Metaversum GmbH’s virtual environment Twinity uses Google Maps and 3D mapping-data extensively to create cities, such as Singapore, London, Miami and New York City, match up virtual landscape and landmarks to their physical counterparts, and to make virtual buildings resemble the real thing. The correspondences between the virtual cities and the physical cities are a major feature of Twinity.
“Get creative and design your virtual apartment in an authentic real virtual city or create your own island to host parties, flirt and lead an extraordinary life!” quoth Twinity’s Web-site. “An authentic real virtual city”, huh? I wonder what an authentic fake virtual city might look like. Don’t mind me, the redundancy just rubs me the wrong way.
In any case, that all seems to have run afoul of some unspecified licensing fiasco.
Everything seemed fine up until yesterday, it seems. Today, Twinity started spitting out the message: “Sorry, due to map-data licensing issues, we cannot show cities at this moment. We will try to reactivate the cities in the future. You will be teleported to your previous place or the meeting area.”
It’s hard to say what, exactly, happened – other than someone’s team of undead zombie lawyers woke up and started asserting intellectual property rights and licensing restrictions. It’s not even easy to determine who, but Google would be a good bet.
The phrasing of “We will try to reactivate the cities in the future” suggests that Twinity’s developers, Metaversum GmbH don’t themselves hold out much hope for that reactivation.