Virtual pet site Neopets is being rebooted into a TV show
Neopets was all the rage in the early 2000s, but it’s been gradually fading away since then. A series of ownership changes (currently NetDragon-owned JumpStart Games), technological progress and even the aging of its audience has left the virtual pet site a faded version of its former self. However, JumpStart is betting it can revitalize the brand with a strategy occasionally used for kids’ games: make a TV show. It’s teaming with Blue Ant Studios’ Beach House Pictures on an animated series. It’s still early days, but the production will be aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds. In other words, it’s hoping that interest in the show will translate to more players as viewers enter their teens.
This is part of a larger overhaul for Neopets due this year that will include a reworked site, another mobile game and “licensed merchandise.”
Whether or not this works isn’t certain. The companies are quick to brag that Neopets still has 75 million users and 350 million page views per month, but that won’t necessarily translate to a readymade fan base. After all, many of the earliest players are likely parents — they might recognize the Neopets name, but that doesn’t mean their kids will be interested. It could still boost interest, but it’s certainly not guaranteed to have the same effect as the Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh shows.