Browser-based MMOG Glitch is to close next month, developer Tiny Speck has announced.
In a post on the game’s website, the studio confirms that Glitch will be shut down on December 9 because of a lack of players. Much of that, the post admits, is down to how much online gaming has changed, with the rise of mobile in particular making it hard for a browser-based Flash game to stand out.
“Unfortunately, Glitch has not attracted an audience large enough to sustain itself, and based on a long period of experimentation and our best estimates, it seems unlikely that it ever would. Glitch was very ambitious and pushed the limits of what could be done in a browser-based game… and then those limits pushed back.
“For many of us at Tiny Speck, the creation of something like Glitch was a long-held dream. There’s no better word than ‘heartbreaking’ to describe what it feels like to have to do this. And we know that for many of you who poured your creativity, energy and imagination into Glitch and the community, it will be heartbreaking as well. We are sorry to have let you down.
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to play with you. The game was absolutely preposterous. And yet, we kind of liked it.”
It’s a sad end for a game for which we had high hopes. Tiny Speck was set up by Stewart Butterfield, a co-founder of photo sharing website Flickr, and a few months after it entered beta in April 2011 the studio hired Keita Takahashi, creator of Katamari Damacy. Earlier this year Robin Hunicke, co-founder of Journey developer Thatgamecompany, joined the studio.
Plenty of pedigree on the development staff, then, but the game’s life was a troubled one. Barely two months after Glitch’s official launch last year Tiny Speck put it back into beta, with Butterfield admitting “fairly radical changes to core game mechanics are going to be necessary to make Glitch what it needs to be.”
Sadly, those changes weren’t enough to attract and retain enough players to keep the game running. Recent purchases will be refunded automatically; older ones will be done manually, with Tiny Speck pointing players to a dedicated refund information page. There’s a lengthy FAQ, too, about the closure, including the below response to the question ‘Why why why why?’
“We had ambitious goals to create a crazy, beautiful, worthwhile game with a wide audience that would be very successful, both creatively and financially – and therefore make lots of money for our employees and for our investors.
“But we only managed to make a crazy, beautiful game.”