I'll post the following from Raph Koster, at Metaplace. I wish them well and look forward to their next venture. This appeared in the Metaplace forums just a little while ago. Thanks, Raph, for all the Meeps!
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.
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.
This is a bittersweet moment for us. Metaplace Inc the company will be continuing on – in fact, we have big plans – but what you the users have known as Metaplace will be going away. We are also losing some friends and colleagues here as part of this strategic shift.
We’d rather dwell on the good than the sad. You, the users, have done amazing work here, and we want to celebrate it. We may not have managed to reach our goals with Metaplace.com and Metaplace Central, but we still had a lot of fun, watched creativity flower, visited amazing places, and made a lot of friends. We’ve had amazing guest speakers, more parties than we can count, live concerts, movie premieres and art shows; we’ve seen you make adventures and schools and churches and games and countless other sorts of worlds that would otherwise never have been created.
In that spirit, we want to treat these next two weeks more as a celebration of the good times. We invite you all to come back to see all of the amazing worlds that you have made. Registration will remain open, so you can show off to your friends. Remote embeds will remain active until the last day as well.
We’ll be turning off billing immediately, and refunding everyone for all purchases in the month of December as well as subscription payments that apply to December and future months. This month is on us. We are suspending regular customer service, but the support site will remain open for now in case there are any critical billing issues.
We know many of you have done work here that you would like to preserve. Please do use this time to capture screenshots, data, scripts, movies, and assets. We have a FAQ that explains how to retrieve assets from the service.
When other worlds have reached a sunset point, people have lost touch with each other. We’ve made a lot of friends here and we’re sure that you have too, so we don’t want that to happen. We have created a forum site at http://www.metaplaceveterans.com that will be operational soon, so that you can all keep in touch with one another.
Finally: we want to treat the 1st of January as a celebration, rather than a sad moment. Please join us on that day for a party, starting at noon Pacific time. If Metaplace.com has to go, we want to go out with style, with joy, and with the same sense of fun that we have always had. Let’s celebrate the journey, not the ending. There will be meeps – count on it.
We’re sure you have many questions about all of this – and there’s a detailed FAQ that we hope answers them. Click here to read it.
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.
It has been a privilege to have had you here with us on this great adventure, and we hope that this community – this wonderful, engaged, passionate, friendly community – lives on and on.
We’ll miss you -- and we hope to see you again.