Glitch Unlaunched, Back To Beta

By Jim Rossignol on December 1st, 2011 at 8:15 am.


The Glitch blog announced: “Two months ago we launched Glitch to the world. Now we’re unlaunching it.” The problem is, apparently, that it’s just not fun enough. The team explain: “making radical changes to core game mechanics is something that’s a lot harder to do while the front doors are open and we have to focus on scaling to support growth, stability and providing the quality of service we aim to achieve for the live game. Going back to beta will let us make the changes that need to be made. And so we’re “unlaunching” — and going back to beta.” These things are always complicated, but hopefully the quirky 2D MMO can survive this and be the game it was supposed to be.

Read our review of the launched game here.

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17 Comments »

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  1. Untruth says:

    Just going to find my unsurprised face, back in a minute.

    • Ravenholme says:

      I seem to have left mine somewhere with my first coffee.

      Ah well, best of luck to them.

    • mistwolf says:

      I disagree and think it’s quite surprising. Not in that the original release was lacking, but that they are taking this kind of step to fix it. Most companies these days, it feels like, would either write it off, or pretend there was nothing wrong until they’d milked it as much as they can.

      I can’t think of many companies, if any, that have taken the step of going back to beta. It’s something only available, I guess, in the most recent of online games. I hope it works and works well, it would set a nice precedent of not having to be all or nothing.

    • Untruth says:

      It’s a fair point, I think the issue with Glitch is that it has been based around a lot of assumptions from a fundamental design perspective which are more often than not, incorrect or at worst arrogant.

      So, you’re right that it’s nice to see that they are self-aware enough to take a step back. I just don’t know whether the premise was strong in the first place.

  2. squidlarkin says:

    Whoa. Seriously bold.

    And I guess they’ve gotten my interest back.

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    Okami says:

    I guess it had too many glitches?

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    That’s surprisingly honest. I don’t know much about the game but there are so many broken games coming out these days, that no matter how bad it is with Glitch, this is a gesture I very much appreciate, and other developers should take it into account.

    • Matt says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘broken’ but Glitch isn’t broken from a technical standpoint at all. The design, however….

    • Bob Sacamano says:

      If it’s an issue with game design then I doubt going back to beta will fix anything. Not without some serious heart surgery at least.

    • Merus says:

      Well considering the idea was that players would cooperatively build out the game universe and the reality is that you click on objects to tediously gather supplies and you can’t actually build very much, I’d imagine that the design is not in fact matching up with the vision.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    Copy paste from my comment in the review story –

    $17M of venture funding has gone into this. What a fucking waste.

  6. Unaco says:

    Wasn’t this made by Venture Capitalists? And the foundrs of Flickr? It seems to me they were trying to make a new phenomena, the next big thing, rather than trying to make a game.

  7. InternetBatman says:

    I don’t think Beta works that way. I could be wrong, but I think that Beta is about adjusting the systems you have, not redesigning the core of your product.

    Also, you can’t unring a bell. Are they even actually going back to beta? Will people stop having to pay for their subscriptions? They have a refund policy in place for bought items, but that’s a huge difference from an unlaunch.

  8. passingstranger says:

    What exactly are they supposed to be making?

    Because everything I’ve seen made it appear to be not much more than a desperate attempt at creating something that mimics Farmville-esque monotonous tasks for imaginary rewards except with other people there. Seems a tad overconfident to think that relaunching it later will make that fun.

  9. cptgone says:

    Glitch is a feelgood game, quirky and full of innuendo’s aimed at adults. i really enjoyed playing it, allthough i can see why many people didn’t. i hope it survives.

  10. impeus says:

    @Unaco – yes, founders of Flickr, but they first made Game Never Ending (in fact if you poke around Flickr enough you find files/pages with a .gne extension) which had a similar feel to Glitch in many ways – the exploration, object collection and community. It was the community/sharing element of GNE that spawned Flickr.

  11. Synesthesia says:

    it’s like a cancerous polip that fell out of facebook’s ass. Let it die. I loved the idea, and the fact that Keita Takahashi was working on it, but after 10 minutes of play, the farmvilleness of it just made me want to hurt something.

    When can we have the next noby noby boy or katamari?