A few weeks ago, the Neopets team announced they were ending their plans to build a Metaverse game. The news was a welcomed surprise by most Neopets fans, as many weren’t thrilled by the idea of an NFT-based Neopia. Still, the question remains, “What about those who invested in the Neopets NFTs?” I wanted to take a closer look at this situation to learn what happened and how (or if) those left holding the Neopets NFTs would be compensated.
In 2014, Viacom and Nickelodeon sold Neopets to JumpStart Games. JumpStart was primarily known for educational games like “JumpStart Kindergarten” and “Math Blaster.” However, the company had trouble supporting its Neopets community over the years, and on June 30th, 2023, JumpStart shut down entirely.
Dominic Law, who was previously in charge of the Neopets Metaverse game, struck a deal with JumpStart’s parent company, NetDragon, allowing the Neopets team to become an independent company. According to their announcement, “In early 2023, Neopets raised $4M in funding from various investors with plans to nurture a shared dream of an immersive, community-driven gaming experience. In tandem with additional funding from the management buyout, TNT has been primed to enact real, actionable change for Neopets.”
It’s important to note that a healthy chunk of the money the team raised was from Web3 investors like Polygon Ventures, Blizzard Avalanche Ecosystem Fund, and Hashkey Capital.
Was this a rug pull?
I want to get one thing out of the way here: I’ve always loved Neopets. I was excited when they announced their NFT project, and I got excited again after learning they went independent. But the more I learned, the more it stunk of a rug pull. Surely, the project that gave me a cute frog named “Nimmo” to feed, care for, and send off to ruthless battles wouldn’t steal money from people, right?
The Neopets team quickly reassured NFT holders after many complained on Twitter. On July 17, the company tweeted, “We have repurposed some of the best assets from the Neopets Metaverse game, but we have refocused the core game loop and overall direction. We will continue to support the Web3 community that has embraced ownership of these collections.”
We have repurposed some of the best assets from the Neopets Metaverse game, but we have refocused the core game loop and overall direction.
We will continue to support the Web3 community that has embraced ownership of these collections.
— Neopets Metaverse (@NeopetsMeta) July 17, 2023
But what does that mean? The people who purchased the NFTs expected to be able to use them in the Metaverse. If there’s no Metaverse, Neopets has effectively robbed these investors of their tokens’ primary use case.
The neopetsmeta.io website is now blanketed with a message stating that they will “transition away from the Neopets Metaverse game and redistribute those resources to the development of a game that we feel can better reflect our values and vision.” The message points to a Medium article that sheds more light on the situation.
They mention supporting their NFT holders with perks that they’ll announce soon. These perks may include “physical merch, NC items, NC, access to IRL events, and more.”
So, do these perks make up for the lack of a metaverse game? That’s for the NFT holders to decide.