But despite downsizing, company will live on - with 'big plans'

Koster’s Metaplace virtual world service to close

Metaplace – the site which offered to let anyone create their own virtual world that could be embedded into any website – is to close.

However while the virtual world service will close and shed some staff, the company will live on.

Founded by Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxy designer Raph Koster, Metaplace has been in Beta for some time and let users build their own worlds using a Flash interface and Lua variant.

Last night, however, the firm confirmed the service had failed as a business proposition

"Over the last several years, we here at Metaplace Inc. have been working very hard to create an open platform allowing anyone to come to a website and create a virtual world of their own," said a statement emailed out to the users of the site.

"Unfortunately, over the last few months it has become apparent that Metaplace as a consumer UGC service is not gaining enough traction to be a viable product, requiring a strategic shift for our company.

"We’re sorry to announce today that Metaplace.com will be closing to the public at 11:59pm on January 1st, 2010."

Metaplace Inc, the parent of the Metaplace site, will live on "in fact, we have big plans," the statement says, making the closure a ‘bittersweet moment’

"We are also losing some friends and colleagues here as part of this strategic shift," the statement added.

"In the meantime, we want to thank you all for your support, your effort, your creativity, and your loyalty. We know that many of you will be disappointed by this outcome. We are too. We are embarking on a new and exciting direction, and it feels strange not to have you all along for the ride."

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