Every once in a while, a site comes along on the web that is intriguing and groundbreaking. Twinity is just such a site.
The platform burst onto the scene with momentum and big dreams, however, the path to success is never easy, and it is never straightforward.
Twinity has had its fair share of hurdles to overcome since its inception, some bigger than others. In this article, we will look at what happened to Twinity and how it got there.
What Is Twinity?
Twinity is best described as a 3D, online, virtual world. It was created by a company called Metaversum GmbH.
The game offers users, known as Twinizens, the opportunity to navigate a virtual, historical version of real-world cities.
Within Twinity, these are called a mirror world or a Metaverse. In September 2008 Twinity released the first virtual city, Berlin in a Beta version.
Later on, major cities such as Singapore, London, Miami, and New York were all added to the game.
Twinity has been built using technology from the BigWorld software and the economy of the game is based on a free-to-play model.
Twinity was the first 3D online virtual world that incorporated true-to-scale replicas of some of the most major cities in the world.
However, since the inception of the game, the world has begun to shift away from replicas of real-world cities towards more of a fantasy-oriented environment that includes fictional locations such as the Isle of Palmadora.
This shift for Twinity seems to move the platform more towards a Second Life world.
This means that the game has many more innovative features that have been set up within the virtual world.
This is because much of the user-created content is fictional, therefore, there is no need for the construction of real addresses of shops and apartments.
All of the real-world cities were removed from the game in January 2012.
The Rise Of Twinity
Twinity was launched in 2008 to very little fanfare despite everything that the platform offered. There were two ways that you could use Twinity as a Twinizen.
You could stay with the basic free version of the game, doing so meant that your username constantly had “Guest_” in front of your name.
After the initial launch of the game, which included Berlin as the only city, the German developers Metaversum GmbH added other major cities from around the world.
This increased the interest in the game for users who either currently lived or aspired to live in those cities. Users could live out their dreams in their own, virtual, mapped city.
An article on Engage Digital notes that in only three months since the initial release of the game, Twinity reached an impressive 80,000 users.
This was a significant increase from the already impressive 50,000 users that were already signed up to the platform at the end of September.
Everything looked like it was going from strength to strength in this complex virtual world.
The Struggles Of Twinity
Despite the incredible start that Twinity had in terms of raw numbers, the road to success wasn’t always easy.
One of the first struggles for the platform came from the basics of the business model that supported the game.
As we mentioned above, there was a free version of the game and a premium or VIP version.
One of the only downsides of the free version was having “Guest_” in front of your name.
However, this wasn’t a big enough deal to encourage enough users to sign up for the paid VIP version of the game.
This meant that Twinity wasn’t making a lot of money at all.
The lack of income was highlighted in 2012 when the game was purchased by Exit Reality, a much larger 3D internet company.
The fact that Metaversum GmbH was able to keep the platform for the game going for four years with very little income was impressive.
Ultimately though, purchasing the necessary licenses for the cities that were mapped for the game became too expensive without people purchasing a premium membership.
Before the sale to Exit Reality, Twinizens were complaining that the mapping of the cities hadn’t been updated and that there were issues with the usability of the game.
Other users had also been complaining that there weren’t many users using the platform which made interaction in the virtual world difficult and lacking for users.
What Happened To Twinity?
Since Exit Reality purchased Twinity, the game has had a significant shift in appearance and functionality.
Instead of mapping real-world cities into the game which requires expensive licensing, the game now features a much more fantasy-based aesthetic and functionality.
Not only would this cut down on the costs of running the game, but it could also make the game appeal to different audiences than the original version.
The change in direction of the game didn’t seem to produce the huge boost in users that Exit Reality would want. Twinity continued running with a small but loyal following of users until 2021.
The last update on the Twinity blog, dated December 10th, 2021 states that the platform servers will be taken offline due to hardware issues.
However, the statement ends with a hopeful admission that there are teams working to figure out how to get the data from the servers back to relaunch the game.
Twinity was a game that had a lot of potential. However, due to there not being enough premium users or enough marketing backing the game, it became unfeasible to keep the platform running.
Despite the Twinity blog being optimistic about a relaunch one day, there has been no activity on the blog or the platform servers for over a year.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like our post ‘What Happened To JumpStart?‘.
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