Announcing Areae

 Posted by (Visited 44222 times)  Game talk
Dec 152006

Just click on the picture, go to the website once 4pm rolls around. It explains more than I can here.

Areae cartoon

  101 Responses to “Announcing Areae”

  1. and/or if middleware/portal, Pogo/PopCap[Dec. 20 Update: adding trackback]

  2. Raph Koster’s Areae After writing a book on the Theory of Fun, but failing horribly in the practical implementation, game designer Raph Koster has unveiled a new company named Areae. Areae, Inc. is a company dedicated to taking the tired old virtual world and making it into something fresh and new. Something anyone can jump into. Something where anyone can find something fun to do or a game to play.

  3. And it figures, the server is having issues. Give it a few. 🙂 I’ll post with updates shortly.

  4. Seems to work now. Until you crash it. 😉

  5. Gamasutra article is up, too.

  6. Good luck raph!

  7. Congrats and good luck,Raph.

  8. Thanks, Matt. We’re pretty excited. 🙂

  9. WTG Raph!

    Need an in-house counsel? 😉

  10. I bet you are excited. CRV seems like a good match too.


  11. Wow, I can’t wait to see it. Good luck!
    And just down the street from me!
    (I wish I had the skill set to program. Unfortunantly I’m a community management type of guy)

  12. Congrats Raph. Have fun!

  13. Enough with all the backslapping, I wanna know about the “some new tech that will literally change how virtual worlds are made” you guys intend to use. Parametric SubD’s? Mixed parametrics and mesh? Give it up, dood.

  14. I want to know how that helicopter plans to land. It’s fire and explosions and carnage just waiting to happen, isn’t there? =P

    And if they have the technology to make a flying saucer lift off, why the heck are they still using rocket-propelled spaceships?

    Okay, I’ll be quiet and just say good luck now.

  15. […] Raph Koster to announce Second Life 2.0 By unbeliever There’s some stirring out there, the thing is, no one yet knows for sure what. A hour ago both Gamastura and GameDaily released articles about Raph Kosters new baby, Areae. A quick hop over to his blog has a post by him pretty much telling us to piss off and come back in a few hours. […]

  16. Good luck!
    Thinking it will be some mini worlds, distributed, p2p thingamajig… It’s all in the logo!

  17. So, a virtual smörgåsbord of games and other activities, fill your plate with this or that according to your appetite? Or something else … I guess I’ll await further info. 😉

    Congratulations and best of luck on it, Raph!

  18. Is that a ding?

    Grats! I hope you find a lot of enjoyment in it!

  19. It’s the first time I’ve seen an illustrated business plan, and only using one picture/cartoon. 😉

  20. […] Raph Koster announces his new company, Areae – and we at Charles River Ventures are very excited to be part of this journey.   I’ve known Raph since 1994 or so – back when we were MUD developers, and I’m excited to support him in finally realizing the dream he’s had since starting Legend MUD.  […]

  21. we await your latest game with baited breath mr.koster!
    pre-cu ftw!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Congrats, Raph. I’m looking forward to the Firefly world ;).

  23. Congrats
    virtualworld yummy

  24. Were I in San Diego, I’d be harassing you for a job like there was no tomorrow… alas no.

    Best wishes and best of luck!

  25. As I was ruminating on your illustrated business plan, I was thinking that it was nice not to see buzzwords like, “State-of-the art virtual world that empowers players to blah blah blah”.

    I still can’t figure out the what the helicoper and helipad symbolize. (A way to quickly navigate through/above the virtual city of players’ apartments?) At first glance I thought it was an ambulance helicopter, which had me even more confused. (Also, the woman silhoette looks like she’s holding a wand, which had me perplexed until I realized it was part of the road meridian.)

    Other than that, that picture probably provides a better idea of what you’re doing than if you had put out a 10 page press-release filled with the traditional buzzwords.


    I plan to sell my services for good.



    Much better pay.

  27. And by services I mean powers.


    Typing powers instead of services is clearly not one of my powers.

