Neopets is an online gaming platform that enables users to look after virtual pets. Neopets has been online for twenty years and counting. Now boasting over 150-million users globally, the brand just announced the launch of a now new open beta mobile that will transfer the fun of Neopets from your desktop to your mobile devices.
Entirely kid-friendly, Neopets is more than merely a virtual pet game. It also gives players opportunities to socialize via discussion forums, several games, and even a stock market! From children to millennials, Neopets encourages users to take care of virtual pets such as feeding and playing with them. The ability to create an identity via a pet and customize experiences through gameplay can be beneficial in finding ways to express who you are with a like-minded community. That very sense of community is what draws players in and keeps them playing!
Stephanie Lord, the Neopets Brand Manager, discussed the new update via a recent exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How will the open beta for mobile change and improve how Neopets operates?
Stephanie Lord (SL): The open beta is only the first step in improving Neopets and moving it to an entirely mobile-friendly experience so users can experience Neopia anywhere, anytime! While some of the events and activities around the site might look a little different, we don’t plan on changing the core pieces of Neopets that people love. We are building this product for the 150M+ registered users who love Neopets. So while we do want to modernize and simplify some parts to it, we also want the community to continue to enjoy the game they have loved for the last 20 years!
MM: How have you seen the company and virtual pets grow since its establishment?
SL: When Neopets first launched, they were in the vanguard of the virtual pet space. We found when someone first plays Neopets, they see these cute pets. They want to take care of them, dress them up, and take them on adventures but they become so much more than that. These virtual pets become an extension of the users. As fans grew with the brand, some would create their Neopets in their image of how they see themselves. Other times, the pets allowed people to become someone entirely different. Neopets has always been an escape for people and over the years it has become their solace in stressful times, their outlet when they’re feeling creative, a place to connect with friends and anything else they want it to be. The world is truly theirs to experience and customize. We have heard countless stories from users about how Neopets has helped them through the hardest times in their lives and it’s always inspiring for everyone on the Neopets team, to remember how these virtual pets can have such great impacts on their lives. That definitely ties into the company part of your question. I have been with Neopets for four years and have never been as excited for the future of Neopets as I am right now. We always knew this was an incredibly special community and brand but we also had to spend time listening to our players and learning about Neopets. Not only about the site, but our userbase, the history and the reasons Neopets has remained so strong for 20 years. We are taking those learnings and working to revitalize the brand not only for our current users but a whole new generation of Neopians.
MM: What are some of the coolest social-related stories you’ve heard, such as friendships forged, through the platform?
SL: The coolest one definitely has to be the couple that got married after meeting on Neopets. However, that is just one of the many amazing stories we have heard from Neopets users. We have seen people meet in person and realize they are in the same guild without even knowing it and become instant friends. Even for myself, we know the users that win contests week after week, that write these incredible stories for Neopian Times and then when we actually meet them in person, it is this amazing experience of feeling like you already know them. You have this bond even though you just met. It’s truly an amazing community.
MM: What are some of the coolest Neopets you’ve seen?
SL: Well I’ve gotten some Scrappy fanart which was definitely amazing! We also love to see users take items from the site and make these awesome themed customizations. They honestly do amazing things there, however, my favorite stuff is probably the user made content. Our players are so talented, we are impressed by them every day. A couple years ago, we started doing a NeoCreation week where we run a social challenge for users to draw their own Neopets and other items and those are so amazing it’s insane. We actually started featuring their art on the site. We have made a Mystery Capsule with items entirely designed by our users and released customization paintbrushes they have created. We love letting users that have been on the site, and know Neopets better than anyone, be a part of the content we release for the whole community.
MM: How does the company plan to evolve and expand in the future?
SL: We are so excited for the future of Neopets right now. For 2020, we not only have the mobile product still in the works, but we also have a new 3D world builder that is currently in closed beta. This is a first step in bringing Neopets into the modern gaming world and engaging with a new generation of fans. Following in 2021, we will expand the Neopets universe with new products that focus on content for all ages. This includes an animated TV series in partnership with Blue Ant Media and Beach House Pictures, and new games and products to be enjoyed by all Neopians!
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To learn more, visit Neopets.com