In July 2017, Adobe announced the planned obsolescence of Flash Player, the widely used media platform used in many online animation and interactive games. This is the only way that Neopets carries out its main activities, with most of the website’s content being based on Flash.
In 2020, it was confirmed that Adobe will end support for the platform and will shut down completely on December 31, 2020. This process has continued since the original announcement. Many web browsers now require additional verification in order to enable Flash Player. A new Windows update is also currently deleting Flash Player from Windows computers and increasing the date for the swan song.
Without Flash Player, most of the Neopets content disappears.
In July 2019 the
The website would switch to HTML in late 2020 before the death of Flash Player. As of October 29th, two months before the scheduled shutdown, Neopets is still working on a Flash Player basis.
Q2: "will Neopets be converted to HTML before Flash loses support in 2020" A: YES! We're currently in the process of moving everything over, those at #SDCC were able to see a small preview of what that will look like. 1/2...— neopets (@Neopets) July 21, 2019
Currently, players have to manually turn on Flash via their web browser in order to access basic functionality in Neopets. Flash Player is required to access the card. Playing mini-games (one of the only ways Neopets users can make money) also requires turning the Flash browser on manually. At the time of writing, Neopets is still largely dependent on Flash Player and raises questions about the future viability of the website.
Neopets is in an odd spot in 2020 after multiple buyouts made new content a challenge for the platform. While the exact nature of the website’s code is unknown, the speculation that the owner NetDragon does not have access to the original code needed to update the website has been widely speculated.
It is believed that this is why Neopets hasn’t changed much in the past few years: the code is believed to be too complicated to change or add to.
In that case, the proposed move to HTML could be a major barrier for Neopets to shut down the site. While a mobile migration is currently in beta, there is no up-to-date word on the status of the HTML conversation for the browser-based website. No flash player means no games. It means not exploring the map. It signifies the hopes and dreams of a generation that grew up on Neopets and turns to ashes.
In 2020, Neopets is at great risk of shutting down completely. While there is still a chance of getting the HTML revival it deserves, time is running out quickly.
Gizmodo Australia reached out to the Neopets support team to understand how the website will deal with the transition to HTML and whether moving away from Flash will remove functionality from the website in 2021. Should we hear anything, we will update this article.
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