Neopets was one of the first kid-friendly online virtual worlds on the web, and is still fantastically popular today. Hoping to bring their success with Neopets into the MMO world, founders Adam Powell and Donna Williams started Meteor Games in 2007 to make a game targeted at a slightly higher age bracket than Neopets. Their still-unnamed MMO, due to be shown at this year's Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), will be a seamless, 3D world with elements drawn from today's top MMOs -- World of Warcraft is specifically mentioned.
Their new game will be a drastic departure from Neopets. Not only will it be a 3D world instead of a collection of minigames, but it won't be free to play. The founders believe they need a subscription in order to produce the highest quality game, but the price will be less than WoW, and there will be an item shop of some sort where new outfits, furniture and other non-unbalancing items may be bought. Meteor Games is also looking into ways to integrate cellphones into their game. Due out in some fashion in 2009, their MMO will enter a market already dominated by Runescape and will be competing directly with SOE's Free Realms, which promises to be free to play and run also on the Playstation 3.
Neopets is famous for its huge amount of content, involvement with players and accessibility. Can Meteor Games grab that same sort of success with a more traditional MMO? CEO Adam Powell explains their strategy in this interview with Gamasutra.