Another consumer-based 3D virtual worlds is closing down in a few days. The well-known virtual world called There is closing on March 9, 2010.
According to the press announcement on the closing of There:
Unfortunately, this also meant that There.com's customers were hardest hit by the recession, and, so was There. While our membership numbers and the number of people in the world have continued to grow, there has been a marked decrease in revenue, which, in these economic times, is no surprise.
Throughout the last year and this quarter, we have fought the good fight by churning out new features and revisions as fast as we possibly could. Our hats have to go off to the team, which have in a very short time introduced a whole new suite of casual games, a completely new foundation for our user interface, improved internal efficiencies for the product, real estate, a whole new level of Community Involvement, etc, etc. On top of that, we've revised our first user experience several times, making the whole process for registering and getting into the world (and continued to be amused when the same features appeared in other worlds).
But, at the end of the day, we can't cure the recession, and at some point we have to stop writing checks to keep the world open. There's nothing more we would like to avoid this, but There is a business, and a business that can't support itself doesn't work. Before the recession hit, we were incredibly confident and all indicators were "directionally correct" and we had every reason to believe growth would continue. But, as many of you know personally, the downturn has been prolonged and severe, and ultimately pervasive.
An interesting side note pointed out by Virtual Worlds News: (in the article thy posted on the topic called There.com Shutting Down On March 9th
Forterra and There.com have common ancestry: Forterra was originally founded as There, Inc., and There.com was built on technology codeveloped between Forterra and the Army. There.com was then spun off to Makena Technologies in 2005. The Forterra sale to SAIC, though, did not prompt There.com's closing, according to the company.
"Prior to that sale, Makena acquired from Forterra all of the rights to the software used to run There, and Forterra's interest in Makena Technologies, making the companies completely distinct in every way," explains the Makena FAQ.
So for now, There has closed registration, billing, and member program upgrades. Also, developer submissions are closed and rental processing will be stopped, so no more rent will be collected for neighborhoods, lots, or There homes. And, all purchases of Therebucks and member program updates made between midnight Pacific Standard Time February 1, 2010 and 11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time on March 2, 2010 will be refunded in full.
This is yet another sign of the turbulent times ahead in the volatile world of 3D virtual Worlds.
This follows the Sale of Forterra to SAIC and the closing of Metaplace. See details in It's Not a Good Week for Virtual Worlds.
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