There.com is closing

 Posted by (Visited 12527 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Mar 022010
 

Sad news. There.com has some of the best social interaction design of any virtual world. Be sure to check it out while you can so that its many design innovations are not forgotten.

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.

We’re very sorry to announce that There.com will be closing to the public at 11:59 PM on March 9th, 2010.

via There – There.

  25 Responses to “There.com is closing”

  1. Raph,

    Thanks for your post, it’s appreciated. It’s a sad day for everyone, but we made some great friends, and learned a heck of a lot in the process. In the end, not sure we could ask for anything more.

    We used the classy way you handled MetaPlace’s closing as our guide for today ‘tu for that.

    Michael Wilson

  2. Perhaps Olive was the only thing keeping them alive?

    There was too yuppie for me, as an alpha/beta tester. I found I much preferred Second Life, where consumerism as a raison d’etre was an *option* not the channeled theme.

    Regardless, always sad to see innovation fizzle. Hmmm… we’re looking for cofounder(s). Maybe I should talk to folks over (t/There)? 🙂

  3. OLIVE was Forterra’s, and Forterra and There split a while back. The original tech base was the same, but as companies they diverged quite a while back.

  4. Regards Forterra, Jon Watte published a credible paper on these topics:

    https://journals.tdl.org/jvwr/article/view/727/526

  5. It’s a sad day in the there world. After all the rent raising on all zones they took the money and ran. Just like any other It came down to we just don’t make enough money. The whole world has turned in to a very sad place were every body just says show me the money I need more. I guess we had fun while we could so goodbye to all.

  6. they perm banned me neways, this game was alright back in its day,
    people were kool, then there.com had to feel powerful so they started
    banning all the cool people left and right for retarded reason, yes
    some good reasons, but they were way to strict on what happened, like
    some whiney ass kid would go cry to a Helper (Mod) “This guy will not
    leave my portazone in zephyr! or, HE SHOT ME AND HE WONT STOP, or my
    peepee hurts cuz he hit me with a buggy” and they would get banned
    for like 10 days or muted or perm banned.

    Seriously, this is not a loss, yes some of the people is a loss, but
    its not a big deal, they banned all the cool people in it anyways and
    they went to other games, in my opinion i think there closing because
    they banned so many people and pissed so many people off, like not
    fixing lags and glitches that needed to be fixed, so the people
    stopped putting money into it and pretty much said screw it ill find
    a new game, so everyone else followed, so they lost people to pay for
    this stupid game. Plus they banned pretty much every good paintballer
    cuz they griefed people, oh well, the paintballers were the main
    reason they stayed up, paintballers put SO much money into this
    stupid game and they got rid of em, so its there own stupid fault,
    screw michael wilson.

  7. Wow, a troll! Are you from the Blackspear tribe? 😛

  8. “Person”

    You have copied and pasted that same comment on just about every There.com closing article I have read.
    Get over it! You were banned back in 1804 for a V world that is now closing..
    Jesus lol

  9. It’s sad to see There.com close its door and a community lose its home. There.com has been an inspiration also for Twinity. We Twinizens would like to show the people of There that all is not lost; this is simply a new beginning.

    We’d love to talk to you all and see how we could have a new home together. We’re meeting in Twinity at 17:00 (GMT), we would be delighted if you could join us!

  10. It will be a very sad day for many us when there .com closes . I’ve been in game since November 2003 and enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with my many friends . I’ve become very fond of my avie,Petal and my many spades friends in this beautiful world we inhabited .
    Thank you to Michael Wilson , all the staff and developers who made this possible for so long. I hope you will all move on to even greater things.
    I just wish someone could have come in with the finances needed to keep There going

  11. My personal opinion after being a member of There for over 7 years is it was ahead of it’s time in 2003 and to this day, some aspects of it have never been done as well. I suspect with it’s closure and the struggles other 3d social worlds have to sustain themselves, I don’t think I will find a suitable replacement any time soon. There.com was pretty unique in a few key areas,

    I have never found another 3d world/game that gave the same sense of presence to those you meet and chat with. After chatting avatar to avatar in There, chatting via the IM window was not the same, it make it clear it was more personal when standing with the other person’s avatar. Most of this came from the early work that gave There avatars natural seeming behaviors (breathing, lip-sync with voice, automatic arm/hand gestures, head tracking to the speaker, etc).

