On the heels of JumpStart announcing the new Neopets mobile site, the company unveiled its plans for the future of the brand, including new games, a TV show and more.
JumpStart CEO Jim Czulewicz sat down with press during a virtual conference as part of Licensing Week Virtual to discuss what’s next for Neopets. The biggest change is the new mobile website, which is currently available in beta. Neopets first launched back in 1999 and Czulewicz says it still has “thousands of super-fans” that have played since then.
The mobile site is part of JumpStart’s work to migrate the game from Flash to HTML 5, which comes in the nick of time as Google prepares to fully drop Flash from Chrome at the end of 2020.
When asked about the delay in moving away from Flash, Czulewicz pointed to the size of the Neopets site, its age and the sheer amount of Flash content that needed to be transitioned. Plus, Czulewicz said that the Neopets community is quite active and vocal, so involving them in the process was important as well. By fall of this year, JumpStart expects 90 percent of the PC game will be migrated to mobile.
Neopets still has 1.5 million active players, 150 million registered users and over 280 million player-created Neopets.
JumpStart is working on a new mobile game
Along with the revamped web game, JumpStart is also preparing a new mobile game called Neopets: Island Builders for Android and iOS. Island Builders is set to launch later in 2020, but Czulewicz didn’t elaborate much on it other than to say it more closely follows the story and characters of the original Neopets compared to Neopets: Legends and Letters.
For those unfamiliar with Legends and Letters, it was a puzzle/battle game that launched back in 2019 under the Neopets banner. Czulewicz said that while Legends and Letters was liked by many, the community generally found it to be too much of a departure from what Neopets is.
Finally, Czulewicz said that JumpStart could perhaps bring a Neopets game to the Nintendo Switch in the future.
Neopets TV show on the way as well
JumpStart is also working with Blue Ant Media on an animated Neopets TV show expected to launch in fall 2021. Although JumpStart is developing the story now, Czulewicz suggested there could be plans to integrate the show and game. Further, JumpStart hopes that the show will be good for both younger kids and legacy Neopets fans.
Finally, Czulewicz said JumpStart is working on merchandising, which will see plush toys arrive by the end of the year. The merchandise line could expand to include trading cards and more in the future, and could tie into the Neopets games as well.
JumpStart has a busy year ahead of it as it works to finish porting Neopets to HTML 5 as well as launching a new mobile game. However, this work could see a huge revival in the Neopets game and community — which Czulewicz says already saw an increase during the pandemic as people returned to the game. At the same time, it could usher in plenty of new players through the new mobile experiences, TV show and toys.
While I wasn’t a Neopets player, it could definitely be an interesting time for fans of the game, many of whom are old enough now to have kids of their own that could soon join the Neopets community themselves.