Michael Jackson lives on in our memories and music collections … and now in an interactive 3D universe, where fans can start moonwalking next year in a virtual world all their own. Dubbed Planet Michael, the MMOG (massive multiplayer online game) will reside in the Entropia Universe, a Web world with 100,000 active users.
Fans can boogie to recreated videos, visit Jackson’s Neverland ranch and explore 3D “continents” based on themes in Jackson’s music and life, as well as “the global issues that concerned him,” said the Jackson estate and game publisher SEE Virtual Worlds in a joint statement.
In addition to games, communication and music, what convinced Jackson’s estate to participate is that Planet Michael will highlight the humanitarian side of the star’s life and legacy.[more]
“Michael was all about ‘heal the world’ and making the world better. So we are trying to create something that, in the real world, humans could never create,” explains Martin Biallas, CEO of SEE Virtual Worlds.
As a multiplayer online computer game, large groups can interact simultaneously. It’s free to download, with revenue coming from micropayments: users converting real dollars into play money for virtual transactions. Fans will collect and trade virtual Jackson merchandise, earning credits based on music and dance moves. And yes, there will be virtual advertising for brands and product placement.
“With Michael Jackson, we’re aiming at different game play,” said John Branca, Jackson’s lawyer and co-executor of his estate. “No artist unified the world like Michael Jackson, so it is fitting that in Planet Michael his fans will be able to join together in such a unique way online.”
SEE plans to launch new entertainment-based planets every three months following on the release of Planet Michael. “Our plan is to create motion picture IP (intellectual property) planets and that’s going to be our main focus,” says Biallas. “There will be planets based on several sports IPs. There will be several music planets aimed at maybe one or two major labels, but the planet just carrying one person’s achievements, there’s not going to be a lot of artists around that can carry that. … Michael is certainly one, probably the only one I can think of.”
Planet Michael is set for release in late 2011, and will help Jackson’s estate keep his legacy alive through various touchpoints with fans. In the past fifteen months, a multiyear record deal with Sony Music to publish unreleased recordings, released This Is It (the film and soundtrack), and inked a deal with Cirque du Soleil for two Jackson-themed shows – all deals which brought Jackson’s estate an estimated $250 million.
Best spiffy up your moonwalking skills – and get ready for a virtual thriller.