Virtual pet website plans $4m comeback
The virtual pet website Neopets is planning a comeback.
Users could play games, chat, and care for cartoon pets on the site, which was launched in 1999 by British developers.
It failed to keep up with the times after Viacom purchased it for $160 million (£122 million) in 2005.
On 25 July, Neopets promises a “new era” with $4m to revamp the site and bring back 50 classic games.
In the mid-2000s, Neopets had 25 million users, rivaling the popularity of Tamagotchis and other virtual pets.
According to David Lord, then chief executive, those numbers had fallen to 100,000 daily users by 2017.
Neopets was a kind of social media in its day, encouraging community conversations long before Facebook and Twitter existed – but much of the website relied on Adobe Flash.
The majority of modern browsers do not support Flash at all. Apple has never supported this technology on its iPhones or iPads.
Will people return to their neglected pets with the promise of new funding and functionality?
Apprehensively excited, Krista runs the YouTube channel Neopian Lore.
She says she has received announcements in the past but they never followed through.
In fact, I’m most excited about the conversion of games. That’s something the community has been asking for for a while now.
It’s what keeps you coming back – you can play a game for two minutes and then carry on with your life.
In the wake of a management buyout, Neopets said it was now an independent company without a large corporate owner.
With the newly unified [Neopets Team] free from corporate baggage, they now have the responsibility for Neopets’ decision-making and overall branding strategy, allowing them to focus exclusively on improving the entire Neopets community and game,” it wrote in a blog post.
“The Neopets Team is capable of making meaningful changes in pursuit of a Neopian renaissance for the first time in over a decade.”