Game talkGoogle Lively is shutting down

 Posted by (Visited 7210 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Nov 192008
 

Google Kills Lively, says TechCrunch, and speculates that it is because it never drove sufficient traffic. Lively did get moderately bad reviews around the Net when it launched, but even the traffic that TechCrunch shows on its graph would be a respectable daily user number, if the product could monetize.

Google’s statement is here.

…we’ve also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off.

That’s why, despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we’ve decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business.

They also encourage users to “capture” their hard work in building their rooms “by taking videos and screenshots.” Ouch. Meanwhile, users are gathering in rooms with names like “Lively is Murdered.”

A bad sign for virtual spaces? Nah — look at the latest figures for investment that Jussi Laakkonen gathered. There’s a very bright future ahead still, for the right products.

  18 Responses to “Google Lively is shutting down”

  1. It’s a pity… if they’d properly leveraged their position and resources, they could’ve made Lively into a big thing – but they weren’t really willing to commit to the concept.

  2. Doesn’t surprise me terribly, actually. Lively just wasn’t usable. They were selling it as a “browser-based” world, but it required a download and then too 20-30 minutes to load a room. What’s more, it had kind of wonky controls – this just shows what happens when you deprioritize usability.

  3. Total speculation, but the corps of the world are in “batten down the hatches” mode, and Google’s dependence on ad revenue can’t bode well in a market where advertising is likely to take a big hit. I’d imagine that any of the “experiments” within the company are at risk. My guess is that it was one of the first of more victims of a budget squeeze.

  4. This doesn’t surprise me (although I thought it would take longer), as I couldn’t understand the fit between Lively and Google’s overall goals. Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. How did Lively support that mission?

    If Lively would have been more like Metaplace (a platform for collaboratively building information-crunching games, like the ESP image tagging game http://www.gwap.com/gwap/), then I could see how it would fit in.

  5. This doesn’t surprise me (although I thought it would take longer), as I couldn’t understand the fit between Lively and Google’s overall goals.

    This.

    Google was right to experiment in the space, but staying in it wouldn’t have been a good idea. If they figure out a way to index and search a virtual world of some caliber, then that’s where they should go, but hosting worlds is too early in the game. If they’re not going to provide the technology to make it ridiculously cheap and easy, then they should wait for someone else to.

  6. This is good news for me – I could never get it out of my head that it wasn’t called “Friendly”.

    Richard

  7. Some corporations are ill suited to run clubs. Caveat emptor.

    Screenshots and videos won’t do it. How many of these big “oh wow look who got into this let’s all run over there geez it failed what now”s have to take the content down the crapper with them before the artists get wise to the why of open unencumbered format standards?

    Doesn’t it rankle the graphics heads that the technical writers are smarter than they are?

  8. The problem is, considering virtual worlds are all about getting people to invest in them, if even google are going to smack you in the face at a moments notice then as a user how much faith do you have in smaller startups?

    Lots of investors demanding money returns actually means lots of worlds that are going to go bang in the near future, just like this. They are all aiming to be top dogs, many of them will become average dogs then piss all over their users by shutting down…

  9. [...] by Scott Jennings on November 20, 2008 As seen on Raph Koster’s site, Google Lively is shutting its doors next month. It has been a tough decision, but we want to [...]

  10. Google doesn’t get online communities. Part of that is that they won’t hire the experts in the field because of arbirary requirements. Part of it is design huberis.

    Nothing new – Google isn’t the only one that had this problem. :-)

    Randy

  11. Not hard to predict (cf. July 9th, 2008 at 5:00 pm). Internally it needed a “pre-mortem”.

  12. Doesn’t it rankle the graphics heads that the technical writers are smarter than they are?

    Doesn’t it rankle the tech writers that graphic artists get dates?

    But full agreement on open standards. Lively users should at least be able to make a corpse run.

    (For the record I’m trained as a writer/artist, currently working as a vba developer, and strictly neutral in coder/writer/artist disputes except to get a cheap laugh).

  13. I was a tech writer and I got lots of dates. One of them was to a marriage ceremony. Then I got assignments. Ok, I was also a nightclub musician but that NASA badge sure took the quality up a notch. Cheap thrills AND security for the future are the winning combination.

    But yeah, I can’t imagine how any serious business person would spend money on a virtual world without knowing there was a way to recover the content, the one true definition of ownership: picking up the ball and leaving. VRMLers may be furry but all of our content is still working. Only a small handful of other 3D real-time systems can make that claim. I can’t even tell if Collada has a future and it is a rather good solution for some problems.

    Oh yes, IBM will save us!!

    Dumb and dumber.

  14. “Doesn’t it rankle the graphics heads that the technical writers are smarter than they are?”

    “Doesn’t it rankle the tech writers that graphic artists get dates?”

    Pssh, I’m trained as a technical writer -and- a graphic artist. Clearly best of both worlds. ;-)

  15. The Livelyzens (Lively users) are coming together to appeal to Google to keep Lively alive.
    Lively is a great platform for interaction as well as creativity. It is easy to use, browser based, embeddable on webpages to bring a 3D experience right on your website. While Lively has been in beta and has limited capability in terms of the objects and avatars available, the Livelyzens have been able to come up with very creative ways to create art from what is available. All this in a “clean” 3D world thanks to Google’s vigilance in getting rid of rooms with inappropriate content. More than anything, Lively has become a place to make friends for life – from all over the world with wonderful people.

    Please visit our website http://livelyzens.com and participate in the Lively Machinima contest we are conducting to show the creative potential of Google Lively. Please also sign our online petition http://livelyzens.com/petition.aspx

    We request netizens to support us in reviving a wonderful 3D world that is a kid friendly and a creative space for art and interaction amongst adults.

  16. [...] for those feeling a bit displaced by the loss of the virtual environment, I tend to agree with Raph Koster’s post on the subject – this is a still growing field. Share and [...]

  17. [...] for those feeling a bit displaced by the loss of the virtual environment, I tend to agree with Raph Koster’s post on the subject – this is a still growing [...]

  18. [...] X-Ray Kid, for their part, updated just days ago saying they were at work on “a large number of different, diverse and wonderful projects,” so presumably they’ll survive the blow. More discussion on the closing can be found at virtual worlds blog Terranova and at Metaplace creator Raph Koster’s blog. [...]

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