Matt Mihaly / Matthew Mihaly (born June 21, 1972) is an American CEO/founder of Iron Realms Entertainment, a game designer, investor, executive, entrepreneur, and prominent member of the Burning Man community as creator and operator of the website Burn.Life. He was formerly CEO/founder of Sparkplay Media and COO of ZipZap Inc. 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 Avalon: The Legend Lives, where he was a god, as well as BatMUD.
In 1997, he pioneered the Virtual Asset Sales (VAS) model, holding auctions for virtual weapons and armor in Achaea, the first business to use this business model.
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.
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 1, 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.
In 2016, he announced that he was leading the creation of a new science fiction MUD from Iron Realms called Starmourn. 
- 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, Sparkplay Media 2009)
- Starmourn (Executive Producer, Creative Director; Iron Realms 2017 - Announced launch window)
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. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- Neely, Kim (1994-12-01). "Caught in the Net". Rolling Stone (696): 61–66.
- "Wired Article on World Summit of Young Entrepreneurs"
- "Dragoncon session"
- "Social Gaming Summit"
- Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. ISBN 0-13-101816-7.
- "Character Development and Storytelling for Games
- Mihaly, Matt. "Bitcoin and Intrinsic Value". Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Bowles, Nellie. http://recode.net/2014/02/07/bitcoin-get-your-bitcoin-here/. Retrieved 7 February 2014. Missing or empty
- Mihaly, Matt. YMLP. Iron realms http://ymlp.com/zENcKG. Missing or empty