    A lot can be said for modern worlds and their ability to simulate distance, but I don’t expect to find another world that is complete in that you (and some did) can walk, drive, fly for weeks completely around the globe and return to your starting point. It also had height allowing travel 100,000m above ground level transitioning into a space dome.

    While top-end systems today can do much better gravity/physics simulations, There’s ability to provide it since 2003 for pretty low-end computers is not matched today (imo). It was the basis for many of There’s unique properties, notably their vehicles. Although for many Therians, mountain sliding was probably one of the funniest things they ever did.

    I think many would agree that There’s vehicles are still one of the best simulations around ‘for the general user’. Modern racing games are substantially better looking but most found they never offered the same ‘fun’ factor has There’s vehicles. “There” vehicles could be used for quite accurate head-to-head racing that required a level of user skill to just casually driving/flying around the country with passengers along.

    In the early years, the early exploration aspect of the original art by “There” artists was one of the main reasons many people got hooked on “There”. In the later years as it shifted to member developer creations, it offered users a lot more variety and diversity in their creations, but the original “There” created scenes are still considered wonderful by old and new members. While expensive, there is still a useful place for original content by the service creator imo.

    While much has been said over the years about “There’s” fixed camera approach (which they offered some additional flexibility later), it is one of things I most notice when trying other worlds. I have to screw with the camera too much. In “There” for general use, the cameras tracked near perfect and when in their ‘chat group settings’, the simple ‘next camera position’ approach allowing viewing from other angles by a simple arrow key press allowed you to focus on communicating.

    As a member developer, I find it a really strange thought that I won’t have a place to view and use all the things I’ve created for myself and others over the last 5-6 years. It’s not like those are assets I created for my employer, those were my hobby and personal efforts, easily a few thousand hours or more. Now they are just a bunch of model files on my hard drive that have no purpose. Since most are customized to “There’s” in-world properties and behaviors, they are not really useful in another environment

    After all the challenges “There.com” went through, I never thought I see the day it would formally close. I consider it a personal loss since it has been a ‘safe’ and fun place on-line for my family for many years. The number of great friends made by most members is a testament to it’s real social value. As the younger generation expends more and more of it’s time on-line and less actually socializing, I don’t think the Facebook’s of this era are going to meet their needs as they age.

    There.com while probably a niche product in comparison to the numbers reported on the ‘next’ hot thing offered something unique. It will be missed by many for a long time.

  12. Reall sad to hear 🙁

  13. I haven’t logged on much in the past couple years but find it hard to accept that the world is actually closing. Played a lot from 2003 – 2007. Made so many great friends there and wish there was some place to keep in touch with them all. To everybody that knows me, please do keep in touch.

    [email protected]

    =(

  14. This is too bad. I wasn’t a member of There.com, but I am a member of other VR’s and I don’t know what I will do when they close.

    As I am seeing, There was around for a while, and there are probably some long time members. It’s a shame that the community only has one more week…

    For those trying to fill in the void, I found an article on other available options. It’s linked by my name.

    I’m actually apart of Frenzoo.com, and they are trying to help out lost There.com members as well.

    Anyway, good luck to all the There.com members! Very sad news.

  15. As a member developer, I find it a really strange thought that I won’t have a place to view and use all the things I’ve created for myself and others over the last 5-6 years. It’s not like those are assets I created for my employer, those were my hobby and personal efforts, easily a few thousand hours or more. Now they are just a bunch of model files on my hard drive that have no purpose. Since most are customized to “There’s” in-world properties and behaviors, they are not really useful in another environment

    When will the virtual world industry and web 3D in general come to the place where it is completely understood that separating content specifications from the graphics engine specifications is survival itself?