  28. […] Raph Koster announces his new company, Areae – and we at Charles River Ventures are very excited to be part of this journey.   I’ve known Raph since 1994 or so – back when we were MUD developers, and I’m excited to support him in finally realizing the dream he’s had since starting Legend MUD.  […]

  29. err, whopsie, don’t click that link, it’s aready owned by someone else =/

  30. Nice! I was just waiting for this. 🙂

    Good luck with your new virtual worlds, Raph! I’m a big fan of making MMOGs for all player types by implementing systems that EVERY player can enjoy. 🙂 I will surely check that site regularly. 🙂

    Best regards,
    Jorgen D – ex-SWG player, buyer of your book, and everyday reader of your blog. 🙂

  31. Oh, and one last thing.

    Congratulations, and good luck Raph (and John).

  32. Congratulations…

  33. […] Raph Koster, revered designer of massively multiplayer online games like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies (as well as being handy with a guitar and a line of verse) has announced his long-awaited startup. Known as Areae (the pronunciation is up to you), the company is dedicated to “taking the tired old virtual world and making it into something fresh and new,” according to the site. While few — make that practically no — details have been forthcoming, the site gives some tantalizing hints. “We’re working on some new tech that will literally change how virtual worlds are made,” it says. From now on, if Areae has its way, it sounds like virtual worlds will be “Something anyone can jump into. Something where anyone can find something fun to do or a game to play. Something where anyone can build their own place on the virtual frontier.” So what are we getting here? An easy way (a la Multiverse) to build your own game-world? A tool for putting together a smaller, more stand-alone 3D space (something like a distributed Second Life)? Something in between, or maybe completely outside? Who cares, it’s exciting, and anyway, only the Areae team (of two so far, but they’re looking for more) and its advisory board (peppered with veterans like Richard Bartle and people you may have heard less about but who are doing some really interesting thinking these days like Amy Jo Kim) know for sure. I’ll bring you more news as soon as I can cadge it out of Raph — or come down to South by Southwest, where I’m hoping to have both Raph and Multiverse’s Corey Bridges on a panel I’m moderating on user-generated content (though no one’s confirmed for it yet, to be sure). More news on that as it develops as well. TrackbackURL: […]

  34. Congratulations Raph! I can’t wait to see what comes out of your new venture 🙂

  35. 1. Why does it look like Toon-Town?
    2. Are you going to have real estate for sale?

    Can’t wait to see it — but it doesn’t seem like any SL 2.0 lol

    : )

  36. 1. The cartoon has nothing to do with what the eventual world will look like.
    2. You have to wait a few months to find out. 🙂

  37. unbeliever:

    Spell Areae correctly. The domain’s available.

  38. […] Today Raph finally announced his new company, Areae. Click over to Raph’s blog or the corporate site for links to a bunch of news stories. Raph isn’t saying much yet, but… this is definitely something our readers will want to keep an eye on… Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Email this article POST A COMMENT […]

  39. […] Raph has announced his new endeavor, Areae, being entertainingly mystifying about the details.  Even the various announcements and interviews give little direct information about what Areae will actually be making. […]

  40. The helicopter could symbolize connection to the Web 1.0 (kind of like the plane on Fantasy Island… that is definitely a thought-provoking (fun!) illustration.

    Anyway, congratulations! I am looking forward to seeing what you and your many cohorts have in store…

  41. w00t!! Congratulations Raph (and everyone else involved). I’m sure it’s very exciting to have this out on the public, and just a little troubling as we can all start getting pesky and asking questions. 😛 Good luck! (Sorry I’m late to the party, I had my last ‘D&D in MI’ night last night and didn’t get in my net action.)

  42. Ok

    User created? Or game-god created?

    Shards? Or Central Asset Server?

  43. Congrats and good luck! Has anyone made “web 3.0” jokes yet?

  44. No, you can be the first!

  45. GL man…

  46. Ok

    Boxers? Or briefs?

    Mounds? Or Almond Joy?

