NetDragon, a Chinese company focused on building internet communities, has acquired JumpStart, the educational gaming company that currently owns the formerly popular Neopets, according to a press release from NetDragon.
“The acquisition of JumpStart has been completed today and I am very excited about including JumpStart as a subsidiary to the NetDragon family. It is a perfect example of NetDragon’s expertise in combining and utilising both education and gaming businesses,” said vice chairman and executive director of NetDragon Dr. Simon Leung. “The excellent management team led by David Lord, CEO of JumpStart, has built very impressive and popular educational games that are extremely valuable additions to NetDragon’s product offerings.”
Aside from owning Neopets, Jumpstart also owns the rights to the Madagascar game franchise and School of Dragons, which is based on the “How to Train Your Dragon” movie franchise in a partnership with DreamWorks Animation. The School of Dragons has 30 million players, and JumpStart itself has 5 million monthly active users and 90 million registered accounts.
“Through this acquisition, we will tap into their excellent relationship with DreamWorks and utilise their IPs to enhance our existing products,” said Dr. Leung. “We believe this strategic acquisition will open up tremendous opportunities for both NetDragon and JumpStart to offer innovative and world-class learning products to our users.”
NetDragon is known for building online communities, specifically owning MMORPG’s such as Eudemons Online, Conqueror Online (NetDragon also owns a mobile version of this MMORPG), Way of the Five, Disney Fantasy Online and CJ7 Online. They also develop software for things such as cloud drives and home design and have different educational resources. More information on NetDragon can be found on the NetDragon official website.
“We feel privileged to become a part of an organization that has such passion about education and expertise in building business through online technologies platforms. We believe JumpStart’s existing products and related IPs complement NetDragon’s products and services extremely well. We look forward to working with such a talented and passionate team,” said CEO of JumpStart David Lord.
Neopets has struggled since its fall in popularity after having a spike of users back in 2005. It had, at one time, 92 million accounts and was bought by Viacom for a whopping $160 million, according to How Stuff Works. According to the press release, though, Neopets still has 75 million registered users.
Since JumpStart bought Neopets, a number of employees have been laid off (according to a Neoboards post) and the message boards went haywire with lewd and obscene comments when JumpStart was integrating the servers just in 2015 (which is pretty bad, considering the fact that the website was made for children), according to Kotaku.
“After the acquisition of Neopets by Jumpstart, we took some time to analyze and decide the best course of action for modernizing the technology behind the site,” said Lord to Motherboard back in 2015. “Once we made the decision to upgrade the technology, the effort was a bit bumpy at times.”
This new acquisition will focus on expanding NetDragon’s educational resources for K-12 children, which is JumpStart’s niche. JumpStart, along with their gaming franchise, also develop a game called Math Blaster, that helps children learn and study math.
It seems that Neopets and JumpStart are turning over a new leaf with the recent acquisition of them by NetDragon. Despite the little success Neopets has had over the years, there are still fans of the franchise that want to see it become popular again.
With this acquisition by NetDragon, JumpStart can possibly start on making the changes to the website that people have been waiting for for years (since it still has an older interface).
Die Neopets Die.