Iconic pop star Michael Jackson is getting his own virtual world: development company See Virtual Worlds has announced it plans to launch Planet Michael in late 2011, a new MMO virtual world that will focus on entertainment and themes from Michael Jackson’s life and music, as well as provide ways for Michael Jackson fans around the world to support charitable causes. Like many other virtual worlds, Planet Michael will feature an in-world economy linked to the real world: users will be able to take on in-world occupations and, of course, pay money into the game.
Planet Michael itself will be free to play and download, with no subscription fees, and will function as a “planet” within the Entropia Universe milieu of virtual worlds, developed by Sweden’s MindArk PE AB.
Planet Michael is being described as a “massive social gaming experience” that will appeal to everyone from hardcore gamers to novice Jackson fans, offering a wide range of environments—including settings derived from Jackson’s music videos and music—as well as ways to learn about Jackson’s life, participate in in-game activities, and “celebrate Michael’s unique genius.” Planet Michael will be developed by See Virtual Worlds in collaboration with the Michael Jackson Estate.
“No artist unified the world like Michael Jackson, so it is fitting that in Planet Michael his fans will be able to join together in such a unique way online to celebrate his music, his artistry, and his devotion to helping those in need,” said John Branca, co-executor for the Estate of Michael Jackson, in a statement. “Michael was always exploring creative new ways technology could enhance the experiences of his fans.”
Jackson died unexpectedly at age 50 in June 2009. Since his death, his estate has developed into a significant financial empire, including a massive multiyear deal with Sony Music to release unreleased music. A concert film documenting Jackson’s preparations for his final tour, This Is It, grossed more than $250 million in the year after his death.