I still have fond memories (and a t-shirt) of the company called OnLive that had a very cool product in the mid-nineties to let people chat with each other using avatars in virtual worlds. It was, honestly, a pretty cool thing to play around with. That was part of the problem though. While it was cool to play around with the first few times, it lost its novelty pretty quickly. Now, it seems another company is getting ready to enter that space, and even they admit that they're following in the footsteps of many failures. There, Inc. seems to be playing up the fact that they have big time investors (which is always a warning sign to me of a company that doesn't have a compelling product). They also say they're more focused on getting women to play - so perhaps I'm not qualified to judge. The CEO points out that if you can get women to show up, the men will follow (while the reverse is not true). From the description, it sounds very similar to the Sims online, without the whole "gaming" component. There seems to think this is an advantage, while I'm not convinced. The gaming side of things gets people involved in the first place, and gives them something to do when things are slow. The community aspect is still very important, but the other things keep people active, no matter what's happening. With There, if someone logs on and doesn't find anyone interesting to talk to, there's really no reason to ever go back.
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