If there's one thing you can be sure of about Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs, it's that he's always up to something crazy.
A couple of years ago, he became the first person to ever pay $100,000 for a virtual asset--a space station in Entropia Universe that he insists is profitable. More recently, he bought one of the valuable banking licenses in that virtual world, paying tens of thousands of dollars more for it.
Now, Jacobs' newest effort is a reality show that will focus on the finalists of the Massive Multiplayer Online World Championships. This, a release I got this morning told me, is a first-person shooter competition that is being held, beginning November 23, at Club NeverDie, Jacobs' six-figure space station in Entropia Universe.
What's not clear from the release is what the reality show will be like, where it will air or whether it will be a one-time event or an episodic series. However, it does appear that SpikeTV will be airing highlights of the competition itself.
Jacobs is no slouch when it comes to marketing and self-promotion--he's a former film director--and he's promised that the competition's victor will win a piece of land in Entropia Universe he estimates as being worth at least $20,000. Further, all the finalists will be entitled to an all-expenses paid trip to Miami, where they will be filmed for the reality show.
This is ballsy stuff. While Entropia Universe has hundreds of thousands of players and a healthy cash economy backed by its publisher, MindArk, most people have never heard of it. In the virtual worlds arena, for example, it is far overshadowed by its cousins, Second Life and World of Warcraft.
Yet, Jacobs has been single-handedly taking the mantle of publicizing the game, what with his monumentally expensive purchases. Some of his touting of the game, in fact, has led some to suspect him of being a paid shill for MindArk, though he has sworn on the Bible to me--OK, not literally--that that is not true.
I should note, for full disclosure, that earlier this year, Jacobs sat on a panel I moderated at the Austin Game Developers Conference. Neither one of us were paid for the appearance.
In any case, it is interesting to note that both Jacobs and MindArk are sponsors of this tournament, and so it does once again beg the question of the full extent of his relationship with the company. But I believe that he is just a huge fan of the game who is willing to put a great deal of his own money on the line in order to play the game, (hopefully) profit from it and promote it.
And will a reality show about the competition work? Well, I have my doubts. But then again, Jacobs seems to strike gold time and again, so I wouldn't put success in this venture past him.