Lively Is Dead

Sadly, however, it also sucks.

In any case, there is a negative effect about the failure of Google to keep alive a virtual world. With Google being acclaimed as the company that does magic with its development team, the next giant to (finally) overthrow Microsoft (who, in turn, have overthrown IBM), many analysts will claim that the problem is not with Google — but with 3D virtual worlds. So expect that soon you’ll read all sorts of articles on how “it is impossible to monetarise virtual worlds — not even Google managed that”. There will be harsh criticisms on all virtual world evangelists, all pointing to how “even Google can fail”, and how in this brave new order under a financial crisis, virtual worlds are simply the wrong horse to bet.

Well, even with all the terribly bad decisions recently made by Linden Lab, the plain and simple truth is that LL makes money out of Second Life. A lot of money — enough to support five offices and 300 employees, and even make a profit. They won’t ever be filthy rich like Blizzard with World of Warcraft, but in less than five years, they will certainly be able to repay back the original investment — which was not that high anyway (Spore, with two million copies sold, had a development budget five times larger than Second Life, and took about three years and a half to go from “announcement” to “product on the shelves”).

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