Muxlim plans Muslim world's first virtual world

Muslim social network, live since late 2006, is planning to launch a Muslim-oriented virtual world not unlike Second Life. 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 and will “allow the opportunity to wear a hijab, and go to prayer rooms.” Muxlim itself is your standard social network offering community features, blogs and video sharing. 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.

Although there are well over one billion people who identify themselves as Muslim, I see this site as appealing primarily to slightly more ‘westernised’ Muslim world. In the UK alone there are over three million Muslims with an estimated £21 billion annual spending power (with a fair proportion of this oil-related money Ok I concede that in fact, in the UK, most Muslims are not from the Middle East).

Ashar Saeed, vice-president of reckons that by setting up a Muslim virtual world they’ll be able to attract sponsorship from the likes of brands like Coca-Cola, which already advertise in other online worlds. Launched in December 2006 in Finland, the site 1.5m unique monthly visitors and is backed by Finnish and Swedish money, sepcifically Swedish VC Rite Internet Ventures (also backer of Nebula, the largest Finnish hosting provider and, the Swedish online tabloid).