    Seriously… glad to see it happen. We wait with unfair, early criticisms at the ready. 😉 Based on the pre-beta experience I’ve had with your website, for example, I’d like to complain about the lack of color choices for my avatar. Pale yellow? Pale blue? Very bleh. And why can’t I be the giant dog…

    For really though… when you need folks to kick the tires, you know where we all hang out, eh?

  47. Add mmplay to the list, if anyone likes to talk in German, that is 😉

    Congratulations to you, Raph, and my very best wishes for the future of yourself and your new born company. I’m looking forwarded what the bunch of great people in the surroundings of Areae Inc. will come up with 🙂

  48. This is excellent news! Congrats and good luck. I’m looking forward to whatever it is you come up with.

    p.s. my prediction: the first sex-based world created with Areae will be called Areolae. Someone better trademark that, quick.

  49. […] echolocate chocolate (chocorisu) wrote,@ 2006-12-16 12:55:00      Entry tags:areae, second life, video games, virtual worlds Areae Well now, this is interesting. Raph Koster, who I somehow previously confused with someone else, just announced his next big thing: Areae. There isn’t a ton of information about it yet but I’m going to extrapolate from what I know anyway. There’s a brief intervew on Gamasutra for the curious.Areae is a Latin word meaning “a bunch of places”. Given the people involved there’s obviously a strong basis in virtual worlds, so we can immediately imagine something along the lines of Second Life. But instead of one muddled, incoherent mess of boxes with streaming video on them, something more intricate and web-like: a series of inter-connected worlds. Say I want to make my own Dungeons and Dragons themed world: I can choose to link my valley to another D&D fan’s world–and I wouldn’t necessarily be stuck next to a furry sex club just because of arbitrary geography, like in 2nd Life.Given the involvement of Cory Doctorow, one of the founders of Boing Boing who whines on and on about DRM and open source all the time, I’m guessing it’s at least a partly open system. This fits in with the web-based ethos they’re hinting at. I’m going to guess it’s an architecture whereby I can host my own virtual world and link with others. I expect they’ll make money through hosting, but open the software so others can host as well and link back and forth freely.With the various MUD and social world advisors involved, I can imagine a strong social element. Consider the (ahem) explosion of the blogosphere, and community sites like Flickr and (blah) MySpace: there are huge lessons to be learnt in bringing people together. Traditionally it’s been through common goals like fighting goblins and getting to level 60. With SL there’s the goal of earning millions in fake money. MySpace there’s the implicit goal of having a shag.So, in conclusion, it’s an open-source system for making money off interactive 3D porn sites.(Post a new comment) somerled 2006-12-16 07:39 pm UTC (link) I’m about to do about $1.5 million in contracts to develop 3D immersive educational content in SL. Hopefully people can relate to the goal of learning something!(Reply to this) (Thread) chocorisu 2006-12-16 07:52 pm UTC (link) Wow. Of course I’m being facetious: SL’s attraction is its freedom. Anywhere there’s freedom there’s sex and avarice, cause that’s what humans do well. But there’s also art and creativity, at least within the awkward constraints of SL.I’m surprised by how much SL is capturing people’s imaginations: as a game developer, of course, it doesn’t seem THAT much different from what I do every day, except vastly underpowered and clunky. But the fact ANYONE can start making giant wooden penises without expensive 3D tools can’t be ignored.I think SL is just a stepping stone, albeit an important one. It’s the first world that manages to do everything. It just doesn’t do anything *well*.(Reply to this) (Parent) […]

