Microsoft bought Vivaty

Color me surprised:

The names of most of them haven’t been disclosed, but we can confirm that Microsoft did purchase the virtual world Vivaty this summer.

Vivaty, a 3D virtual world that had raised more than $9.4 million in backing from investors including Kleiner Perkins, shut down in April, saying it was out of money. At the time, Founder Keith McCurdy, a former VP at Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS), told told VentureBeat that the company was in the final stages of being sold and that its IP would be used “as the foundation for something else.” The buyer was Microsoft, McCurdy tells us in an e-mail.

It’s not clear why Microsoft bought Vivaty and McCurdy wouldn’t say. But Microsoft seems to have a specific interest in gaming companies. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported this week that Microsoft was making “overtures” to various social gaming companies, including possibly Second Life parent Linden Lab. (A commenter on her post mentioned that Microsoft had quietly purchased Vivaty, prompting me to check.)
Virtual worlds are an odd category for Microsoft to be interested in, considering that the business seems to be falling out of favor with both investors and users, and several, including Metaplace, Vivaty and There.com, have shut down in recent months. Even Linden Lab is said to be struggling. CEO Mark Kingdon resigned in June, a few weeks after the company cut 30 percent of its staff.

(By the way, the 9.4MM number doesn’t surprise me at all. Vivaty used their own engine, so they probably had a lot of up-front development costs).

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  1. #1 by C= on 2010.11.06 - 4:37 am

    Mistake. Instead of: “The only excellent OS they had were Windows 95, 97 Second Edition, and Windows XP.” should be: “The only excellent OS they had were Windows 95, 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me.”

    Reason: 97 not exists, activation SUX

  2. #2 by DrChisel on 2010.10.09 - 10:54 am

    Do you think that they will make a virtual world for the xbox 360 like the home on ps3?

    • #3 by Michael Wilson on 2010.10.10 - 12:13 am

      ‘shrug. I don’t know. I’ll ask Bill next time I see him. 🙂

      • #4 by Thereian Fan on 2010.10.14 - 11:59 am

        Oh, if you see Bill please ask why does Windows 7 isn’t great? The only excellent OS they had were Windows 95, 97 Second Edition, and Windows XP. There’s been many bugs on Windows Vista and 7 that I’ve seen and it drives me crazy. My whole family owns a Dell computers and they have Vista and 7. I’ve just saved up enough money to buy a Macbook for myself. I’ve noticed that Apple computers have proceed far better than Windows.

        Back to Microsoft buying Vivaty, I believe they are making a virtual world. They noticed how the number of people going on a virtual world has increased and realized that it’s a great way to make profit. So my belief that Microsoft will be producing there own virtual world for there XBOX 360. It would be awhile though before we see that will be released to the public. I was reading back an article found on Virtual World News, (http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2010/10/microsoft-buys-vivaty-for-new-project-may-be-looking-for-more.html) and was thinking hard if it will happen. I do believe that it will…They saw that Sony has done it, so my guess is that it will happen.

  3. #5 by CarCus on 2010.10.06 - 11:14 pm

    Not to speculate much but who says this isn’t just a power play by Microsoft to gain muscle in certain markets. With the way Apple and Google have been going at things in recent years I can see Microsoft running a very distant third behind them trying to play catch up(which I think is already happening)

    With what Apple and Google are working on recently I bet Microsoft is nervous as hell. I would be if I was them especially on the news of Google doing their own operating system based on the Linux system. Apple TV and Google TV, plus probably more things that I am unaware of.

    Vivaty was a browser based virtual game that could be played from basically anything that had IE and a bit of RAM. It was already set up to be accessed through Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, and many others. From my own research when Vivaty was open, I had a bad taste about it. Everything was editable and nothing was on Vivaty’s servers beyond models and character animations, and data bases for them. Beyond that it was stealing other servers bandwidth. Textures on anything could be altered by just entering a jpeg url from another site. It could play YouTube videos over and over all day if an avatar was in the room.

    There were other things but not to babble on any further I can see where Microsoft might see Vivaty as a viable platform to reopen. As for SL I am unsure what their angle might be besides namesake and user base. Beyond that I think SL may be on a downward spiral if things don’t change soon.

