Back in December, EntropiaPlanets broke the story that First Planet Company (FPC) was sold to SEE Virtual Worlds. We had suspicions before that, partially based on information MindStar9 was given by an unidentified investor in the SEE company, but until then, conclusive proof was lacking, and we wanted to try and follow proper journalist conduct, and ensure we had our sources covered. So now it is official. Marco made the announcement a few days ago, and launched a renewed Q&A to celebrate the new partnership. Entropians responded en masse, but the general tendency seemed to be negative towards the idea. It seems a lot of players are afraid that resources will be diverted from working on Planet Calypso, and instead will be preparing for the launch of Planet Michael, with Calypso taking the backseat. Others seemed to focus on getting answers to questions not directly related to the takeover, but more on getting existing systems and bugs addressed. Overall, the general attitude towards the purchase seemed to be not very positive. In this article, I hope to try and focus on why SEE acquiring First Planet Company might be a good thing. Let's start with trying to shine a more favorable light on Planet Michael. To many, Michael Jackson was a controversial figure. Few, however, will argue that the man's music did not have a profound and everlasting influence on the music scene of the 80s and, to a lesser extent, the 90s. Michael's album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all times, having been sold over 110 million times. Add to that, three of his other albums are also on the list of best-selling albums worldwide - his 4 listed albums sold a total of 180 million copies, dwarfing such other musical giants present on the list, such as Madonna (96 million), Pink Floyd (75 million) and The Beatles (63 million) - and you would have to admit that the man was a major musical pioneer. Source: Wikipedia. As such, Planet Michael is bound to pull in literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who will want to see exactly what this new planet is about. Fact: when news about Planet Michael was first released, it was picked up all over the world, generating more buzz about Entropia Universe than any other news article ever before. It made (among others) the telegraph, ABC News, the Huffington Post, and USAToday, all not typically known for reporting on gaming news. Clearly, enough interest was sparked by the news, making me believe that when Planet Michael launches, it will attract sufficient interest to make the planet sustainable. If the planet is updated regularly after initial launch, and manages to be captivating enough to keep pulling gamers back in, it might also succeed with regard to retention rate, an area that Calypso severely is lacking in. This also leads to another opportunity. Lots of players will undoubtedly create an account to try out Planet Michael. Scheduled for late 2011, by the time Planet Michael will open its doors, it will encompass Planet Calypso, ROCKtropia, Next Island, Planet Arkadia, and possibly Planet Cyrene. Should Planet Michael turn out not to be what newcomers are looking for, they might be enticed to explore one of the other planets. In any case, whenever advertising about Planet Michael is released, it will generate news about MindArk, Entropia Universe, and probably some of the other planets will also be mentioned. If not explicitly in a press release, there will be journalists and bloggers digging into the matter, and finding out about these other planets. Attention and interest from players is one thing, but undoubtedly, investors will also be captivated by the opportunity to generate money in these new virtual worlds SEE will be developing. More money backing a project will lead to faster development time, and probably longer sustainability, where the need to off-load fixed costs (housing, employees) will not directly be passed off onto the players. And with more players to distribute costs, it might mean less of a burden on individuals. In other words, it might actually ensure that the game will end up being cheaper to play. Speaking of employee costs, undoubtedly SEE will have an influence on the way the new company is run as well. Not only might this influence the way employees are managed, but it might also lead to faster responses, and perhaps the shedding of the "laid-back" Swedish mentality that the community has noticed a few times over the years. The concept of the planet might be radically different from what most of us have grown accustomed to when it comes to virtual worlds or MMORPGs, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, I strongly feel that this is a major positive in SEE acquiring First Planet Company. SEE has shown themselves to be able to totally think outside the box, which might in turn reflect on Planet Calypso, hopefully leading to something truly refreshing happening there, instead of the year-old MA/FPC concept: "Let's spawn a bucket load of MOBs in a few locations for a few weeks, invent some weak story to accompany it, and call it an innovative event" that has been used so often. Due to its nature, there also might be another market connected to Planet Michael that has the potential to truly revolutionize the Entropia Universe experience. The WII was one of the first gaming platforms to really hit off on the "involving your own physical body in the gaming experience," and this has rubbed off on the PSP and Xbox. Perhaps, in order to fully utilize the coolest dancing moves, we will soon be seeing hardware devices that will allow you to control your avatar. While making dance moves on a USB or battery-powered "dance mat" might not quite be the same as being your avatar, it would allow for people to feel the bond to their avatars more closely. Due to the Hollywood experience that SEE has, I also foresee a major possibility of real-life items dropping. What about the possibility of looting a trip to Michael's theme park Neverland for instance? Record labels might be interested in handing out copies of new albums released under their labels to enthusiastic gamers. The possibilities are literally endless! The Hollywood connections SEE has might also lead to other interesting developments. I could perhaps imagine myself looting a ticket to a hunt together with Gary Oldman, or winning an interactive online guitar master class with Mark Knopfler. Another positive development is that inquiries to SEE have generally been answered in a very timely fashion, whereas similar inquiries to FPC remained unanswered. SEE obviously believes in communicating with interested parties, and hopefully that will end up rubbing off on FPC and Planet Calypso as well. As a closing note, we have managed to secure an interview with SEE Digital Studios about the transfer of First Planet Company to SEE Digital Studios for the upcoming March issue of the EntropiaTimes, so be sure to stay tuned!