Homemade replacement worlds
The news that Disney would be shutting down Virtual Magic Kingdom on May 21, hit fans hard [see these comments]. Some have taken to petitions and write-in campaigns, others are looking to roll out their own replacement. A “small group of technology specialists and engineers who primarily create complex internet applications for insurance companies and universities” has spent 8 months adapting those skills to working on social networks and virtual worlds. Originally intended to create a business platform, the technology instead became the background for Virtual Family Kingdom.
Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom isn’t specifically referenced as an inspiration and the first area being shown off on Virtual Family Kingdom is a Colonial Williamsburg setting instead of a Frontierland or Adventureland. The VFK site does, though, host a banner ad for the VMK petition sites, and is set to launch in beta on May 22, a day after Disney’s virtual world is set to shut down. And also available are Victorian Turn of the Century Main Street settings and a Wild West theme.
Hmm. I give a weary eye to this. Read more about the “replacement vmk” by clicking that link. Does anyone else have yellow flags on this?
It’s nice someone wants to cater to the misplaced crowd, but there’s something weird that catces my concern.
Turning business PR/strategy from “building your own unique web environment” to “giving a replacement for another brand/world who is leaving the space” reminds me of offering a shoulder to cry on and then making out with them at their weak point. Why? Because not only are they offering a solution for momentary homelessness – they’re then charging for it.
I “get” the charging part. Got to make money to survive. I just don’t get the “temporary home” offer and capitalizing it.
I could be overreacting. Wouldn’t be the first time. I’m just saying that– my skeptical eye is planted on this joint.
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Am I over looking a great pro/con point?
p.s. Here’s some more commentary on VMK closing (just click this link)
When Disney Parks (I still hate that name for the division — could it be any less magical) wanted an online promotion as part of the world wide celebration of Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, they paid Disney Online to set it up for them. Disney Online then went and licensed the software from Sulake Corporation to build the Virtual Magic Kingdom. I understand that Disney Online also did some additional programming work on top of what Sulake provided.
There have been some discussions recently that VMK is closing due to the original licensing agreement with Sulake coming to an end. Sulake did just sign an ‘exclusive’ agreement with Paramount Studios to provide virtual worlds for their film properties. That may have had something to do with it, but I haven’t been able to confirm that one way or another.
What I am hearing is that Disney Parks considers the 50th Anniversary promotion all wrapped up. They cut off funding for the project to Disney Online many months ago and that Disney Online has been looking at ways to continue VMK since then despite the loss of internal funding.
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