The Ruffled Crow

Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things

Planet MJ and the changing MMORPG

I’ve played the online game Everquest for the last decade. EQ is what’s known as a MMORPG; Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Basically it’s a persistent world (it doesn’t reset when you log off) that supports thousands of players at a time.

Well, SEE Virtual Worlds is exceedingly thrilled to announce Planet Michael is set to spin up the end of 2011! A world where Michael Jackson is not only the King of Pop, but “the ruler of his own world of avatars”.

Now I wouldn’t be surprised if MJ did actually upload his consciousness into a computer prior to his untimely demise – I mean who hasn’t wanted to do that and as hard drives are now counting in Terabytes, with a large enough array there might actually be the space. (providing the ego part isn’t too terribly voluminous)

Whatever the reality is of Michael Jackson’s life was, there is no doubt he was an extremely talented entertainer; one of the first 45s I purchased was The Jackson’s “1 2 3” and I wore out the groove on my “Off the Wall” album.


No Pictures, Please...


Even though we understand it instinctively, somehow the truth that they are a real human being escapes us. We all want to be a part of that fame without the concious realization of the scrutiny and pressure that come with it. Every action is breathlessly reported, in great detail, by a vampiric press. The public then gets to sit in collective judgment over things that are none of their business and feel justified in it simply because one aspect of the entertainer’s life is public, ergo they feel the right to access it all. Still, this is no excuse for criminal or abusive behavior. But I digress…

With the plethora of music and legend in combination with current technology, I have no doubt that it will be quite the MMOG. I may stop in to poke around a bit, but I’m sure I’ll be no more than a visitor. (If they had an Elton John world, however, I’d be setting up residence on the corner of Reggie Dwight Blvd and Yellow Brick Rd)

As noted, I’ve played EQ for 10 years, thus far, but this MMOG will be based on the Second Life paradigm, a much different animal that the monthly subscription model. In Second Life, as in the Entropia Universe, there is no subscription fee, items can be built and purchased, and there is an exchange rate between in-game money and real-world dollars. Basically, if you want something and don’t have enough in-game cash then just fire up the credit card and add some liquidity. The reverse is also true; you make a bundle online and you can withdraw some to pay those pesky real-world creditors.

This has proved successful for some folks and makes for some interesting news stories on occasion. Take, for instance, the person who paid $100,000 real cash to Project Entropia in 2005 for a virtual space station.  Not to be outdone, a space station above Planet Calypso (also an Entropia world) sold for $330,000 in late 2009. They expect their investments to generate cash flow via service consumption and ‘space’ rental fees.

I suppose this – 3d online worlds – could be seen as the first steps in the development of immersive online worlds where people can eventually live exclusively within a digital realm. Add ways to introduce nutrients, dispense with wastes, prevent pressure point sores, and read/sense muscle movements, and you’ve got the makings of a dystopia as written in several SF books.

Hyperbole aside, as 3d worlds become more commonplace and accepted as points of contact between folks, in much the same way as the phone or email is now, we can expect an interesting effect on society where RL (real life) and online life start to homogenize style and social convention between the two. A facinating side aspect to this will be the global nature of the web and how that plays into the melding.

Whatever the future holds for the evolution of the MMOG, it certainly has moved quickly up to this point and promises to continue accelerating.  Sounds fun to me…!

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