Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Virtual World (this time a modern casual gaming one ... well it's about time!!!)

From VWN; "Mytopia, a privately funded company based out of the Bay Area and Israel, launched today with a casual gaming virtual world meant to work across all social networks and widget communities. Currently, it looks like it's only available through its own website, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and various widget sites, though Orkut and Hi5 are mentioned as future locales. The games are casual classics--though without any of the big-name brands behind them--like solitaire ad sudoku. An MMO-style environment ties it all together with an economy and teams. Users can socialize in various public settings, but also use earned points in a store for virtual goods to customize their avatars or houses--or cash them out for out-of-game rewards like Amazon and iTunes gift cards. Right now it doesn't look like users can pay cash for virtual goods, though the company has an eye on microtransactions for the future. For now, it's a free-to-play environment based on selling ads and premium accounts (with no ads and extra content) for $5/month. Out of 300,000 registered user in the public beta, 150,000 are paying the premium price. The eventual goal, and one that seems like the best shot for success, is to let users sign in to Mytopia with their existing social network profiles and contact lists. It minimizes the barrier to entry and lets users leverage the work they've already put to building up a community on their favorite social network. Now if Mytopia can just license Scrabulous.... "Finally, we can all just play together," said Guy Ben-Artzi, founder and chief executive officer of Mytopia. "Games have been connecting people around the world for centuries, but until now, people who play games on the web have been sandboxed into their respective networks. Mytopia unleashes the true social potential of games by creating a seamless gaming community that everyone can enjoy."

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