Avatar Reality Inc, the operators of Blue Mars, are today announcing limited time "pioneer" pricing for developers, digital entrepreneurs, educators, and businesses for space on the Blue Mars virtual environment platform.
Space on Blue Mars is allocated in "cities". A Blue Mars city can be any size up to 16 kilometres on a side (a total of 256 million square metres). A city is more or less a discrete environment, or pocket "world" (if you prefer the term) with its own custom terrain, interface, rules, controls, items, themes, dominant language, and activities.
Cities can be subdivided into blocks, and sublet by the developer. Blocks themselves can be further sublet for shops, residences and venues.
Unique, we believe, to Blue Mars is that the costs associated with a city are not based on the size of the simulated space, but on the maximum number of concurrent users allowed in the space. Avatar Reality is providing pioneer packages from as little as five concurrent users, up to 1,500.
Here are the Pioneer city hosting plans as they currently stand:
All the plans come with a 30 day trial period. The pioneer pricing plans are a limited time offer, however. The plans seem to be priced competitively with Linden Lab's Second Life offerings, and the lowest class of plan looks suitable for experimental buildouts and preliminary development projects.
While Blue Mars cities can support, well, quite a large number of users at once, the view is presently limited to the 50 closest avatars. Avatar Reality indicate that they are investigating alternative visibility systems that may prove to be more appropriate to different usage scenarios.
Also, right now, while user-concurrency for a city is presently a hard limit, future options such as burst pricing and paid admission are planned.
Overall, a mix of pricing options, and the capability of delivering high-quality content from comparatively easy-to-use tools makes Blue Mars look like a pretty interesting proposition, at present. As you read yesterday, the Caledon community from Second Life is expanding into Blue Mars, and Blue Mars itself has gone into open beta, and now features its own currency.
Certainly one to watch.