Some games just know how to stand the test of time. Among them is Entropia Universe, a massively multiplayer online role playing game that got its launch back in 2003, under the Swedish development team at MindArk.
The game has managed to make some waves over the course of its release, including a pair of Guinness World Records in both 2004 and 2008 for having the most expensive virtual world objects ever sold. That record was almost reached again in 2009 with the sale of a virtual space station for $330,000. That’s right, not an actual space station.
Over the years, thousands of fans have enjoyed the game. And now, on its sixteenth anniversary, MindArk is looking back on its accomplishment and preparing for quite a party.
To give us an idea of just what’s in store, we sat down with MindArk CEO Henrik Nel to get an idea of what to expect. And, yes, fans, you may want to start making a cake.
Q: First off, congrats on giving Entropia Universe long-lasting value over the past sixteen years. What do you think are the biggest factors when it comes to its success overall?
A: The unique real-cash economy of Entropia Universe is certainly one of the primary reasons for our longevity and success over the years. Also, the level of trust we have achieved with our player base has resulted in many dedicated participants who have been active for many years, some for over a decade.
Q: How did the game’s initial design come about? Were you trying to create such a massive universe right off the bat, or did you have something that you were looking to build up to?
A: From the beginning, the long term-plan for Entropia Universe (originally known as Project Entropia) was to include many different planets, moons, asteroids, space stations and similar entities. Since the technology to support that vision was not actually available back in 2003, we had to build it from scratch. In 2005, the first space estate, Club NEVERDIE, was acquired by the avatar Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs for $100,000 USD.
Q: For those that are newcomers to Entropia Universe, break down what they can expect when they jump in for the first time.
A: All new participants are presented with a detailed newcomer experience which provides a few basic items and introduces core concepts of Entropia Universe through a series of rookie missions.
Q: Now you’re applying a number of new updates to celebrate the 16th year anniversary. What can players expect from these?
A: We are currently finalizing some exciting graphics updates, as well as continuing efforts to streamline and improve new interaction systems that were recently implemented. In addition to these updates we are also releasing the fundamentals for a company share system where users will be able to control a joint asset. The system will be introduced with the sale of Crystal Palace Space Station. Also, our annual Easter Mayhem event begins on April 18, with lots of valuable prizes up for grabs.
Q: Is there really a “right place” for newcomers to get started in Entropia Universe? Or do you feel that the game’s wide-open approach makes it great to do whatever they feel like?
A: We encourage new participants to at least complete the initial newcomer missions which provide a few free items to get started. After that, one can continue on with additional missions on their planet of choice, or, for the more adventure-oriented, head out exploring the vast universe however they wish. The Starter Packs available in the Entropia Universe web shop are a great way to get started in a hunting or mining career.
Q: How did the economy system come about?
A:The Real Cash Economy (RCE) was a primary feature of the original concept of Entropia. MindArk’s founder, Jan Welter-Timkrans wanted to create a groundbreaking virtual universe, and nearly two decades later Entropia Universe is still the only true virtual reality universe.
Q: How difficult is it to maintain Entropia Universe’s massive space?
A:The virtual physical space of Entropia Universe is indeed massive, but we have developed our platform and infrastructure with such vastness in mind, while providing a seamless “single server” experience. We also have multiple third-party Planet Partners developing unique planets of their own within the universe, offering a wide array of content for all Entropia Universe participants.
Q: Could you see a game like this working on console at some point in the future? Or would you prefer to stick where you guys are at now?
A: Entropia Universe could very well be extended to other platforms in the future, especially as technology evolves. However, our current focus is on the PC platform.
Q: Finally, what’s next for Entropia Universe? Where would you like to see the next 16 years go?
A: The aim is to achieve the full potential of Entropia Universe, and we will keep working hard to fulfill that. We have a great team here at MindArk which will only grow in the upcoming years, in order to create the full extent of the vibrant universe we strive for. 16 years is obviously a long time period, but I’m sure we will be able to add exciting content and releases to ensure we can take the platform to the next level.
If you’re interested in checking out Entropia Universe, you can do so on the official game page. It’s free to try out, but beware as it can be highly addictive for those of you that are into MMORPGs like this one. It’s lasted sixteen years for a good reason.Related: Entropia Universe, Interview, MindArk, MMORPG, PC