Just a few months ago, Dominic Law, CEO of Neopets Meta, publicly promoted and talked about the concept of play-and-earn Web3 gaming forbes that the cute Neopets franchise had “all the right ingredients” for an NFT game. But now it’s been abruptly canceled — and it’s not entirely clear why.
Neopet’s Metaversea free-to-play title based on the 1999 virtual pet simulator web game was in alpha development and the team had already sold over 9,000 Solana NFTs across multiple collections – also raising millions from funders like Polygon Ventures and Avalanche’s Ecosystem Fund.
On Monday, the Neopets team — which refers to itself as the acronym TNT — published a blog post detailing the shutdown of Neopets Metaverse and its pivotal role for a non-crypto mobile game in development called World of Neopets explained.
“TNT took a close look at every corner of Neopets and as a result made the decision to deviate from the Neopets Metaverse game and reallocate those resources to developing a game that we feel could better reflect our game.” Values and Vision” , the company said.
“This decision was not taken lightly,” TNT added, “but it was made for the best reason: we want to make a game that better fits what the community wants!”
According to the post, Neopets is now also under “an entirely new leadership team.” Does that mean Law, his Hong Kong-based Web3 advocate who previously worked at various financial firms, is out?
In fact, it seems he’s staying with the company. laws LinkedIn profile still features him at Neopets, and his title has moved from Chief Metaverse Officer to CEO this month. However, it’s unclear if it was his decision to turn Neopets away from NFTs.
The law has not yet acted on it decryptPlease comment.
However, Neopets has secured a “management buyout,” meaning the company becomes independent for the first time in 18 years. Neopets was bought by Viacom in 2005, which later sold it to Jumpstart, which was then acquired by Japanese games company NetDragon – which Jumpstart then shut down last month.
“Freed from the corporate burden that existed in the past, the newly combined TNT has now been entrusted with decision-making and overall Neopets branding strategy,” reads the blog post.
The new Neopets company is called World of Neopia, Inc. and promises its fans monthly updates, AMAs and a brand ambassador program. TNT plans to launch a new homepage for Neopets on July 20th and use an emulator to update its old Flash games and make them playable again.
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In response to the news, several Twitter users called the now-cancelled NFT game “a rug” or “a rug.” rug pull—refers to a type of scam in which developers sell NFTs with promises of future benefits, only to then abandon the project before the promises are fulfilled, without refunding the buyers.
Neopets assured a Twitter user that it “will continue to support the Web3 community”. The company also reiterated this opinion in its blog post, noting that it will continue to run a Discord server for NFT holders.
While TNT said it reused “some of the best assets” from the canceled game, it’s unclear if NFT owners will be able to request refunds or see any benefits in the new mobile game, which uses no crypto at all. A representative from Neopets told decrypt that it plans to offer “perks” to NFT owners, including the “NC” digital in-game currency and digital items on the platform.
“We are so grateful for the community support that has sprung up around the Neopets digital collector lines, and as a token of our appreciation, we’ll be announcing more details on future perks soon,” the rep said. “This may include physical merchandise, NC items, NC, access to IRL events and more.”
When asked if Neopets strayed from NFTs due to community backlash, a company representative said decrypt“Listening to the voices of the community is paramount to the success of our brand. It’s important for our team to listen to the needs and wants of our fans – that’s what’s best for Neopets overall.”
The Neopets crypto push
Neopets has a long history of researching NFT integrations. The company briefly experimented with Ethereum NFTs back in 2018. But Neopets fansite JellyNeo It is estimated that only 1,800 NFTs were sold, resulting in a meager proceeds of around $14,500 at the time.
After declaring that it had been running Neopets at a loss for over a decade, TNT hiked up the stock 4 million dollars funded in January by a number of venture capital firms, including well-known crypto-centric firms. The list included Polygon Ventures, Avalanche’s Blizzard Ecosystem Fund, HashKey Capital, IDG Capital and NetDragon.
A representative from Neopets told decrypt that its supporters remain “extremely supportive” of the company despite the current move away from NFTs.
“Our investors believe in the team’s ability to build a brighter future for Neopets,” the representative said. “They are extremely supportive of our vision for the IP and what we have in the pipeline.”
In the January funding announcement, Xiao Xiao, HashKey’s investment director, said that Neopets has “great potential in terms of NFT and P2E.” [play-to-earn] Features” and that “Founders like Dominic [Law]”could “always execute and deliver”.
But Law himself told it forbes Just a few months later, he explained that he believes play-to-earn games are akin to pyramid schemes – and that he prefers a “Web3 gaming” model that prevents speculators from manipulating markets by getting into primarily focused on entertaining gameplay.
Representatives from Ava Labs, IDG, and HashKey did not immediately respond decryptPlease comment. Polygon Ventures declined to comment.
In January, Law said the NFT game will “capture the spirit of the Neopets community.” But now the Neopets team is singing a different tune – this moving one away of NFTs is ultimately best for its community.
In light of the announcement comment on the response to community demands: The Neopets Metaverse game may have been canceled in part due to fan backlash.
A disgruntled Neopets fan who started the #NoNeoNFTs campaign previously told the gaming publication polygon in 2021, he believed NFT games were “substandard and fraudulent”. The fan also accused the NFT community as a whole of being “homophobic” and “racist” as reasons for not wanting the Neopets brand to be associated with digital assets.
Other publications have also criticized Neopets for its decision to release NFTs. The edge Neopets called NFTs “fracking your childhood memories.” kotaku argued that the Neopets NFTs “look like junk”. And game rant claimed that Neopets is taking a “harmful path” in releasing NFTs.
While neopets he apologized As far back as 2021, due to the “massive change” that the development of the Neopets Metaverse game brought about, the company has continued to develop and support its NFT plans — until now, that is.