The iconic site is bringing the nostalgic Neopets to the metaverse following a $4M raise from Web3 gaming giants including HashKey Capital, Ava Labs, Polygon Ventures and more.
Originally launched November '99, the site allows users to own virtual pets, decorate their digital dwellings, and join guilds of likeminded "Neopians". Now, they're creating a "metaverse" and making use of web3.
Gamers will be able to raise, customize, and do battle with their Neopets – all while generating revenue from their token-laden gaming experiences.
In the video below, you can see the trailer encourages would-be-users to "master the art of staking and yield farming". These are common ways to acquire passive income through cryptocurrency by locking up tokens.
But considering Neopets has long been marketed towards a younger audience, it's uncertain how the 150m+ fans will react to the hyper-financialization of a once-loved, now-nostalgic web game.
But whatever the backlash, the truth is that Neopets has long featured premium purchases, including 'microtransactions' since 2004. It now has an optional monthly membership fee, granting the holder some extra perks. At the very least, they've described it as 'free-to-play', hopefully allowing for a low barrier of entry.
The Neopets community has long since grown up, too, with areas of the forums targeted towards adults–so perhaps the move to web3 shouldn't be so surprising, then.
For Neopets, a "metaverse" seems a new way to monetize their users while offering them digital ownership and control. Dr. Xiao Feng, Investment Director of HashKey Capital, believes in the utmost importance of both NFTs and a 'Play-to-Earn' model in the metaverse story. Implementing these models into the Neopets IP will "allow gamers to truly own and control their assets", said Dr. Xiao.
The Neopets Metaverse will also adopt a more game-like feel overall, aiming at fast, low gas blockchain usage to power the economy of the 3D world:
"Ava Labs is investing Neopets to support their goal of building an eco-friendly, fast, and low gas metaverse experience and will be working closely with them to bring a top notch product to gamers"
–Ed Chang, Head of Gaming at Ava Labs
Supposedly, their push to create a "metaverse"–which in this case is just a marketing buzzword for a crypto-centric virtual platform–will create nostalgic web3 experiences through mini-games and the like. For more details, we'll have to wait and see.