  50. […] Michael (raccaldin36) wrote,@ 2006-12-16 13:07:00      Areae of you know that, a while back, I considered Richard Bartle to be a hero of mine of sorts. I don’t really do the whole hero thing, so I never actually talked about it, but there was a stretch of time when I liked the guy a lot. He’s also alive; this is questionably convenient.There are a couple others. Raph Koster, for instance, as one of the few people I’ve actually gone back and forth with who is as willing as I am to dig into theory. Then again, he’s also got a couple decades on me, so he’s experienced and is a rock star of the game industry, to use Psychochild’s words.So, it won’t surprise you that I’m that very pleased he’s starting a new company. He intends it to be disruptive, and he’s putting it on the boundary of MMOs and Web 2.0. (I tried to look for the quotation that I pulled that from, but I can’t find it. I just saw it a second ago!)Most people picked up on the story because Raph is president, and he dropped a bunch of “Hi, make fun of me now,”s all over the place. Which is fine. But I was more impressed by Corpnews’ take: most of the people who ran the announcement also failed miserably to read the list of board members and advisors.Hey, people, important. Especially in this case.A solid number of people named the VP. This is good. Only three or four mentioned the advisors. And only two (that I saw) actually realized who they were.Christopher Allen, of Skotos. The guy is an angel investor, by the way, but he’s also the president of Skotos. Skotos is not a small deal. (It is in the MMOGverse, I guess but not in the online games industry.) Fitting.Bartle. Nothing actually needs to be said. He’s on the team. This makes everything better than it was.Cory Doctorow. Famous name. Decidedly uninvolved in virtual worlds. Significant for Boing Boing, which I don’t care about, and speaker for lots of engagements.Randy Farmer. Randy is like Richard Bartle. He’s old. He’s cranky. He points out the obvious and reminds us to remember our history because we’re wrestling with solved problems. He might not be founder of the genre, but he’s a close second. He’s also more involved than his partner in crime, Chip Morningstar. No idea what Chip is up to, these days.And Amy Jo Kim. Online community specialist extraordinaire. Everyone should read Amy Jo Kim. And people have never heard of, but it’s “the other Second Life”. *smirk*Frankly, I’d be more surprised if the company takes off and remains at a low altitude. Glancing over the forum replies, I kind of understand. I don’t think most people know the significance of these advisors. I mean, while it’s fairly standard that an angel investor will sit on your board, the fact that it’s Christopher Allen is really, really significant. The presence of Richard Bartle is a very big deal, but adding Randy Farmer more than doubles the size of that big deal. Quite frankly, you can’t accidentally reinvent the wheel when they’re watching over your shoulder.And I have a hard time believing that Raph would shut them out. I mean, these are the same people he talks shop with. They know perfectly well what he’s building, which is why none of them have said a word, and they’ve signed off on it by attaching their names to it.[edit:1:36p]I found where I saw the intersection between Web 2.0 and MMOs blurb. MUD-Dev mailing list.(Post a new comment) […]

  51. Awesome Raph! Looking forward to Areae’s first project.

  52. […] Raph Koster start nieuwe studio Areae Raph Koster, onder andere bekend als een van de "creative minds" van Ultima Online en de originele Star Wars Galaxies, heeft vandaag bekend gemaakt dat hij een nieuwe ontwikkelstudio heeft opgericht onder de naam Areae. De studio is gevestigd in San Diego en zal zich richten op de markt van virtuele werelden (lees: MMO’s). Areae begint in ieder geval goed, het bedrijf wordt financieel gesteund door de bedrijven Crescendo Ventures en Charles River Ventures, en enkele grote namen zullen het bedrijf adviseren: Dr. Richard Bartle (co-creator van het MUD concept) en Cory Doctorow (co-editor van Boing Boing). Raph, ambitieus als altijd zegt het volgende over zijn bedrijf:We’re doing something different. We’re trying to reinvent how virtual worlds are made, how customers are treated, how they’re accessed, how the business models work, pretty much everything.Het idee om dit bedrijf te starten kwam meteen al op nadat hij Sony Online Entertainment verliet. Verder merkt hij op dat er geen offiele persberichten zijn verstuurd omdat hij de nadruk wilt leggen op interactie met de users, en ze dus eerst wilt pijlen op hun meningen over Areae. Volgens Koster is het enige medium voor online werelden het internet en zullen we over zo’n 3 maanden meer horen over hun allereerste project. […]

  53. Sounds like a hybrid between SL and Multiverse…

    I hate the waiting game, I just finished it with Nintendo. :frown:

  54. Congratulations, Raph!

    Looking forward to future updates.

  55. Thanks for posting on our site.

    You can be sure we Pre-CU vets who have no game will be there when you beta.

