Entropia Universe

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Entropia Universe
Entropia Universe logo.png
Former logo
Developer(s)MindArk
Publisher(s)MindArk
Designer(s)Multiple
EngineCryEngine 2
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
ReleaseJanuary 30, 2003
Genre(s)Massively multiplayer online role-playing game, first-person shooter
Mode(s)Online multiplayer

Entropia Universe is a massively multiplayer online (MMORPG) virtual universe designed by the Swedish software company MindArk, based in Gothenburg.

Entropia uses a micropayment business model, in which players may buy in-game currency (PED - Project Entropia Dollars) with real money that can be redeemed back into U.S. dollars at a fixed exchange rate of 10:1. This means that virtual items acquired within Entropia Universe have a real cash value, and a participant may, at any time, initiate a withdrawal of their accumulated PED back into U.S. dollars according to the fixed exchange rate, minus transaction fees; the minimum amount for a withdrawal is 1,000 PED. The Entropia Universe is a direct continuation of Project Entropia.

Entropia Universe entered the Guinness World Records Book in both 2004 and 2008 for the most expensive virtual world objects ever sold. In 2009, a virtual space station, a popular destination, sold for $330,000.[1] This was then eclipsed in November 2010 when Jon Jacobs sold a club named "Club Neverdie" for $635,000; this property was sold in chunks, with the largest sold for $335,000.[2][3] The game has been described as dedicated to capitalism rather than quality of gameplay, and connecting the in-game labor with real world profits; in which sense it can be seen as a spiritual precursor to the play to earn model.[4]

Entropia Universe economy[edit]

Entropia Universe's in-game currency is the Project Entropia Dollar (PED), which can be purchased for real cash at a fixed rate. US$1 buys 10 PED, and PED can then be converted back to cash in some circumstances.

PED is used to purchase items in the game, such as equipment, clothing, and property.

MindArk charges a 1% fee on withdrawals, and the minimum withdrawal is 1,000 PED (US$100).[5]

Gameplay[edit]

The game can be played for free, but spending money on the in-game currency allows significant additional options like purchasing items, skills, deeds/shares, and services from other players.

Nearly all of the main in-game activities (such as hunting, crafting items, mining, etc.), require expendable resources (ammunition, probes, guns, finders, extractors), which must be purchased from vending machines (or other players). These items are either expendable, single use, or decay and require repair. Items can be crafted for use or for sale to other players.

Each player is only allowed one character. Having more than one could cause a player to be banned from the game, losing access to any funds they have spent in the game.[citation needed]

Planets[edit]

Entropia Universe (then Project Entropia) was released in 2003 with one planet, named "Calypso".

Starting in 2010, additional planets have been released by MindArk through partnerships with other companies. A second music-themed planet was opened on April 6, 2010, called "ROCKtropia", which is owned and developed by Neverdie Studios. In total there are six planets with different themes. While not a planet, space is a separate area in the Entropia Universe, connecting all planets. Space is developed and managed by MindArk.[citation needed]

Development[edit]

In 1995, development of Entropia Universe (formerly Project Entropia) was started by two different groups - one in Sweden headed by Jan Welter Timkrans and one in Switzerland, headed by Benny Iggland. Initially taking place on the fictional Planet Calypso, the 2001 version used the NetImmerse 4 game engine. On May 20, 2002, the Commercial Open Trial began, and the game was available to the public. With Version Update 4.2 on 28 January 2003, the game was considered "Gold".

Some important additions to the game since release have been:

4.2 28 January 2003 Personal storage system
5.3 24 November 2003 Housing system, space travel
5.6 5 April 2004 Mentor & Disciple system
5.7 1 June 2004 Crystal Palace Space Station
6.0 10 August 2004 New graphics engine (GameBryo)
6.1 6 October 2004 Amethera continent, Landgrabs
7.3 4 May 2005 Land Area Management, Auction Procurement Orders
7.5 1 July 2005 New avatar creation process, Beauty Professions
7.8 23 November 2005 Animal Taming
8.0 19 December 2005 Asteroid Space Resort
8.8 18 December 2006 Shopping Malls

In August, 2009, Version 10.0 was released, using CryEngine 2 from Crytek. With the new engine, almost everything in the game required changes, including the overall land maps. This change was retconned into the storyline as attacking robots crashing their large spaceship into the planet, changing the land. There were some systems (like pets taming) that were disabled right after the implementation of the CryEngine; some of these were returned after a few weeks, whereas some took months or even years. There are still systems that were in place before CryEngine that have not yet returned as of August 2014.

