A few years ago, a small television show called Gamers featured a segment about a virtual world mogul. The man was Jon Jacobs, but his avatar persona, Neverdie, ran a series of businesses within the Entropia Universe virtual world. Eventually, he felt real estate was the place to be, and after buying an entire virtual island in 2005, he cashed out years later for $635,000.
Fast forward to the present, and Jon is starting a new venture, the new Club NEVERDIE. Jon has been through a challenging few years, which included the passing of the mother of his child, Tina Leiu. Within his new world, Jon pays tribute to her, and he explains this, and more about his new venture, in the following interview with Social Times.
ST) Has your dream changed since the release of the first Club NEVERDIE? Does the new Club NEVERDIE embody the new dreams?
During the five years with Club NEVERDIE on the asteroid, I definitely feel like we pushed the limits with the tools available… We hosted regular parties, fashion shows and 3 Years of Weekly league Events, we also hosted the Massive Multiplayer Online World Championships in las vegas.. With Sponsored Prize values of $20,000+. But, there were many limitations and In reality I feel I barely scratched the surface of the kind of Vibe I was looking to create.
The New Club NEVERDIE is designed to address the limitations of the Asteroid, it really is an Event Destination that can host Cyber Sports of All Kinds, Music Events, Puzzle Quests, Player to player commerce all in a very lush Tropical Paradise. Its an evolving destination so The plan is to keep it fresh and exciting
ST) You made over $500,000 in the sale of the original Club NEVERDIE, which is a record for virtual world sales. Do you feel that managing the business aspects of Club NEVERDIE have taken you away from your personal enjoyment within the virtual worlds?
The Business End of Club NEVERDIE has always been turnkey, except the event planning which is pretty Fun, but Setting up NEVERDIE Studios to produce Virtual Worlds can put the Spotlight on My Avatar NEVERDIE and there are some people who don’t feel like I should be able to continue to play the game if I am also a Developer… I don’t agree with this at all, even though I understand that people think perhaps I have an unfair advantage as a player, the reality is, even if those advantages exist, I don’t think its something I would be looking to exploit.. If at the end of the day becoming a developer prevents me from playing the game the way its meant to be played, then I would have to say yes the business is getting in the way.
ST) Were improved graphics a part of your decision to move to you to move to the new NEXT Island?
The Opportunity to Develop a club NEVERDIE resort on Next Island definitely opened the door to taking the concept of a virtual Club to the next level visually, also the Tropical island Destination really makes incredible use of the Cryengine2. We have Live Volcanoes, Underwater Shark Hunting, Ice Capped Mountain peaks with Ice Drakes, Pirate Treasure Caves guarded by Pirate Skeletons as well as fabulous Polynesian Tiki architecture its definitely a Fantasy getaway!
ST) How did you make the decision to create “The Island Spa” and the Tina avatar?
Anything Polynesian always makes me think of Tina, Also our Son Taliesin looks just like her, his Samoan Heritage is very strong in him, his middle name is Pele, after the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, Lightning, Dance and Volcanoes, so when we started Developing the Island for Club NEVERDIE which is really Quite large, it was inspired by the goddess Pele and I remembered Tina’s Dream to have her own Spa in Samoa, so I was thrilled by the idea of actually being able to bring it to life… In Tina’s her last year, she had been trying to get a really good personal Website together and it just didn’t materialize. I dedicated the original Club NEVERDIE to her, but I just couldn’t get my head around finishing her website… Its so hard to do justice to someone so enchanting and important to our son… With the Spa I instantly felt I was able to make one of her dreams come true, something that is much more interesting than just a website and something that Taliesin could relate to…. The Idea to Create an avatar in her Likeness to be the Healing Centre on the Island was really the method by which I could bring the Spa to life… It made sense, as it gives her a part to play in the game it was all really very spontaneous and creative. I definitely no longer feel guilty about not finishing her website, this is way better., i think now people will get curious about her and perhaps take an interest in her music..
ST) NEXT Island involves a real-cash economy and the ability for people to sell their own creations. How do you maintain a high quality of created goods?
All of the Virtual Goods on NEXT Island are manufactured from Blueprints that are designed by NEVERDIE Studio, Cryengine Really Supports Extremely Detailed Graphics, our Production Designer Jordan Halsey, really has a watchful eye when it comes to Quality and detail.
6) Do you consider yourself an emerging competitor to services like IMVU?
NEXT Island is geared toward the casual market much like IMVU but unlike IMVU, Next Island is an Entire world and eco system with a fully developed supply and demand economy, extremely high quality Graphics and a Highly immersive game Engine, so we definitely are reaching out to the same demographic but are offering a Much more immersive Experience