    You have my unconditional support for your new MMO.

  56. Wow, way to get everyone talking. Post a little pictogram of a product feature and let the world start yapping about it. 🙂

    I’ll be watching, and hoping for something great.

  57. […] Announcing Areae(Raph Blog ̃Gg[) […]

  58. Awesome. Congratulations and best wishes.

  59. […] Y’see, he announced he had formed a new company, and he’s doing it with John Donham, who was once Senior Producer at SOE. He worked on SWG with Raph, but that’s not to say John hasn’t done anything else; his Mobygames profile shows that he was pretty involved for a while at SOE, including everything to do with EQII and the first installment of Untold Legends, that PSP Action RPG hybrid thing. His bio on also includes that he was responsible for some of the Planetside expansions. If it’s Caverns, that was bad. If it was giant mecha, that was good. […]

  60. OMG! You’re working with Bartle? You guys are going to 0wn together!

  61. Awesome Raph!

    Good Luck!

    I love the splash page!

  62. Here’s my 2-cent bucket of cold water on this shameless exhibition of vaporware:

  63. […] Raph Comeback? Raph Koster has just announced the forming of his new company Areae. He is running it with John Donham, also formerly from SOE. Ok, now…this may be coincidence as I am just adding up recent news but here it goes… Dec 8th. Firefly gets licensed by Fox to Multiverse to develop a game based on the series. -Multiverse provides a platform but does not develop games. -Muliverse announces they are seeking developers. Dec 15th. Raph announces the formation of his new development company. -One of the congratulating posts on his webpage is by Susan Wu who said "Congrats, Raph. I’m looking forward to the Firefly world " -Susan Wu’s website says that she has known Raph since 1994 and is excited to support him in finally realizing his dream. The title of her webpage is Susan Wu-Venture Capital. So she appears to be one of his financial backers and therefore would be in the know. Now, if I connect these dots…it looks like maybe…possibly…Raph Koster could be developing the new Firefly MMO! Comments? […]

  64. Since I don’t expect him to link it himself, this looks to me like a generic response to the accusations of vaporware:

    You don’t get to call it vaporware until there’s a product announced. Right now, it’s just a company. I pronounce its name fine, but I also don’t confuse an emperor with a salad. Then again, one should always speak the language of his audience, shouldn’t they?

    Augescunt aliae gentes, aliae minuuntur; inque brevi spatio mutantur saecia animantum et quasi cursores vitae lampada tradunt. As Robert Frost says, life goes on.

  65. Very exciting news, especially the people you’ve got working alongside you.

    Have the appropriate amount of fun.

  66. Congratulations! And enjoy your Christmas.

  67. Michael: If there were no claims of superior technology, I would agree with you, it wouldn’t be vaporware, it’d just be a public relations puff piece; I find those tedious, but not worth worrying about.

    But Raph implied in that quote, and insisted in a private email to me this morning, that he has real technology (pay no attention to the engineers not working behind the curtains). That makes it vaporware until he manages to actually show something that works.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur. “Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.” That’s a trick that’s been used for 1500 years by thieving priests and politicians who want the masses to stop asking inconvenient questions and just give them money. Your pathetic attempt to impress with Latin has failed, boy.

    I prefer the words of a modern poet: “Don’t believe the hype”.

  68. The term ‘Vaporware’ does not mean absolutely everything you’ve seen claimed, but haven’t seen with your own eyes. The term exists for truly dubious software claimed to be in development, such as a $75 million Fallout MMORPG that will get one million subscribers. Vaporware is such a nice word, and it doesn’t need to be rendered meaningless by covering every unreleased piece of software.

  69. Kami: has it occurred to you that Raph himself counts as an engineer working behind the curtains? And has it occurred to you that “superior” technology may not, in fact, mean entirely “new” technology?

    I’m beginning to understand why everyone gripes about Second Lifers. 😛

  70. @Kami

    Besides having the best intentions, and improving the offerings for gamers by innovating. Isnt it enough that he’s going to try something new?

