How long before something in the virtual world space can be labeled a flop? At launch? Shortly after launch? When it leaves beta? I have some ideas for my own flop meter and so does The Economist which is not only calling Lively a flop, but “such a flop.” At the end of the article a member of the Google Lively team admits there are problems but isn’t waving a white flag:
Google denies that it is beaten yet. Mark Young, a member of the Lively team, admits that it has a lot of problems: crashes, log-in difficulties and hard-to-read text. When asked what he hopes to tweak, he says: “Everything. Much of the user interface is not as complete or polished as planned in designs.” He promises a round of updates soon.
It was only last month that we wrote about Lively’s launch [VTOR search for "Lively"] and I’ll admit to only being back a few times since. Today before publishing this article I returned again to see if I’ve missed anything new. I’ve checked the box several times to “remember me on this computer” and yet every time I’ve returned on this computer all the information is blanked out and the Lively login doesn’t remember me:
Guessing this is what the Google Lively team member means by “log-in difficulties.” It’s ironic that yesterday VTOR author Evansmom was talking about login difficulties with Second Life. Darius and I were talking on Skype about technical problems that have plagued Second Life for as long as we can remember.
How long before Second Life can be labeled a flop?
Or maybe Second Life is already a flop in your book? I know a couple of the VTOR authors have moved on from Second Life, dismissing it as failing to hold their interests. I’m holding on — barely. Logging in a few times a week, hoping to get re-energized over the service. I think the only major thing holding my interest is my friend connections in world and waiting for the server side software to be made open source like the client.
Signs seem to be pointing to Second Life flopping already, as it continues a downward trend of losing paid accounts. Personally, I think Second Life missed its golden opportunity in 2007 to be the next big thing. What we’ve been seeing in 2008 is a slow, painful slide toward obscurity. The opensim integration stuff is interesting, but might not be enough.
When or if the last of my friends leaves and turns out the lights, I don’t see anything that will keep me there any more. Linden Lab can still make one big last push by making the server open source, as they’ve promised repeatedly to do, but if they don’t hurry it might be too late.
Do you consider Second Life a flop? Would love to hear your answer in the comments below and/or via trackback from your blog.
Vivaty wants to avoid being a flop, plans ability to be embedded in websites and blog
I wasn’t too excited that Vivaty was only available through AIM and Facebook and according to Vivaty CEO Keith McCurdy, within the next two months Vivaty will be available as an embed in websites and blogs like Lively allows. It’s ironic considering The Economist’s flop talk to see McCurdy tell Reuters that Lively has validated the virtual world in a browser model:
McCurdy said Google’s presence only validates Vivaty’s idea. “Before we launched, people asked: Why be in the browser?” he said. “After Google launched — or echo-launched — we get almost none of those questions.”
Clearly, flop status is a subjective thing.