I’ve been following the development of Metaplace and been an early beta tester since meeting Raph Koster at the Game Developer’s Conference several years ago. His vision was audacious, yet simplicity itself: allow anyone to create and share their own massively multiplayer virtual world or game using drag-and-drop tools. As Raph wrote in his blog recently, Metaplace is now in open beta:

Anyone can now go to Metaplace.com and register. You get a small world for free, with full access to all the content creation tools. Lately, I’ve been describing it at “the power of Second Life, with the ease of The Sims, on the web.”

It’s early days yet, of course. There is a lot more left to do. For example, we have not yet released the ability to embed worlds on websites and profile pages, which is a huge part of the story. There’s more to come in terms of web integration, plugins on the marketplace so that it gets easier and easier to make what you want, and so on. We’re not done by a long shot.

But it’s still exciting. As users create more content and share more, the power everyone has to create will rise dramatically — we’re making the classic bet on users and the network effect that has helped so many websites. I can’t wait to see what develops.

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