Apr 232009

Club Cooee went open beta today… and it looks like a better-done Lively, but running on your desktop as a widget. Basically, it turns the VW experience into a desktop IM client. Or vice versa, perhaps — they describe themselves first and foremost as a messenger client.

Looks like it’s free, depending entirely on the sale of virtual currency for monetization (they run a two-currency system, like most virtual worlds do today). You can buy items and animations, and build your own rooms to some degree. My favorite feature, though, is drag and drop sharing of music and pictures from your desktop.

There’s gaming pedigree here — the company was founded by the guys who did The Settlers and AquaNox.


 Posted by (Visited 7554 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jan 052009

Newlively is a VRML-based clone of Lively, based out of China. And I mean clone, they claim one done in a month. Not yet feature complete to match the original, but apparently actually backed by a company with funding (though the website doesn’t say who).

Not surprisingly, looks like there’s Lively folks moving over already.

We are often emotionally moved by thoughts of past experiences and occasions. Likewise, if we could create a cyberspace environment and an Avarat where users are already familiar, we help lessen the impact of loneliness and disappointment. After the closure of Lively, there is no greater happiness than to duplicate Lively for the sake of the Lively users. We understand that this activity would generate a certain degree of legal risk. However, whenever I remember the disheartenment and disappointment of that many Lively users, this risk is worth taking and the users will support us. Google is a great company. Its greatness develops upon quality customer care. What we create is similar to Google Lively, which the users like. Based on this, there should be no problems. We want to prove it. Google Lively’s concept is great and good. Besides, we are not using any codes whatsoever from Google Lively. The entire platform was created new from scratch. Only the concept and the interface remained as Google Lively and the amount of work involved in doing this was quite insignificant in comparison to the creation of the entire system. Moreover, in our understanding of the kinds of platforms, copyright privileges should go to the content providers. As long as these content providers are willing to transfer the platform to Newlively, there will be no issues.

— from the FAQ

Google Lively is shutting down

 Posted by (Visited 9135 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.

AGDC08 / WiM: Google Lively keynote

 Posted by (Visited 7600 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Sep 162008

Liveblog, hurried and it was hard to hear and muffled so lots of typos and elisions.

Kevin Hanna, Creative Director, Google Lively

About a year ago the first rumors hit about Lively. My favorite was one where some bloggers decided to debunk the rumor, presenting arguments as to why Google would never go into this space. At the end the question is why would Google do this?

So we are here to answer the question of why is Google in this space?
Continue reading »


 Posted by (Visited 8565 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jul 172008

WebFlock screenshot

The Electric Sheep Company has launched WebFlock, which is an “under 100k/year” Flash-based solution for building white-label virtual worlds. ESC will do the hosting and presumably the work of making the world; their first customer is the TV show The L-Word.

Many of the articles and commentary are comparing it to Lively, but the comparison seems wrong to me — Lively is aimed at end users making small spaces, whereas this seems more like it’s up against SmartFoxServer and ElectroServer as a white-label solution. It will fill a nice niche there, given the radically different style of the visuals — the other two seems to lean towards kids’ worlds.

I would expect to see more adult IP (TV shows, movies, businesses) using this sort of platform for their virtual world presence, rather than embedding their presence inside of a single world.