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Cash-strapped  Firefly  MMO developer Multiverse closes

Cash-strapped Firefly MMO developer Multiverse closes

January 4, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

The Multiverse Network, which built a platform for developing online games, and had several licensed MMOs in the works, closed last month after failing to secure enough cash to continue running.

Despite receiving more than $7 million in funding over the years, securing licenses for high-profile brands, bringing Avatar filmmaker James Cameron into its advisory board, and generating interest in "thousands of developers," Multiverse said it "wasn't able to achieve a profitable business model."

The Mountain View-based company was founded in July 2004 by veterans from the Netscape browser team, and created the Multiverse Platform for MMOs and virtual worlds. The middleware was meant to enable teams to "build and launch their projects more quickly and for less money than ever before."

Along with providing its technology platform to developers, Multiverse acquired the rights to build MMOs for popular TV and film franchises. Though it delayed a planned online game for sci-fi series Firefly years ago, the company had announced virtual worlds for Buffy The Vampire and Titanic.

It began a shift in recent years to extend its platform to web-based and social games. Multiverse also created promotional games for McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and James Cameron's Avatar with its Remix technology, which was designed to improve "the economics and process of working" with proprietary CGI from movies.

While the company has ceased its operations, it says a group of individuals has started an online community to support developers who want to continue using the Multiverse Platform, and are creating a non-profit foundation to take over support of the middleware.

Multiverse has contributed source code for the latest public version of its 3D client, server, and tools (released in late 2008) to a SourceForge project, which community members can further develop.

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