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Monday, December 28, 2009


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Chenin Anabuki

I agree with the assessment. There are just far too many flash-based 2.5D online apps out there. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle. And unless the offering is quite unique, users will tend to just go from one to another. Developers for game and applications (including us) have the challenging task of keeping attention over an extended period.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

For this SL user and educator, Metaplace was not immersive enough, as you note. A shame, too! I respect Raph's work and loved the idea.

I hope that he comes back with a 3D world.

Second Lie

The answer is obvious: nobody loved them enough to create a parody account on Twitter about them like they did with Second Life.


Metaplace was just bad graphics, was like traveling back in time to the late 70's. I'd rather not go back that far. Was like when the Sims was first invented. rather lame in most persons opinions, which, probably led to its collapse.

Hamlet Au

I'm not sure that was a major factor -- Habbo has 15M unique players, and they haven't significantly changed their graphics since launching in 2000! Though you're right it may have been an impediment for SLers and others used to high end 3D graphics.


Indeed, when I look at Metaplace, I get bored real quick. At least BM has the eye candy to perhaps some day be a contender, but Metaplace really never had a chance.

As for Habbo, it makes me laugh as well. I guess I'm just not tuned into it.

There is magic in SL that has not been replicated very well elsewhere yet.

Now if they could only weed out the campers and bots, and give us some more eye candy.

Tateru Nino

Never launched. Not enough time.


Most of you have NO idea what your talking about with Metaplace. The graphics are only as good as the builders/creators in MP. Same as with SL (and yeah ive been around SL for a while as well. The content, also had to be created by the users of Metaplace. If the content and graphics sucked, it was because people werent getting creative enough. Its just like if you walked around with a prim head for an avatar, its your fault not linden Labs for making a crappy avatar.

Now i agree with the original article there was a lot of things wrong with the basic way MP was done. One being the lack of real money system (which would have drove competition up and more polished modules would been released), another was the lack of full UGC (user generated content) dealing iwth things like avatars and animations (which SL has). The second thing was the lack of focus from Metaplace on their systems, the biggest problem i can see was their shift from focusing on creating tools and a platform to build games, worlds, whatever and move more into content development while not supporting the creator base. This is something i believe SL did a lot of in the beginning, supporting their creators/builders.

Thats the two big areas i see where Metaplace faultered and ended up dying. I hope they or someone else will try again. Because MP offered something no other service had. SL is virtual world, its great for a lot of things but it wasnt the same as MP (similar in some areas but in general apples to oranges).

The loss of Metaplace is a painful hit to the idea of true open user generated content as a platform to develop and build games and worlds. Secondlife offered this in a different scale, but SL wasnt a game, it was a virtual world, and Metaplace wasnt a game, it was suppose to be a virtual platform to build worlds.

Arcadia Codesmith

It's the economy.

Second Life, like most successful titles outside the major studio promotional pipeline, launched small and grew slowly, primarily by word of mouth. In order to sustain an effort like that to the break-even point and into profitability, you need someone out there to sink enough cash to keep you up and operating.

In case nobody noticed, the venture capital market has left the building. The only way to grow a new freemie in this market is either a) have enough money in your vaults from other ventures that you can pay salaries and expenses for a few years, or b) be a one-person shop with minimal overhead, just enough to keep the server up.

I don't think Metaplace fit either of those categories.

Secondary consideration; Flash sucks. Seriously. It's a propietary animation player with a rickety framework tacked on for interaction, and the only real thing working in its favor as a games platform is its ubiquity.

There are other factors mentioned here I agree with, though I don't think they're primary to the closure. I also found the cartoony style off-putting and the inability to mod it frustrating. And first-person 3D is the gold standard, unless you're building a minimally-interactive time waster like Farmville.

But I'm sure Raph will do a detailed post-mortem -- if there's one thing he loves as much as putting games together, it's taking them apart and analyzing the pieces. But not right away. Even for a gaming theorist, it's tough to lose your baby.

Best of luck to Raph and the team. You're on the right track. Keep trying.


I honestly don't know what killed Metaplace, but I mourn its loss. As others have said, losing an open-ended world that supports a high degree of user-generated content hurts us all.

Second Life will never be the end-all-be-all of the metaverse, so having others out there innovating and pushing out code only helps the whole field. Metaplace was employing a lot of very smart people working on developing and growing their platform, many of whom were presumably let go in this transition time. That sucks for the industry.

For myself, I'm just upset because I had a couple of educational projects in the pipeline that were perfect for running in Metaplace. Now I'm scrambling to find a replacement and so far coming up dry.

Who else has a platform that combines the accessibility, open-endedness, and cheapness of MP? No one, as far as I can tell.

Doreen Garrigus

I have a Metaplace account. I discovered this by trying to make an account and finding that my (very unique) user name was already taken. That means that I made an account, spent half an hour working with it, and then logged out never to return, and the world left so little impression on me that I didn't remember doing it. I bet that's what happened with a lot of people.

Sure, there's user generated content, there, but the *style* of the world is locked down. The avatars are cartoony, so anything you make for them or around them has to look cartoony, too, or it will seem out of place.

These avatars aren't cute, mind you, like the inhabitants of Gaia or the Zynga constellation of games, or even lego-like, like the avatars in Habbo Hotel---they are just cartoony, like the characters in the kids' show Doug, but with kind of a weird, zombie-like waver in their movements. That really does keep the user generated content from being a selling point for the world.

A cheap, easy virtual world that allows great accessibility and user content---that sounds fabulous. But the reality was just not very attractive


I think blaming the kiddish avatar system is a cop-out. Sure, you couldn't really modify it any, but if you felt so inclined, you could REPLACE it. Having built several sidescroller worlds in Metaplace, I can tell you that you can start from scratch and make a world look however you want it. If you want to use the default avatars out of ubiquity or even just laziness, fine, but don't tell me metaplace's avatar system killed it. You could make whatever you wanted; the limitations were in your imagination. I agree that the lack of a real-value currency did not help, as well as the shift in focus from the tools to the content. This is indeed a blow to the VW industry at large, and Metaplace will be missed.

Arcadia Codesmith

"if you felt so inclined, you could REPLACE it."

True... within the context of your own miniverse. The "hub" avatars were immutable, as far as I'm aware, and they were the only "real" avatars in the sense of being persistant across multiple worlds and the hub itself.

If users never left your miniverse, providing them an alternate avatar system would be fine. But anybody leaving your space to explore the hub or other UGC realms would be subject to an abrupt and involuntary shift in their visual identity.

That's not a metaverse. That's a minigame website with a funky navigation interface. There have to be some consistant, coherent elements for the whole to hang together as a virtual world, and avatar identity is a big one.

And since the people making the tools are generally not the ones creating the content, it's a false dichotomy anyway... unless you really want to see the results when you reassign the art department to cut code.

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