Neopets, a virtual pet website, has aspirations. $4 million comeback

The site, which was launched in 1999 by British creators, allowed users to care for cartoon pets, talk, and play games.

However, after Viacom purchased it for $160 million (£122 million) in 2005, the site failed to keep up with the trends and many elements ceased operating.

Neopets is now promising a “new era” with $4 million in funding to redesign the site and bring back 50 classic games on July 25th.

Neopets had 25 million members at its peak in the mid-2000s, rivaling the popularity of Tamagotchis and other virtual pets.

According to then-CEO David Lord, that figure had dropped to 100,000 daily users by 2017.

Nervous excitement

In some ways, Neopets was an early type of social media, fostering community discourse long before Facebook and Twitter – although much of the website was built with Adobe Flash.

Flash is not supported by any modern browser. Furthermore, Apple has never supported the technology on its iPhones or iPads.

Will the prospect of increased financing and functioning, on the other hand, entice individuals to return to their abandoned pets?

Krista, a fan who runs the YouTube channel Neopian Lore, is cautiously optimistic.

“We’ve gotten announcements in the past, and they haven’t followed through,” she says.

“However, I’m most excited about game conversion.” That is something the community has been requesting for quite some time.

“It’s the thing that draws you back – you can go play a game for two minutes and then carry on with your life – it’s a nice feature to return.”

Neopets stated that a management buyout agreement had resulted in the website being an autonomous business without a huge corporate owner.

‘Relaxation food’

On Thursday, July 20, it expects to launch the “new era” with a revamped homepage.

After five days, it will restore 50 of the website’s iconic games, with plans to restore “many of the most beloved games” in the future.

Krista feels a comeback is possible.

“It’s not going to be a bunch of middle-schoolers anymore, though there will still be some younger kids,” she says.

“People desire nostalgia. People desire to go back in time and reminisce about the good old days. That’s why there are so many reboots in the globe – to bring back those nostalgic features that people crave.

 

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