Matt Mihaly / Matthew Mihaly (born June 21, 1972) is an American CEO/founder and Creative Director of Iron Realms Entertainment. He was formerly CEO/founder of Sparkplay Media. He is known for pioneering the sale of virtual assets and virtual currency in online games, dating to the late 1990s. His MUD pseudonym is Sarapis.
Mihaly attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, receiving a Bachelor's degree in political science in 1994. During college, Matt became involved with MUDs, especially BatMUD, where he was a wizard.
In 1997, he pioneered the Virtual Asset Sales (VAS) model, holding auctions for virtual weapons and armor in Achaea.
In 1999, he built the first hard to soft currency exchange in an online game, allowing players to exchange earned in-game gold for purchased credits.
In 2000, he served as Senior Consultant to the Secretary-General of the United Nations-sponsored World Summit of Young Entrepreneurs, in New York, New York, leading development of a system with very low technology requirements to permit entrepreneurs in impoverished 3rd-world countries to participate.
He has since overseen the release of four additional successful MUDs. He speaks at conferences like Dragoncon, the Game Developers Conference and the Social Gaming Summit. He served as technical editor on Richard Bartle's book, Designing Virtual Worlds, and contributed an essay to Lee Sheldon's book, "Character Development and Storytelling for Games"
In 2008, he raised $4.25 million from venture capital firms Redpoint Ventures and Prism Ventureworks in order to expand the development of Sparkplay's platform and games, and raised another $3 million subsequently.
In 2010, after never leaving Open Beta, Sparkplay Media ran out of money and sold Earth Eternal to a subsidiary of Time Warner in a joint venture in Asia. In the early morning hours of September 1st, 2010, the Earth Eternal forums and game were taken offline. A Japanese version of the game, published by Sankando, who had licensed Earth Eternal from Sparkplay, was launched with some changes in 2011.
- Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands (Lead designer, Producer; Iron Realms 1997 - 2005)
- Aetolia, the Midnight Age (Creative Director; Iron Realms 2001)
- Imperian (Creative Director; Iron Realms 2003)
- Lusternia (Creative Director; Iron Realms 2004)
- Midkemia Online (Creative Director; Iron Realms 2009)
- Tears of Polaris (Creative Director; Iron Realms 2008 - Never released and permanently cancelled)
- Earth Eternal (Creative Director, Lead Designer; Sparkplay Media 2009)
Notes and references
- Davis, Steven (2006-09-08). "The World of text MMOs / MUDs - An Interview with Matt Mihaly, CEO of Iron Realms Entertainment". PlayNoEvil. Retrieved 2010-05-20.[dead link]
- Neely, Kim (1994-12-01). "Caught in the Net". Rolling Stone (696): 61–66.
- "Wired Article on World Summit of Young Entrepreneurs"
- "Dragoncon session"
- "Game Developer's Conference 2007 sessions"
- "Social Gaming Summit"
- Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. ISBN 0-13-101816-7.
- "Character Development and Storytelling for Games