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
Reports 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.
Compete.com’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. Lively.com 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.