Napster founder targets WOW for next project

Shawn Fanning to build virtual online community for online gamers; Blizzard's World of Warcraft to be first featured game.

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Shawn Fanning started a digital phenomenon when he built Napster, one of the original peer-to-peer file-sharing programs released on the Internet. Now Fanning is looking at another phenomenon, Blizzard Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, for his next project.

BusinessWeek Online is reporting that Fanning is planning to introduce Rupture, "a virtual social community for online gamers," sometime in the near future. The idea reportedly stemmed from Fanning's own troubles with communicating with other World of Warcraft players.

The MySpace for Azeroth will pull data directly from WOW and publish stats and information on a personalized page. Gamers will also be able to instant message while playing, as well as track the progress of their guilds and organize playing time with their online buddies.

Rupture will rely on ads for revenue and also focus on exchanging info on gamers' real lives, should they have one. WOW is the first game on the plate for Rupture, but no other titles have yet been mentioned.

Blizzard was unavailable for comment as of press time.

This isn't the first online community site planned around World of Warcraft. In July, an online dating site titled "World of Datecraft" invited night elves and others to mingle and find matches for some offline romance. The site has since been taken down.

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