Barking into the Digital Darkness

Seeing that this website has gone unused for four years . I have come to the decision to make Yahwho.net the none-techy version of Yahwho.org.

Occasionally I come across topics I would like to soapbox on. Sometimes I would just like to share my thoughts with whomever will listen. Barking into the digital darkness. However sometimes I just feel the need to write something.

Well, it has not taken me long to come across something that has really grabbed my attention. And at the same time not in a good way.

Earth2. The introduction of this new “game” claims to be “a futuristic concept for a second earth; a metaverse” where “environments can be owned, bought, sold, and in the near future deeply customized.”.

That Million Dollar Homepage

To begin with you may or not know about a man named Alex Tew. He created a website back in 2005 called MillionDollarHomepage.com. If you do not know the story behind this, Alex setup a website whereby he split up the index page of millionmollarhomepage.com into one million pixels. Offering each pixel up for, you guessed it, one dollar each. It was new, it was novel. And people bought the pixel ads. Six months later Alex was a millionaire and unsurprisingly dropped out of University.

Earth2.io is trying to pull the same game 16 years on. A digitally rendered globe from satellite imagery is being sliced up like a giant cake and sold for real hard earned cash. Green stock-ticker shows land values going up 10,000%, 11,000%, 12,000%. When will this virtual land grab bubble burst?

In addition the website makes (none) promising claims like “We are exploring a number of options, including ways users may be able to permit other users to rent or build on their land”.

Did someone say underpants?

Reminiscent of the Underpants Gnomes, Phase 1 sell virtual earth space, Phase 2 who knows?, Phase 3 Profit! Moreover they even say it themselves; “Earth 2 is the beginning of this exciting future. Phase 1 is now live.”

Look down the FAQ and you will find statements like “in the future if you want to do things with your land there may be additional costs”. Lovely jubbly! So after all of that you will still be charged even more money. While you sit in front of a screen wondering should I pay $100 for a virtual poncho the “game” developers will be sipping Flaming Lamborghinis on a yacht in the Bahamas. Subsequently toasting your generosity.

Why stop there? When we can cut up a virtual universe and flog chunks of that to those with more cash than sense? Hey, I have just pitched your next business idea. Universe2! After all, there is a lot more virtual Universe than virtual Earth to sell. Unfortunately someone’s already registered universe2.io. I fact, thinking about it, I wonder if it is the same guys?

A whole heap of promises

They even promote their own “Earth 2 engine” rendering terrain in 4K. The fact is it is not a (game) engine at all. “The terrain system is part of the E2 Engine which is built on top of the Unity game engine”. To begin with the assets in the preview video look like they have just been lifted right out of the Unity Assets store. I have yet to see anything special.

Part of me thinks ‘well good on them’. However a bigger part of me thinks this is morally wrong and nonetheless a get rich quick scheme. Maybe it is I whom will be proved wrong. Maybe in five years’ time I will be kicking myself that I did not purchase that virtual plot. I doubt it.  

My advice? Do not buy into it. Unless you like buying strangers Flaming Lamborghinis.