Neopets has been going for over 15 years now. You might’ve encountered it growing up, but when was the last time you thought about it?
In case you’ve never played it, Neopets offered a benign and heavily moderated world for children to vanish into in after-school hours. Trust us when we say that it was a warpy world, an alternate universe of its own which was practically a black hole for all (real life) logic and time because it all vanishes each time you get on/in it.
Yes, we’re guilty as charged.
But beyond this it also offered the thrill of early experiments in capitalism: to play Neopets was to see your time as money, and every activity was woven into the Neopian economy. On top of that, the adorable imaginary creatures which were heaps better than real pets – didn’t have to clean up after them, could ethically make them battle each other, some of them were like half-dragons or something.
Needless to say, Neopets captivated 92 million users at the site’s peak – but now its regular user base is only at several thousands.
According to Motherboard, the site is trying to remedy that dramatic drop in users.
After being bought in 2005 by Viacom and then again last year by a company called Knowledge Adventure, it needs some serious TLC. Users reported that it’s virtually broken on mobile, and the decision in recent years to enable users to pay real-world money for Neopets items ultimately divided the fandom.
David Lord, the CEO of JumpStart – a subsidiary of Knowledge Adventure which now owns Neopets – spoke to the future of the site:
After the acquisition of Neopets by Jumpstart, we took some time to analyse and decide the best course of action for modernizing the technology behind the site… Once we made the decision to upgrade the technology, the effort was a bit bumpy at times.
JumpStart acquired Neopets from Viacom in April 2014. Server migration began in September 2014 and JumpStart-owned Neopets was immediately characterised by glitches and site lag. On 6th March 2015, much of the Neopets Team remaining from Viacom were laid off for as-yet unknown reasons.
A Facebook version? Oh my gosh!
What do you think? Would you ever go back to Neopets?