11.0.0 6 April 2010 New Planet (ROCKtropia)
11.2.0 21 June 2010 Vehicles
11.3.0 28 September 2010 Voice chat system
11.5.1 8 December 2010 New Planet (Next Island)
11.10.2 25 May 2011 New Planet (Planet Arkadia)
12.0 21 June 2011 Space
12.6.0 1 May 2012 New Planet (Planet Cyrene)
12.9 10 Dec 2012 VirtualTycoon mobile app released for Android devices
15.0 15 Oct 2014 Taming & Pets (Reintroduced)

Awards and recognition[edit]

In February 2007, Entropia Universe won game of the month on MPOGD.[6] In December 2008 Entropia Universe won game of the month on MPOGD for a second time.[7]

Significant events and virtual property sales[edit]

  • December 14, 2004 – Game creators MindArk announced the conclusion of the first "Treasure Island Sale", a virtual island put up for auction. The winning bidder, Zachurm "Deathifier" Emegen, paid 265,000 PED (US$26,500) for the island. At the time, this was the highest price ever paid for a virtual item. According to the press release, it is "a large island off a newly discovered continent surrounded by deep creature infested waters. The island boasts beautiful beaches ripe for developing beachfront property, an old volcano with rumors of fierce creatures within, the outback is overrun with mutants, and an area with a high concentration of robotic miners guarded by heavily armed assault robots indicates interesting mining opportunities."[8]
  • October 24, 2005 – A virtual "asteroid space resort" was bought by Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs for a sum of 1,000,000 PED (US$100,000), surpassing the sale of Treasure Island. Jon Jacobs is also the writer and producer of a song titled Gamer Chick, which is played within the Entropia Universe. The asteroid was named Club NEVERDIE after Jacobs's own in-game avatar and has made headlines around the world, for the price of the purchase, as well as Jacobs' ambitious plans to turn the resort into a venue for "Live Entertainment in Virtual Reality".[9]
  • November 9, 2005 – The BBC reported that "Deathifier" had recouped his investment in under a year. He made money by selling virtual homes as well as taxing other gamers to hunt or mine on the island. "The money made to date is only a taste of what can be achieved with my virtual island purchase," said Deathifier.[10]
  • May 2, 2006 – MindArk announced the introduction of an ATM card enabling players to withdraw the real-world currency equivalent of their PED funds directly from any Versatel ATM. It was stated that $165 million had "passed through the game" in 2005 and that this figure was expected to double in 2006.[11]
  • Mike Everest, a home-schooled high school senior from Durango, Colorado, along with his mother, earned $35,000 in 2006 by constructing and selling weapons in Entropia. Everest spent an average of three hours per day playing the game and intended to continue playing to fund his college education.[12]
  • October 17, 2006 – MindArk announced that Entropia Universe had reached 500,000 registered users.[13]
  • May 8, 2007 – MindArk announced the results of a "virtual banking license auction". These two-year exclusive licenses aimed to integrate real world banking systems into Entropia Universe, working similarly to real-world banks or pawn shops.[14] Initially, they would be provided with secure systems enabling them to lend money and collect interest, design and name their own virtual bank building(s), and make their own personnel available through avatars. Each winner would be required to add a further US$100,000 as working capital.[15] After months of bidding, the six licenses sold for a total of US$404,000.[16]

Media[edit]

Entropia Universe - Fan magazine[edit]

The Gate
2002 The Gate #1, October 2002 The Gate #2, November 2002 The Gate #3, December 2002
2003 The Gate#4, February 2003 The Gate #5, March 2003 The Gate #6, April 2003 The Gate #7, May 2003
The Calypso Independence
2005 The Calypso Independence 1, September 2005 The Calypso Independence 2, November 2005 The Calypso Independence 3, December 2005
2006 The Calypso Independence 4, January 2006 The Calypso May 5, September 2006 The Calypso August 6, September 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Man buys virtual space station for 330k real dollars". Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  2. ^ "Planet Calypso Player Sells Virtual Resort for $635,000.00 USD". Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  3. ^ "And the asteroid goes to". Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  4. ^ Ong, Alexis (2021-11-06). "Before blockchain and NFTs, there was the real-cash MMO Entropia Universe". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  5. ^ https://account.entropiauniverse.com/support-faq/deposits-and-withdrawals/withdrawal-faq/ withdrawal
  6. ^ "MPOGD's GAME OF THE MONTH MARCH 2013". Multiplayer Online Game Directory. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  7. ^ "MPOGD's GAME OF THE MONTH MARCH 2013". Multiplayer Online Game Directory. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Article: "Gamer buys $26,500 virtual land."". BBC News. 2004-12-17. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  9. ^ "Gamer buys virtual space station". BBC News. 25 October 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Virtual property market booming". BBC News. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  11. ^ "Cash card taps virtual game funds". BBC News. 2 May 2006. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  12. ^ Neha Tiwari (October 10, 2006). "Teen pays siblings' college fees by selling virtual weapons". cnet News. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
  13. ^ "500k Users Press Release". Gamedaily.com.
  14. ^ "NEVERDIE Bank Interview" (PDF). 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2010-05-21. Some may say they are like pawn shops, but in Entropia they are banks. There is no other way to get money forwarded or loaned securely.
  15. ^ Chloe Albanesius (2007-05-09). "Tycoons Buy In to New Virtual Banks". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
  16. ^ "VIRTUAL WORLD ENTROPIA UNIVERSE ISSUE FIRST EVER VIRTUAL BANKING LICENSES FOR $446,000 MindArk Announces the Five Winners of the World's First Virtual Banking Licenses; Real World Banks and Celebrities Among the Buyers". PC Magazine. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2010-05-21.

External links[edit]