Step into my Neverland

On IGN, an announcement for the Michael Jackson MMO we've all been waiting for: Planet Michael.  The announcer 'couldn't stop laughing'.  No violence.  You win using 'the power of dance'.  Using your keyboard, not your actual body. Free to play. Virtual items will be available for 'real-world currency'. Charitable contributions enabled. 

From the press release:

Planet Michael will be an immersive virtual space themed after iconic visuals drawn from Michael’s music, his life and the global issues that concerned him. Entire continents will be created that will celebrate Michael’s unique genius in a way that underscores his place as the greatest artist of all time. Michael’s longtime fans will feel at home as they find themselves in places that seem familiar and yet unknown at the same time, and new generations will discover and experience Michael’s life in a way never before imagined. At its core, Planet Michael is a massive social gaming experience that will allow everyone, from the hardcore fan to the novice, to connect and engage in collaborative in-game activities with people worldwide.

Though my initial inclination was to disparage, maybe this could work... MMO universes drawn from the world-views of famous individuals.  Elvis-verse?  BeatlesWorld? DalaiLamaUniverse?  PicassoPlanet?   LadyGagaLand!  I'm impressed that Planet Michael's mechanics are designed to uphold his pacifist leaning and philanthropic efforts, and I can imagine that forays into his imaginings are ripe with possibility <chortle>.

I predict the vanity MMO will become a trend, and as much as I hate to say it, could be the break-through-to-the-mainstream (the Second Life commercial push all over again).  What do you all think?  Will we see the Housewives of Beverly Hills obsessed with their first virtual worlds?


Comments on Step into my Neverland:

Edward Castronova says:

It really, really depends on how hard it is to use. The kind of folks who would enjoy just being "in" a pop star's cultural world are not likely willing to endure long download times, disconnects, lag, and griefing. This seems odd, though, because I can imagine the Superfan waiting in a long physical line, to get tickets or take a snapshot. I just can't see them waiting for a long download.

Posted Sep 27, 2010 12:08:21 PM | link

Lisa G says:

Good point, Ted, but I think patching/load time issues can be managed with (pre-loaded)distracting rich content. Disconnects/lag can be mitigated with better performance tuning. Griefers, though? Now that's a problem even the Superfan might struggle with. Do people who camp for premieres/iPads get heckled by passersby? If I ran the superfan world, I'd be pretty intolerant of such mischief-making, I think.

Posted Sep 27, 2010 2:39:44 PM | link

Justin Kwong says:

I think the potential of such worlds is enormous, if they can keep fan interest when the creator is no longer producing new material. Even with the number and devotion of Jackson's fans, I think the harder part for the world will be keeping them interested and coming back once they've exhausted the finite themes of his oeuvre rather than keeping lag times low. As you point out, these are people who wait(ed) in line for days for show tickets. These will not be the same sort of people who need low lag and fast rendering for effective raiding as on more hardcore MMOs, so I think it's gonna be all about content.

Posted Oct 1, 2010 1:09:38 AM | link

Ren Reynolds says:

The 'celeb' world idea did the rounds a few years back. I'm sure there was a VW 'experience' by Eno or something.

Doing a quick search I came across this: Bowie World: http://www-static.us.worlds.net/cgi-bin/download.cgi?action=full&bundle=BowieNMCurrentVer

I'm sure there are many more, given how cheap it is to roll our own world (sounds a bit katamari damacy) one would think there would be many of these.

ren

Posted Oct 8, 2010 6:13:52 PM | link