Neopets abandons its NFT game despite sizable funding, opting for a non-crypto mobile game that better suits community preferences.
In an unexpected twist, Neopets, the cherished virtual pet game from the late 90s, has decided to withdraw from the world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). This decision comes despite the company’s success in securing a whopping $4 million in funding from major crypto firms. In the wake of this change, Neopets is now setting its sights on developing a game that aligns better with their core values and the aspirations of their community.
From NFTs to Mobile Gaming
Neopets Metaverse, the free-to-play NFT-based game, was in the early stages of development. It had gathered considerable traction, selling over 9,000 Solana NFTs across a variety of collections. This project had attracted investment from significant players in the crypto world, including Avalanche’s ecosystem fund and Polygon Ventures.
However, the Neopets development team, also known as TNT, made a shocking announcement through a recent blog post. They revealed their plan to discontinue Neopets Metaverse and divert their attention towards a non-crypto mobile game, World of Neopets.
The blog post shared that the change of direction came after an extensive evaluation of Neopets. TNT concluded that shifting away from the Neopets Metaverse and redirecting those resources to a new game would be a better reflection of their vision and meet the needs of their community more effectively. TNT reassured their followers that this significant decision was made with a noble intention: to design a game that better aligns with the community’s desires.
Leadership Changes and Future Directions
Amidst these changes, it seems Dominic Law, the CEO of Neopets and a strong advocate of Web3 based in Hong Kong, will remain in the company. His LinkedIn profile reveals a title change from “Chief Metaverse Officer” to CEO. Yet, the reasons behind the decision to move Neopets away from NFTs and whether Law was the driving force behind it remains undisclosed.
In an exciting turn of events, Neopets announced a “management buyout,” marking its independence for the first time in almost 20 years. Having passed through Viacom, Jumpstart, and then NetDragon, this development is a significant milestone. Free of its corporate past, TNT now holds the reins of decision-making and overall brand strategy of Neopets.
Now under the name World of Neopia, Inc., the company promises its fans consistent updates, interactive sessions, and a brand ambassador program. The team aims to launch a new homepage for Neopets on July 20, bringing old Flash games back to life using an emulator.
Addressing the Controversy and Backlash
The abrupt halt of the NFT game led to a whirlwind of reaction among Neopets’ community. Many members compared the situation to a “rugpull,” a scam where creators abandon a project after selling NFTs, leaving the buyers in the lurch. However, Neopets was quick to assure the community that they would continue to uphold their commitment to the Web3 community.
Neopets plans to maintain a Discord server for NFT owners and repurpose valuable assets from the canceled game. However, the question of whether NFT owners will receive refunds or any benefits from the new game remains unanswered. The company hints at offering “perks” to NFT owners, including in-game digital items and currency.
When asked about the abrupt shift away from NFTs, Neopets clarified that valuing the voice of the community was a key factor in their brand’s success. They reiterated that the change was ultimately in the best interest of Neopets.
Neopets and the NFT Journey
Neopets’ involvement in NFTs dates back to 2018 when it dabbled with Ethereum NFTs. However, this venture saw limited success with minimal sales, earning roughly $14,500. Despite running Neopets at a loss for over ten years, TNT managed to raise $4 million from a mix of venture capital firms in January, many of them having a strong focus on crypto.
Despite the recent pivot away from NFTs, Neopets emphasizes that its backers remain staunch supporters of the company. The team has confidence in their ability to build a brighter future for Neopets.
Dominic Law had previously pointed out the potential for NFT and Play-to-Earn features. He claimed that the planned NFT game would capture the spirit of the Neopets community. However, the narrative has since changed, with Neopets claiming that moving away from NFTs is the best course of action for their community.
The termination of the Neopets Metaverse may have been partially driven by backlash from fans who expressed concerns over NFT games. A fan-led campaign, #NoNeoNFTs, raised concerns over the association of Neopets with digital assets. Other media outlets criticized Neopets’ decision to venture into NFTs, leading to further pressure on the brand.
Looking ahead, Neopets now plans to focus on their mobile game, aiming to meet the expectations of their community and uphold the values they hold dear. The company continues to express gratitude for their community’s support and plans to reveal more about the upcoming perks for NFT owners soon.
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