'Pirates' life available via Disney Online

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NEW YORK -- Disney Online has launched its massively multiplayer game "Pirates of the Caribbean Online" after an extended run in beta mode.

The game, which is based on the Disney film franchise, features a virtual world where users can build pirate avatars, form communities and embark on online adventures. Characters from the three "Pirates" movies also will make appearances in the game, which launched Wednesday.

Disney originally announced the project in February, aiming for a spring launch around the time "At World's End," the third "Pirates" film, appeared in theaters. After several month of beta testing, though, the company said in July that it was targeting a fall launch.

Within that time, Disney made further inroads into the virtual worlds market with its purchase of Club Penguin in August in a $700 million deal.

Time Warner also has made a recent push into the arena. In September, Warner Bros. said that it was creating a virtual world based on its cartoon characters, and last month TBS signed a deal with tech firm Kaneva to develop virtual world offshoots of its properties.

"Pirates Online" will cost $4.95 to play for the first month and $9.95 for each additional month. It is available for Macs and PCs.
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