Neopets Meta, the web3 spin-off of the classic early noughties virtual pets online game, will launch the alpha version of its metaverse on Friday.
Those holding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from the Neopets Metaverse, Pizzaroo's Unique Pizza and Masterpiece NFT collections will be able to sign up and access the platform. Throughout September the team will release features allowing interactions with Neopets, decorating Neohomes and battling other players.
Several classic mini-games from the original platform are also getting the web3 treatment, including Turmac Roll, Meera Chase and Ultimate Bullseye.
Originally launched in 1999, 150 million users have played Neopets over its more than two decades in existence. Outliving competitors such as Club Penguin, it has retained a loyal following but struggled to return to the levels of popularity it experienced at its peak. That's despite a surge in interest prompted by "nineties kid nostalgia."
It also has had to contend with the retirement of Adobe Flash last year, which rendered most of its games unplayable, as well as a major hack last month.
The pivot to web3 has attracted its share of criticism since the company announced the move last year. Although the Neopets Meta team said it operates independently of the OG team and that it's not intended to replace the original platform, long-time fans remain sceptical of the project and, particularly, its use of NFTs.
The largest community forum for Neopets, Jellyneo, quickly came out against the project upon launch with a #noneonfts campaign on social media, although much of its campaigning appears to have died down. Nevertheless Neopets Meta is hoping to get more community input, including through creating a DAO following the public game launch, which is expected in Q1 2023.
“Similar to all major technological advancement in the past, it normally takes a few years for the mass adoption to take place. At this stage, we understand that NFTs are not for everyone, but there’s hope that Neopets Metaverse can be a propelling force to help the public to cross the chasm,” chief metaverse officer Dominic Law told The Block via email.
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