According to TechCrunch UK (blog post here) Muxlim, the Finnish born Muslim social network, is launching a virtual world especially Muslims in mind. This will be much like the other virtual worlds we are familiar with such as The Second Life apart from the Muslim specific features.
TechCrunch UK reports:
The idea is that something tailored to the Muslim world would be allowed through the IP-blocks of countries like United Arab Emirates which currently stops access to virtual worlds and online games considered unsuitable or offensive to Muslim culture. The virtual world is said to launch in 4-6 weeks
The revenue model will be VIP accounts, virtual gifts, virtual furniture/clothes, themes/styles, profile applications, advertising, branded communities and physical merchandise like t-shirts.
Muxlim has been very active lately. In addition to the new virtual world, they are planning to open an office in the UK and a big UK launch event at the end of January 2009 to go along with that.
If you look at the TechCrunch UK comments it clearly shows that religion is much more sensitive topic in the UK than it is over here in the Nordics and Baltics. Very few, if any, of the comments actually deal with the product itself, but rather with the fact that the virtual world is for Muslims. Mike Butcher, the Editor of TechCruch UK, decided to shut down the comments since the blog post created so many racist comments. I have not seen such negative approach here in the Nordics or Baltics even though Muxlim has been in the headlines quite a bit. It seems that UK has much more to learn from us than just financial regulation.
Edit: Here’s also Wired’s take on the Muxlim virtual world.