Google’s Lively is Dead – Requiem to be Announced Soon

by Alphaville Herald on 20/11/08 at 10:28 pm

Internet ad agency discontinues virtual robot closet sex platform to focus on core business, spend more time with family

by By Sigmund Leominster

Sig_2Reports of Lively’s death turn out not to have been exaggerated after all. After the fanfare, hoop-la, bell and whistles of the Second Life killer’s opening, Google have just announced that Lively is dead. Well, if not death, in the terminal stages and destined to limp on flaccidly until the end of the year.

Back in September, Lively’s project director, Kevin Hanna, it was at the Austin Game Developers Conference where he announced that, “Our user-base exceeded every number that we had put down. So, in that sense, our beta is more successful than most launched products.” Tragically, the “success” was simply the ability to generate enough curiosity for people to visit the world at least once. The “New Frontier” turned out to be little more than a side road with nothing at the end of it and bugger all to look at on the way.

Hanna also pointed out that, “Google has no interest in virtual dollars. It’s never been our intent to make money that way.” Well, at least they got that one right.’s site analytics engine showed that Lively peaked at around 370,000 unique visitors in August 2008, but then dropped to 100,000 by September and stood at around 75,000 in October – about one night in Second Life on a busy evening. With Google’s stock price having dropped on a monthly basis since June 2008, from around 600 to under 300, it’s no surprise that projects that don’t offer any sort of return on investment would be facing the chop. Poor Lively didn’t really stand much of a chance.

So here, in full, is the official statement from Google:

“In July we launched Lively in Google Labs because we wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways. Google has always been supportive of this kind of experimentation because we believe it’s the best way to create groundbreaking products that make a difference to people’s lives. But 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. will be discontinued at the end of December, and everyone who has worked on the project will then move on to other teams.

We’d encourage all Lively users to capture your hard work by taking videos and screenshots of your rooms.”

Oh the humanity! Or avataranity. An entire world reduced to two paragraphs, one sentence, and an exhortation to take pictures before extinction. [you mean Google isn't going to cache this? - the Editrix]

The collapse of The Sims Online earlier this year lead to an influx into Second Life of refugees. Are we about to see Lively dwellers start making virtual rafts and drifting across the inter-metaversal seas to set up new immigrant communities here? Do we even want “those people” moving into our Openspaces, taking up all the camping jobs, and frightening the child avatars with their strange looks and funky haircuts?

Should anyone be planning to hold a funeral in Lively before December 31st, please send me an invite. Hey, last chance to wear those awesomely bad outfits.

13 Responses to “Google’s Lively is Dead – Requiem to be Announced Soon”

  1. Anonymous

    Nov 20th, 2008

    Ok, I’ve never had much interest in other games / worlds before. SL and then OpenSim were the first (well second if you count a 20 minute stint Red Light) that I’d tried and they stuck. Out of curiosity I decided to try Lively after reading about its demise. In all honesty no wonder its shutting down! People complain about the SL user interface being bad? Lively is a joke! I’ve never seen such an abomination of usability and design! Excuse me while I go barf! :P

  2. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Nov 21st, 2008

    Lively’s name was always going to be bitterly ironic from the moment it began, because virtual worlds are generally anything but lively, and they’ll stay that way as long as they continue to be controlled by a central organisation and its financial interests.

    SL will continue to be a dull little hole in which the only amusements are griefing, making a few extra dollars to spend online, and ofcourse, animated cybersex.

    Lively didn’t truely cater to any of these 3 key areas, and so it offered nothing but a pointless 3D chatroom.

  3. Anonymous

    Nov 21st, 2008

    lively sucked, nothing of value was lost.

  4. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Nov 21st, 2008

    The only place I ever visited was the ballyhoo’d SL Herald office in Lively. Never bothered going back…

  5. 2 cents

    Nov 21st, 2008

    As the U.S. and Global economies go – so does the virtual rip-off!
    Multi-trillion dollar devaluation of retirement accounts. About 70% of working Americans have some sort of retirement savings. Many see balances less than half of what they had in Dec ’07/Jan ’08.
    Job losses totalling more than 1 million and projected to approach 2 million in the U.S. – just this year alone.
    Interest rates (= cost of money) are tanking worldwide. Even saving doesn’t pay anymore.
    Personal Savings Rate (rate at which folks save a part of their after tax dollars) in the U.S. is not just zero but effectively NEGATIVE if you consider the lack of saving coupled with the huge amount of borrowing (money borrowed on second mortgages as one example) and now the evaporation of those previously perceived HIGH home VALUES which wipes out the 2nd mortgage VALUE.
    Home values in the U.S. averaging 60 – 70% of what they were at the most recent peak; some markets experiencing a greater than 50% drop in value since ’05.
    Price of OIL on the slide and projected to hit as low as $30 to $40/barrel in the coming months.
    The cost of war = approx. 10 Billion/month to the United States – just for Iraq.
    ~ all in all ~
    The perception of WHAT is VALUABLE is dramatically changing worldwide.

    You’d best re-think your strategy of where to put your money!

    You’d best re-evaluate what constitutes VALUE in entertainment and discretionary spending!

    You’d best get back to basics and ditch the virtual bullshit!

    You’d best GET REAL
    and get a f’n grip!
    Linden Research will fail in 2009

    Bank On It…

    (that last bit was a PROTIP btw)

  6. CC

    Nov 21st, 2008

    There is always Yoville on MySpace…haha

  7. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Nov 21st, 2008

    @2cents: “You’d best re-think your strategy of where to put your money!”

    Kuwaiti Dinars, gogogo!

  8. markbyrn

    Nov 21st, 2008

    Can’t shed any tears over the loss of this flop, and I’m already over-saturated on Google goodness.

    < >

    Lead the way! Toss the computer out & join a survivalist sect to prepare for the end of civilization.

  9. 2 cents

    Nov 22nd, 2008

    “Kuwaiti Dinars, gogogo!”
    Fuck’n “A” Yeah!

    - or maybe we should start sponsoring them Somali Pirates hijackin them oil tankers -

  10. Harvey Wallbanger

    Nov 22nd, 2008

    Real and adult like is the key. That looks like a “game” for adolescents. If SL was trying to attract with the look of the Jetsons, it wouldn’t have worked at all either. Artists create “real” looking items. And the closer and more realistic it is, the better.

    Maybe Google should have taken a closer look at what people wanted before creating a kids game. A cartoon won’t work with adults for the most part. The more realistic, the more creative, the better.

  11. 2 cents

    Nov 22nd, 2008

    …and what? sl ISN’T cartoon like?

    Get a f’n grip!

  12. Pappy Enoch

    Nov 23rd, 2008

    Flipper dun sed:

    “You’d best get back to basics and ditch the virtual bullshit!

    You’d best GET REAL and get a f’n grip!”

    Yu know, that am sum furst-rate advice. As the wirld goes tu hell in a hand-truk, I plans on drinkin’ more. I reckon the gutters am a-gonna be full o’ Linden employees rite soon, so I won’t freeze tu deth.

  13. Harvey Wallbanger

    Nov 23rd, 2008

    “…and what? sl ISN’T cartoon like? Get a f’n grip!”

    I agree. Most don’t take the time or have the skills to create good content. However, there are many who can and do and not all of it
    is “cartoonish”. The real reason people come back to SL (or had in the past until this last year), was that they had an admiration for others work, creativity, and achievements. SL does have its realistic and progressive side if that is what you are interested in. If not, it certainly has it’s share of cartoon type of work.

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