    How much less of a tragedy would it be if when a business model fails, the content and the technology can move to new servers without much hurrah?

    Say what you will about VRML, the content is still running. While it isn’t a solution for all 3D applications, X3D + WebGL is a good place to be and with the interop with the OGC specifications such as CityGML, it may prove to be the most sustainable in terms of new business.

  16. I am truly saddened by this news. ‘There’ will forever be part of my life because it was through ‘There’ that I met my husband. I was always the skeptic when it came to any online relationships, but ‘There’ really brought a human aspect to interacting with people from all over the world. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it.
    I am really hoping for a miracle…that somehow…someway ‘There’ will be able to stay open. If it doesn’t, well then March 9th will be a very sad day for many. Most of my ‘There’ friends will be making the transition to SL. It will not be the same and I know we will always make the comparison between SL and There.
    I will truly miss the ‘There’ community!

  17. What bothers me the most about the closing of There.com is the fact that the owner(s) never took the financial problems to the users for suggestions. Why couldn’t we pay a monthly fee for membership (or something similar) to keep things going? It’s the same problem that most American businesses face these days….lack of creative management. When things get slow, close the business and lay off your people. It’s a sad microcosm of the country in general these days.

  18. It is definately a sad day for many of the visitors and people who logged in on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and I am one of the many people who will miss it greatly. Hopefully someone can buy the rights to it and reopen this great virtual world.

  19. this is really sad.. “There” is great as well as the staffs. Helper_zed is one of my favorite helpers.

    I was crying when I heard about this..

  20. I am mystified by the claim that the recession is to blame for the demise of There. It is a fact that spending on virtual goods is rising despite the poor economic climate, maybe even because of it as people seek cheaper forms of entertainment.

    There had some fantastic elements. I enjoyed the vehicles, the fact that the world was a continuous expanse and the ability to pick up your ‘home’ and head off to some place new…

    It’s a great shame that an environment with so much right about it should close to the public – I strongly suspect that the reasons have a lot to do with the failure to reach out to and understand potential users.

  21. It`s definately sad … but I had never used “There”

  22. I have at been a member of there.com since august 2008 and will miss it very much.
    It was so much more than a 3d world,there was so much to do apart from just
    Chat,Buggy racing and lapping,Boarding,cards and also exploring.
    What other 3d world offers this, they are only just for chat with very poor moving Avatars,there.coms Avatars move beautifully and the world so simple to use.
    Just wish someone like Google could have taken it over they seem to have the midas touch.

  23. I was in the first wave of beta and was in game last night to say goodbye. THERE did a great number of things right, particularly in terms of how their system channeled people into socializing: auto-dragging people into little chat groups and offering a lot of minigames and exploration. The avatars were also approachable and easy to configure and for the time, a good compromise on visual quality.

    While I haven’t been in There for at least a year and haven’t been active since 2006 or so, I find myself quite sad at the world’s passing.

    I suspect their downfall was simply not being able to compete with Second Life’s libertarian philosophy. Designers had to go through a tedious (and expensive) approval process to protect corporate copyrights and sexuality was taboo. Combined with a lack of investment and series of periods where it appeared THERE was due to close and most early users, particularly designers and core players, slowly drifted away. I was at Karuna last night with a number of other early beta testers in the “Class of Pangea” and every single one of us had moved to SL as our primary virtual world sometime between 2005 and 2007.

  24. Collect Your power and FIX all the things!

  25. Truly a sad time for all the loyal There.com users out there, but with all the talk of There closing and the alternatives that users have out there I notice that everyone forgets about the oldest VR community out there, ActiveWorlds.

    Now offering a 6 month free account for any former There.com users, so there’s no reason to not come on over and at least check things out. Building is free, no costs per prim or for the space to build, and anything that you build remains forever.

    AW’s public universe, I don’t think has really been a profit venture for years, they make their money off corporate customers, so our little community isn’t going anywhere anytime soon due to any recession issues.

    So, c’mon down and join our little community, and see what we have to offer. We need the users 🙂

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