Twinity: A Brief Introduction

Twinity is another virtual world that I had forgotten about, created by a German company, Metaversum GmbH, and later sold to ExitReality in 2012. I haven’t played it in years. (By the way, it also wins my vote for the stupidest name for a virtual world.) Most people have never heard of it, but they still seem to be a going operation, according to their website:

Twinity 10 May 2018.png

Just for fun, I decided to re-download the software and give it a spin again. The first thing I notice, is that… it’s pretty empty in Twinity. Like, really, REALLY empty:

Twinity 2 10 May 2018.png

I had forgotten all about my starter apartment, which I got for free for being a very early adopter of Twinity way back when (not long after they opened in 2008). It was still decorated as I had left it:

Twinity 3 10 May 2018

In a failed effort to get people to purchase a paid subscription to Twinity, you had “Guest_” permanently attached to your username (like “Guest_Ryan” over my avatar’s head in this picture), unless you decided to pony up for a VIP Pass. I never bothered, and from what I could tell, most other people didn’t bother either. I’m frankly amazed that Twinity is still around after all these years. It never was very popular. They can’t be making much money.

For a long time, Twinity had virtual recreations of the downtown areas of Berlin, London, Miami, New York, and Singapore, with streets laid out like in the real-life cities. (They started with an open beta in September 2008 with Berlin.) The idea was, you could rent or buy an apartment in one of these “cities”, and walk around the streets of “Berlin” or “London”, looking at the sites. It was a cute gimmick which marked them as somewhat different from other virtual worlds.

Then, at some point, Twinity could no longer pay for some sort of license to use the mapping data for their cities, so they suddenly had to yank out all the city recreations they had built, and instead, you just teleported directly from interior to interior, store to store, and apartment to apartment. According to a 2012 article from Hypergrid Business:

In order to make ends meet, the company had to stop showing city exteriors, which the company had previously licensed from map data providers.

Meanwhile, members have been complaining about falling usage.

“Is it just me, or is this game dead?” asked one member in the site’s forum. “I’ve been playing for about two weeks, and the most people I’ve ever seen on at one time is 11.”

I did remember a rather good recreation of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and I decided to revisit it. (I actually had to restart the Twinity client in order to get there!) You used to be able to walk around the exterior of the building, but now all that’s left is the ornate interior. One of the things I had forgotten, that used to drive me absolutely crazy about Twinity, was how dimly lit many of their experiences were! This is a good example. Anybody got a flashlight?

Twinity St Pauls 10 May 2018.png

Another thing I remember is that Twinity was the very first virtual world I encountered to have working mirrors. I was really rather impressed by that at the time.

Like I said, I’m surprised that Twinity is still in operation. It’s a ghost town, like Blue Mars.

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