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Metaplace To Close Virtual World Platform

Raph Koster-headed company Metaplace, Inc. will be closing its still-in-beta Metaplace virtual world builder in January, after "not gaining enough traction to be a viable product," the company said today.
Virtual world software platform developer Metaplace, Inc. will be closing its flagship property Metaplace in January after "not gaining enough traction to be a viable product," the San Diego-based company said today. Metaplace is a software platform that allows its users to create their own 2D Flash-based virtual worlds, which are hosted on the company's own servers. It is still in its beta phase, according to its official website. While the Metaplace platform itself will be shut down on January 1, proprietor Metaplace, Inc. will continue on as a business, undergoing an unspecified "strategic shift." The company has already disabled various components of the platform, like its VIP account system, which allowed users to pay $9.95 a month to get additional functionality including creating multiple worlds. After the shutdown, users will lose all access to the assets and code they have created for their worlds. Metaplace says it does not currently plan to license out its server technology to private users, but that it may do so if there is sufficient financial interest. Metaplace, Inc. was founded as Areae in July 2006 by Raph Koster, the MMO designer previously known for his work on Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. Koster has voiced a hope that initiatives like Metaplace would help to established World Wide Web standards for virtual worlds. "It was a wonderful world full of wonderful people, and I will miss it more than I can say," Koster said on his personal site following the announcement.

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