When it comes to virtual worlds, Massively's main focus to date has clearly been on Second Life, but we're also interested in some of the other choices that are becoming available to residents in virtual spaces. Blue Mars from Avatar Reality is one that's caught our eye -- it's a sci-fi themed virtual world, set on a terraformed Mars in the year 2177 AD. The potential is there to have some stunning visuals, as Blue Mars is built on CryEngine2, best known for giving Crysis its look.

The official Avatar Reality site lists a beta release for the end of 2008, but they've told Eurogamer that Blue Mars enters beta in January 2009. "The first-time developer expects this to last for around three months, before the full game launches in April," Eurogamer's Rob Purchese reports.

We know there are quite a number of Massively readers who follow our Second Life content written by Tateru Nino. What do you make of Blue Mars from what's been revealed thus far? Will the mix of developer-created minigames and third-party content be enough to tempt you to try it, or is the fact that Blue Mars doesn't support user-generated content a deal breaker?

This article was originally published on Massively.
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