Lately I have become enthralled with the Metaverse! I love virtual worlds and even Facebook conceded the world’s had a growing fascination with online avatars when it recently changed its name to Meta.
All the excitement of the Metaverse made me take a few minutes to do some research on my own to understand the when where and how the Metaverse began.
My research led me to a very interesting place and I learned a great deal. Knowledge is power. I began by seeking to uncover as many facts as possible so I could know the true story and write this article to provide more transparency to the public about the Metaverse.
I wanted to know how the Metaverse began and who the key pioneers responsible were for this new fascinating technology that could create virtual worlds, allow anyone to have an avatar, and meet other people thru novel social media functionality.
That’s when I discovered my Holy Grail! A piece of the Metaverse puzzle that the Metaverse public chroniclers of its history appear to have missed. The eUniverse puzzle!
eUniverse, Inc. went public in 1999 and launched LivePlace.com (1) the same year at the Fall Internet World. I sourced the key facts of the Metaverse LivePlace technology story thru scouring Securities and Exchange Commission public filings from 1999. (2)
eUniverse Creates The Metaverse
LivePlace launched in 1999 appears to have been a hot burning super nova that was gone by the end of 2001. That’s ok because by using the Internet Archieve Way Back machine, I was able to check out the home page of Liveplace.com and learned quite a bit along with marveling at its cool innovative colorful log (check it out here: https://web.archive.org/web/19991128231951/http://news.liveplace.com/ ) I wish I had gotten to enter the Metaverse in 1999 thru LivePlace! But alas I was not yet surfing the web….The key to my success in this project is that I was able to find many historical press releases that allowed me to put together this Metaverse historical puzzle. I discovered that now famous entrepreneur Joshua Piven wrote a review of LivePlace in an article featured in the prestigious Computer Technology Review November 1999 issue titled “Comdex Was Yesterday. These Companies Are TOMORROW Internet technologies to watch in 2000”. (3) It confirmed that eUniverse launched the LivePlace Metaverse platform in 1999 which was available to the public by visiting LivePlace.com or other websites that had integrated revolutionary “self-contained java applet” which Pivens took note of as one defining feature of the LivePlace technology which he summarized was “using chat in new ways to build communities on the fly”, where people “can make their online selves known to others online and chat in real time-or leaves messages for those offline” and “facilitates discussions through chat module” tools allowing “collaborative browsing”. I later found that eUniverse acquired BigNetwork.com in June of 1999, a San Francisco based startup that was developing the LivePlace technology but needed the support of eUniverse’s larger capital reserves and large existing web audience to complete development of the new technology platform that eUniverse later publicly launched on LivePlace.com at Fall Internet World.
I was able to get a snapshot of eUniverse’s press junket its PR firm Antenna Group used in
late 1999 to herald the new technology and setup meetings with the media at the Fall Internet World weekend New York event. You can see it below as part of a compilation with screenshots of LivePlace.com and the Computer Technology Review article from November 1999:
My conclusion is that eUniverse is a pioneer of the Metaverse because Liveplace.com was a pioneering Metaverse technology released to the public in 1999 which was novel and had features that innovated the virtual world, avatar, social media industry. The life span of LivePlace.com was brief because it appears eUniverse distracted by the .com market downtown of 2000-2001 was forced for lack of resources to restructure and pare its business plans to pivot to survive. However eUniverse would not wait too long before making another bid to innovate in the same social interaction genre just a few years later. Did you know eUniverse was the creator of the first mass social network Myspace.com which it launched as a 100% owned division in August 2003? That’s a story for another day I am afraid and I have yet to do the research on that story! But I am sure its going to be fascinating. In conclusion, I have found a new piece of the Metaverse timeline which I am calling the pivotal 1999 eUniverse birthing of LivePlace the first 100% web based Metaverse.