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March 6, 2008
GDC 2008 - Entropia Universe Update

By Paul Philleo

MPOGD recently took a look at the fascinating online cosmos known as Entropia Universe just after the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Fast forwarding to the Game Developers Conference, we decided to stop for a chat with John Bates, the Business Development and Strategic Marketing at MindArk’s Entropia Universe, to check on the latest updates from this rapidly evolving and growing virtual world.

Creative Kingdom (CKI), an international architectural firm behind several spectacular themed resorts and hotels, is pairing up with the Thai government in creating a massive $7 billion multimedia and IT complex called “Cyber City”. Before that monumental complex ever sees the light of day, a vision of CKI’s finished project will set sail online within Entropia as a dedicated planet, complete with a virtual world economy that’s been the signature feature of Entropia since its launch. “CKI is the first confirmed group we have working with us who are from a completely creative background,” Bates added. “We’re as interested as anyone else to see how they use their architectural and creative skills in building a planet from the ground up.”

Bates also excitedly shared a glimpse inside other strategies MindArk is taking, when it comes to tying together the “blank slate” potential of their planets with real-world branded properties. In late January, they attended the Future TV Conference, populated by executives, entrepreneurs and deal-makers in the television, cable and broadband industries. MindArk walked away with several major discussions opened with potential partners in the field. Wandering into the realm of speculation, can you imagine an ESPN virtual world, or maybe a National Geographic Channel virtualized online?

Within the core of the Entropia Universe, a number of changes are still unfolding on the main planet of Calypso. One specific feature that was covered was the make-up system which opens the door to extensive character customization. It is proceeding well, even surprising creators at how much uniqueness users are milking from the system. Face painting, tattoos, and even subtle scars are being created to distinguish one otherwise identical avatar from another.

It seems at every major event Entropia Universe has the occasion to announce a new planet, bringing new brick-and-mortar brands into the digital space, and continuing to grow beyond the relatively humble beginnings of Calypso. While this is the second time MindArk has made a significant news announcement this year, it’s somehow unlikely to be the last. MPOGD will keep you posted on other news and updates from the interesting virtual world.


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