Embed virtual worlds anywhere

 Posted by (Visited 12694 times)  Game talk
Jun 302009

Today is a big day. We’ve released a feature that I personally think is highly significant for both Metaplace and for virtual worlds in general. As of now, you can embed a virtual world on pretty much any webpage, just like any other widget. It’s a small embed code, much like a YouTube video — and in fact, it’s smaller than a YouTube video in terms of download size. And because of the capabilities Metaplace offers, you can do some very interesting things with it:

Check out the CNet Webware write-up of the feature here! Or you can head to the Metaplace Wiki to learn more about it.

There are some limitations yet, of course; you can do communication between the world and the web, but it’s still a bit hard. There’s no SNS apps just yet. And yes, you do need a Metaplace account at the moment. But as more usecases emerge and we get more virtual worlds splattered all over the Net, I expect we’ll see these limitations fall away as we keep marching towards making virtual worlds a first-class citizen of the web.

I’ll be talking about this and other virtual world issues live with Cory Ondrejka (EMI, formerly Linden Lab) at 2pm Pacific on TheStage — and I will have it embedded right here! 🙂 In the meantime, stop by my place in Metaplace, embedded here using the freshly released WordPress plugin by Dara Roesner (Miki in Metaplace), which makes it incredibly easy to drop a world onto a WordPress post or page:


Press release after the jump:


An Industry First: Anyone Can Now Easily Place User-Generated Worlds on Any Website, Blog or Forum

SAN DIEGO, CA: June 30, 2008: Metaplace, the open virtual worlds platform, today announced that any virtual world created on Metaplace can now be easily embedded into any webpage, enabling virtual worlds to become as pervasive as web applications. This release is an industry breakthrough, heralding the first time that fully interactive and customizable virtual worlds can be accessed and featured anywhere on the Internet.

“15 years ago, if you wanted anything ‘online’ you went to CompuServe or AOL and you got what they let you have,” said Richard Bartle, writer, professor and game researcher best known for being one of the pioneers of the massively multiplayer online games. “Nowadays, the World Wide Web enables anyone to create independent web sites and view those of other people. More recently, if you wanted to develop or play a virtual world, you went to World of Warcraft or Second Life and you got what they let you have. As of today, Metaplace allows anyone to create independent virtual worlds and play those of other people.”

Metaplace extends the functionality of virtual worlds by allowing users to essentially copy and paste their Metaplace virtual world into a blog or webpage.  Users will be able to showcase their creativity, promote and host virtual events, and share their art, games and products from their virtual world onto their existing web presence.  Also, since Metaplace’s user-created virtual worlds are Flash-based, visitors to the site can enter an embedded virtual world by simply clicking on it, as there is no need to download any software.

“This significant industry step breaks down the remaining barriers between virtual worlds and the rest of the web, allowing worlds to be easily accessed and shared anywhere,” added Raph Koster, President and founder of Metaplace. “Metaplace users can now add their virtual worlds to webpages with the same ease that they add a YouTube video.”

“Metaplace is a powerful tool for helping young people prepare for careers in the video game and digital media industries,” said Spencer Zuzolo, President of 3D Squared.”This platform allows us to develop the creativity and collaboration skills of our students in a transformative new way. Metaplace is allowing our non-profit workforce development organization to train leaders for Louisiana’s burgeoning video game and digital media segment.  The addition of the remote embed feature allows us to seamlessly integrate our Metaplace worlds into our online community,” Zuzolo said.

“With this release, Metaplace will enable me to easily integrate my virtual world across my social networks and across the major blogging platforms,” commented Sarah “Kitty” Ray, a Metaplace world owner whose shop, Comic Emporium in Panama City, FL, is one of the premier sources for comics, games and collectibles. “Now, we’re able to feature our virtual comic and collectibles store at the center of our web presence and interact and transact with our visitors in the most immersive way.”

The ability to embed Metaplace virtual worlds is available for free to all registered users of Metaplace at www.metaplace.com, and can be seen in use at:





Note to Editors: Cory Ondrejka, previously CTO of Linden Lab (the makers of SecondLife), will be appearing in Metaplace at 2 p.m. PDT on June 30 to discuss the future of virtual worlds with Raph Koster. This discussion will be accessible using Metaplace’s embedded functionality on the blogs of both Cory Ondrejka (ondrejka.blogspot.com) and Raph Koster (www.raphkoster.com) as well as the Metaplace website (www.metaplace.com/TheStage/play).

About Metaplace

Metaplace enables anyone to easily create their own unique virtual world through the first open virtual world platform that harnesses the power of the Internet.  Metaplace envisions a network of user-created worlds spanning community to games to education to business and forming a web-based ecosystem for collaboration, socializing and conducting commerce.

Metaplace is led by President and founder Raph Koster, recognized as a visionary thinker for virtual environments and online community. Prior to founding Metaplace, Raph was the lead designer on the original Ultima Online and chief creative officer at Sony Online.  He is the author of “A Theory of Fun for Game Design”.

