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Online gaming site Barrysworld.com has posted notice of voluntary liquidation. The site has run out of money and it's been unable to persuade its shareholders to shell out more cash in what is a horrible investment climate.

The four-year-old site will stay up and running (with luck) until the end of this month and there is a creditors' meeting on 5 February. Until then, the company is being run effectively by Fisher Partners, an insolvency specialist.

Barrysworld got its first and now it appears last slug of financing just nine months ago. At the time we wrote that the company had received a downpayment of £1 million from 3i and was set to get another £1 million at the end of the year. Barrysworld was also seeking investment of a further £1 million. We wonder whether it even got that second £1 million.

Barrysworld employs 35 and - apparently - has some potential, unnamed bidders in the frame. Prior to its collapse, the company tried - and failed - to sell itself to Gameplay, our sources say.

According to a email newsflash from CTW, a trade magazine for the UK games publishing and retail industry,

By the end, Barrysworld had grown into the "largest online gaming hub in Europe," pulling in 300,000 plus players, and over 160 million page impressions per month, according to the official press release announcing the company's demise.

And Barrysworld co-founder TedTheDog has his say here. Free online gaming is an unviable business model, he says - but he's convinced that there is a successful business to be found in Barrysworld. But unless a buyer is found, everything - servers, leagues, email accounts, guides, reviews, etc, etc, etc - will come to a halt on 31 January.

It's a real shame that Barrysworld, an excellent site (and British to boot), has joined the titsup.com crowd. News of its collapse follows hot on the heels of difficulties experienced by a number of other gaming sites, following much lower banner ad deals imposed by online advertising networks in recent weeks. ®

Bootnote

Last week Barrysworld denied it had run out of cash.

We spoke to company director and man in charge of the site Antonio Covelli on Wednesday. We asked if he could confirm rumours that the site had run out of money. "No, there is no problem with money," said Antonio.

But we'd heard that you were looking for more backing. "There is no problem and I don't understand where you heard this from," he said.

So the site is continuing as usual? "Yes, there is no problem and the site will be running as usual," he told us.

Asked today why he'd said what he'd said, Antonio claimed that he hadn't - until we read out our notes. "When I spoke to you it was a legal requirement that I didn't say anything," he told us. "I couldn't disclose anything by law." ®

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