Neopets Mobile Could Be On The Way, But Don’t Hold Your Breath

Neopets Mobile was originally slated for release last year, with plans to unveil an entirely mobile-compatible version of the long-running virtual pet website. Since then, news has been scarce, but recent reports indicate it may begin beta testing in early 2020 alongside various changes to the website.

Neopets Mobile was officially announced in early 2019 with an ambitious ‘winter 2019’ release date. The plan was to create a fully-functional mobile version of Neopets, where players could play games and take care of pets in the same fashion as the desktop site. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, fans reportedly got a first look at Neopets Mobile, although no details were released publicly.

In a recent interview with GameByte, JumpStart Games Brand Manager Stephanie Lord said Neopets Mobile is still going ahead, with beta testing “hopefully” beginning in the first half of 2020.

Currently, mobile users can only access a simple login screen that directs them to download Ghoul Catchers, a spin-off app available for Android and iOS.

Entering the full site via mobile sends up an array of errors, including non-functioning minigames, maps and activities.

Despite flagging so far behind other websites now, Neopets was once a pioneer of mobile integration. In 2006, Neopets launched a mobile-only service known as Neopets Mobile, where players could explore an exclusive location known as Lutari Island. Here, they could acquire island beads, find new items and adopt a Lutari Neopet for themselves.

This service never evolved into anything more, and only featured a single location until its eventual shutdown in 2009. Lutari Island remains inaccessible in 2020. Accessing the web page displays the following text:

The mysterious island of Lutari is currently being pummeled by an unusually large storm! Between the whirlpools, water spouts and lightning it has been advised that no Neopets are allowed to visit its shores. Even the sea life seems to be staying away…

Since Lutari Island’s shutdown, Neopets’ plans for mobile have consisted of one-off minigames like Ghoul Catchers and 2019’s Legends and Letters, rather than full integration.

But while Lord made clear to GameByte that mobile integration is an important focus for Neopets, there’s another more significant hurdle that the website will have to overcome before a mobile site release.

Many of Neopets’ minigames and activities depend on Adobe Flash Player to run — but the program is now disabled by default for all browsers, and will be discontinued on December 31. On Windows computers, Flash will be removed entirely, forcing the 20-year-old Neopets’s codebase to be migrated to something newer.

While fans have clamoured for Neopets Mobile, there’s still a lot of work to be done on the site itself. Even with a planned 2020 beta, nobody should be surprised if its final release is pushed even further out.

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