Founded in 2007, Metaplace is based in San Diego, CA. Metaplace is a venture-backed company that has raised over $9 million from leading investors: Charles River Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.

Media Contact

Mark de la Vina
Consort Partners
[email protected]
Tel: +1 415 786 0759

  17 Responses to “Embed virtual worlds anywhere”

  1. That’s a funny press release you have there, Raph. You know, considering you wrote about a company 2 years ago that accomplished the same thing: https://www.raphkoster.com/2007/05/20/myminilife/. Industry first? really?

    Oh well, that’s the wonder about PR. No one will ever know that you’re lying. Congrats, though, on joining the party.

  2. Congrats, though, on joining the party.

    Metaplace has been in-development since the middle of 2006 — since shortly after Raph left SOE, I think. I saw the first prototype in December 2006. More importantly, the press release is explicit: “the first time that fully interactive and customizable virtual worlds can be accessed and featured anywhere on the Internet.” MyMiniLife virtual apartments are not “fully interactive and customizable virtual worlds.”

  3. Buzz is the stuff that when I read it next to my name, I cringed.

    Congratulations Raph! Of the advantages, real time audio is the cool one, IMO. When worlds lose the login dialogs, I will rank them as first rank citizens. We can surf web pages. We have to knock to teleport.

    The competitor isn’t SecondLife. It’s GoToMeeting.

  4. Yeah, I don’t want to whine about logging in, but I DID visit some of those links and then close the page when I saw a login dialog. I shouldn’t, I’m lame, but I’m just being honest– that’s what happened. I’m hoping to come back and check them out tonight, when I’m not at work.

  5. My mind boggles with the possibilities for this!

    I just hope I get a chance to sit down and THINK about it some time. I don’t do enough thinking nowadays.

    Perhaps during my 17 day jaunt to the remote fly-speck Faroe Islands 🙂

  6. […] Raph’s Website » Embed virtual worlds anywhere (tags: metaplace) […]

  7. Awesome work Raph (and everyone on the Metaplace team)! It’s great to see how much progress has been made in just the last year.

  8. […] posted on Raph’s blog today, Metaplace has officially released support for remote embedding of worlds. Embedding a […]

  9. Congrats, Raph and team. Metaplace has a very bright future.

  10. […] an amazing Steampunk world embedded right in the middle of a blog post. Very cool. Raph Koster has more info and the full press release on his blog, as […]

  11. […] Koster has announced the ability to embed a Metaplace world within a webpage. Significant? Indeed it is. One of the […]

  12. […] haven’t spend too much time yet, but on a newsletter I received was the announcement that you can embed your virtual world from Metaplace in any webpage, including of course your blog, so if I get a little time to make something productive with it […]

  13. Nice, but has a couple of usability issues. The login popup, as already mentioned, is really offputting and you’ll lose a lot of users right there. Unless the surrounding website has additional explanation there is nothing that really gives the user any incentive to click and login or create a profile. Where is the added value to encourage login? I realise that this is up to the site owner to a certain extent but do you allow the site to place their own content intead of the generic Metaplace initial view? Also displaying the Metaplace info in the embed, is OK but could be offputting to some sites who may see a conflict in branding.

    I’d suggest allowing a generic “guest” login that automatically loads on page load that shows what the ‘world’ is doing right now. Then you can leave it up to the creator to provide incentive to the user to create their own profile. This would also get around that nasty problem of people who are behind restrictive firewalls not knowing this is an issue until “after” they have logged in or registered. The attempt by the automatic guest login failing could be gracefully detected and a dumbed down flash embed or something that at least doesn’t require odd ports be open could be substituted without the viewer being aware of it.

    I also found that if the user has the gall of not having the latest flash version installed it lets you know inside the embedded area and if you click on the link provided in the embedded section, it loads the Adobe installer page – once again – within the embed window area. This has the unfortunate effect of ensuring that the ‘download and install’ button on the Adobe flash page is below the horizon/fold of the embedded area and you can’t scroll down to it (at least on a mac using Firefox). Then, once you’ve installed Flash and restarted your browser, and reloaded the page, you need to refresh the page several times to get it to stop displaying the Adobe page in the embed. That’s a lot of work for an average user – there are a lot of points during that that they will just give up and go elsewhere.

    I’d suggest ensuring that any links to external websites open in a new window/tab. I’d also try to limit the version of Flash needed to a recent but common, so as few users as possible need to upgrade just to use metaplace – as that will be another point of failure for a percentage of them.

  14. Thanks for the feedback! The Flash download is in fact an older, common one, at this point. (9.0.124 I believe). The Flash download opening in the embed area sounds like a bug to address.

    We’re not yet ready to enable guest support, but the point is well-taken.

  15. […] Koster has announced the ability to embed a Metaplace world within a webpage. Significant? Indeed it is. One of the […]

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