished, with users sharing scripts with quality-of-life changes. “Unconverted pets,” collectibles that hadn’t been upgraded to a new art style, became incredibly rare, creating an illicit pet trading market based off exploiting other users’ accounts.

The ravages of time have also affected Neopets; the site’s Flash games no longer work and there are several security and UI issues that plague users. The Neopets Team says that the new website, set to launch on July 20, will use the Ruffle emulator to re-create the old games. In addition, a new mobile game called World of Neopets is in the works. World of Neopets is a social life-simulation game, and there are no crypto or NFT aspects to the game.

Neopets was purchased in 2005 by Viacom, and later sold to JumpStart. JumpStart would later be acquired by NetDragon, who would ultimately shut the company down. A management buyout deal allowed the Neopets Team to take control of the IP. When the new site goes live on July 20, it will reportedly include a roadmap that will reveal more details on the planned story and in-game events of Neopets.

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