    You cry vaporware, and cry foul because he dosnt give details. But I’m afraid thems the breaks and thats business. Sometimes you just CAN’T reveal as much as you’d like about what your planning to to even though you want to. From a business POV its about market, timing, and ensuring someone doesnt steal your ideas in development.

    It’s important to be innovative and tell people the direction your heading, it’s just as important to be the first mover in a new space.

    So how about you give him a break, be happy there are people out there trying to improve the games space, and support innovation…

    There are reasons for everything…

  71. Where’s the Sunday poem?

    *Gets worried*.

  72. It’s a haiku about non-existence. Except it took itself seriously.

    I need those Sunday poems; I hadn’t realized it was Sunday.

  73. Hi! To me this sounds like a MMOG with FireFox as client or like MUD + Web 2.0. Something like going back and branch off from MUDs in a different direction and go paralell to todays MMORPGs — kind of making todays MMORPGs the neanderthal men. We’ll see.

  74. Stop feeding the trolls! You’ll just encourage them.

  75. There you go, Prok. 😉

  76. “The board is set. The pieces are moving.” – Gandalf

    Good luck Raph!

  77. A little late maybe, but, Good luck!

    Unfortunately for me, I do not have the skillsets required to join a venture like this (not to mention living thousands of miles away).

  78. Just wanted to wish you luck, Raph.

  79. Congratulations Raph. I hope you are successful with the new venture and that you and your team can achieve your goals.

  80. […] Via the MUD-Dev mailing list and Raph’s page: My new studio is launched. We’re working the intersection between Web 2.0 and MMOs. The site is, and we’re hiring. […]

  81. Congratulations and good luck!

  82. Good luck Raph. Two years ago we talked briefly in a session at GDC about you using your name to independently influence the industry for the better. I’m glad that’s come to fruition because yours was a talent wasted behind the walls of what corporate game development has become. May your journey ahead be fruitful. Again good luck and best wishes.

  83. […] "Open Letter" is so quaint and 19th century, doncha think? You know what I mean, though, right? It’s a blog post with a track-back to Raph’s post about the announcement. Which is as close as you can politely get on the cyberplane to simply up’n hollering: […]

  84. Good luck!

    I’m starting the “Guess Areae game”: It’s going to combine beardy, worldy, gamey and usery (I get dibs on this term). Extending the Web 2.0 principles, “The client is the Browser”. Worlds are build on the platform layer. Games and user-impactful content populate the worlds.

    I have high hopes for you and this venture, so don’t suck! This is going to make you or break you!

    Just kidding 😉

    Let the guessing game begin.

    And if there is a bright new idea Raph haven’t thought about already, he can include them!


  85. Raph, congrats! glad you are now “officialy” in web 2.0 camp 🙂

  86. Perfect and fitting poem, Raph!

    One more way to pronounce it (and I think some linguist purists out there would insist on this or some other “right way” perhaps given the usual meaning of these transcripted vowels):

    “ar-e-aah — like the word “yeah” only a bit shorter.

  87. […] jumpʂ̃TCgɃWv悤ƂĂ܂BXΏL̃NNbNĂ […]

  88. […] Links Ahoy: So it seems that everyone is going wild over Raph Koster’s announcement of his new venture, Areae. There’s a lot of perceptive commentary out there about what the venture will be, but the general consensus is that it’ll be some sort of portal / platform for multiple virtual worlds, with user content and all that Web 2.0 jazz. I applaud him for actually doing something to introduce something new into the stale Massively Multiplayer genre. Looking forward to where this goes. […]

  89. […] content in video games is the bandwagon to be climbing aboard these days. Take for example Raph Koster’s Areae, Three Rings’ Whirled and of course Spore. All of these things are banking on user […]

  90. Areae ?…

    Any progress on Areae?

  91. […] Koster (of whom I have previously written) has announced what he’s working on: Areae… “Areas”, except you probably can’t trademark that, so instead he uses an unpronouncable and […]

  92. […] Koster announced his new company, Areae, in December of last year in a brief post on his blog. Since then, he has given several interviews regarding the company, but has been (understandably) […]

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