    Take some of my points and form your own opinion if you wish. That is just where I see it right now. News out on Oct. 1st(New York Times) put virtual game registration at 1 billion so I can see some interest from the big guys. They are all lumped together for that number and that includes the silly little games for kids like Habbo and Stardoll that are the highest on the list. http://tinyurl.com/2fjvhp4

  4. #6 by Brandyn_1 on 2010.10.02 - 8:05 pm

    Wow i heard this the same day this sounds like its really going to happen? I think it would be a right turn for Microsoft, I think their would probably make lots and lots of changes for SL, I’m now in SL and LL is already going to make some changes with closing Teengrid and moving the 16 and 17 year old’s to the Main Grid Witch i think should be done (Thats one thing i miss about There you could be 13 and on it lol) I don’t have an X Box 360 just yet but that would be pretty cool if they were to put SL on it! but like MW said how could they do it with the graphics? It would be a pain in the butt to deal with… But i think we can all agree on that Microsoft has something up their sleeve they haven’t told us yet.

  5. #7 by Ken on 2010.10.02 - 7:03 pm

    Mike,
    It was a reply to a post you made in the Minecraft blog.
    I answered “Well, color me VERY surprised! Thank you for the quick answer. Perhaps I misjudged you.”
    It was the Title and not the content I was referring to as being plagiarized.
    We can leave the attorneys out of this LOL, I was just trying to inject a little humor into the blog. 🙂

    • #8 by Michael Wilson on 2010.10.03 - 2:35 pm

      Oh! That. Well, to be honest, I’m still thinking someone has hacked your account is just pretending to be cordial, much less humorous 🙂

      • #9 by Ken on 2010.10.03 - 3:58 pm

        TOO FUNNY MIKE ..
        JUST OPEN ZEPHYR, SHOW UP WITH YOUR PB GUN AND i WILL SHOW YOU CORDIALITY AND HUMOR LOL
        Just in case you had not figured out who this is, you should be positive now 🙂

  6. #10 by Amxscott on 2010.10.02 - 6:48 pm

    Well it will be interesting to see if the Microsoft buying SL rumors turn out to be true. And to see what Microsoft has in mind for these types of companies.
    The only reason I could see for them to buy Vivaty would be for their platform as they were not around long enough to have a large dedicated user base. But isn’t the Viviaty platform unique so nothing else would be compatible with it?

    • #11 by Brandyn_1 on 2010.10.04 - 3:14 am

      Well that’s what i thought they are just buying it for the platform and with Microsoft being such a big company and having so many techs im sure that they can fix it to where it could be compatible with something. I just hope they don’t do that with SL Otherwise peoples RL jobs are screwed.

  7. #12 by Amxscott on 2010.10.02 - 5:18 pm

    Does a XBox or any of the game consoles have enough horse powerfor someone to really play in a virtual world ?

    • #13 by Michael Wilson on 2010.10.02 - 5:27 pm

      That’s an interesting question. In 2002 or 2003 There actually did a lot of research into if an X-Box port was possible. At the time there were significant problems: the original X-Box didn’t have a hard disk (required to cache assets), there was some issue (which I don’t recall) about the use of a TV as an output device, and, of course, the penetration of broadband wasn’t what it is today.

      Today, the XBox 360 (which I haven’t had time to Play Halo Reach on yet, thank you) has what I think would be plenty of Horsepower for There, but I just don’t see how it could run SL. Not a dis on SL, but it does have significantly higher graphic and CPU requirements. Of course, I could be all wet, and Phil and Company are all about to move to Washington (a fate I narrowly avoided in 1996 or so by leaving a company just before it got bought :-)).

  8. #14 by Ken on 2010.10.02 - 2:44 pm

    “Color me surprised:” ????

    This title looks suspiciously like plagiarism Mike 🙂

    • #15 by Michael Wilson on 2010.10.02 - 2:48 pm

      Hmmm. I’m not sure what I plagiarized, but I did paste in a lot of the original article?

  9. #16 by Amxscott on 2010.10.02 - 2:18 pm

    I saw this this morning.
    There has been a web rumor since Thursday that Microsoft also has bought or was definitely buying Linden Lab as well.

    People seem to be speculating that they want to somehow tie it to their X-Box.

    Could be interesting

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