Why did Glitch End?

Hello All,
I am a new member on the eleven front, but I was an avid Glitcher. I was wondering if anyone had insight into why Glitch officially ended their program? I've been wondering since it closed and I didn't understand why.

♥ NightFury


  • there may be many various responses to this..
    some may be true.
    i hated when it went down and am now glad it may come back
    but i just try to look ahead and always wonder why.
  • I think it was because they didn't have enough funding to continue the glitch world. If anyone knows I am wrong, please tell me so, because I don't know for certain.
  • funding is probably the most true answer.
    The ginormous amount of code it took!!!!
    those guys built probably the best game ever (it may not be completely duplicated, ever) and never made a dime.
  • I know that near the end when the programmers were planning on ending the game people offered donations and they could have raised a lot of money that way, but I believe they chose not to.
  • I believe money was a big part of it--yes, there were offers of sales and donations, but those didn't come out to "tens of thousands of dollars per month," which is what they needed.

    But another part was the platform. As a flash-based game, it wasn't really able to be ported to mobile settings without a complete overhaul of everything, and even if they could've managed that, it would've needed to set locations as instanced instead of universal. Remember the lag? Imagine that lag with 10x as many players.

    They'd either need to deal with incredible lag all the time--or have instanced versions of places like Cebarkul, with perhaps no more than 50 or 100 glitchen in any one version; newcomers would jump to a new instance. That would make meeting friends and teleporting with people difficult. (It could be managed, but I can see that it'd be hard to sort out the code options for those cases. And it would drastically change how Ur worked.)

    I suspect Tiny Speck knew Glitch would have to close when they had the "invite your friends" feat and it flopped horribly. That told them that they weren't going to get the huge ballooning numbers of new players that they'd need to push from (second) beta to an open and thriving game in the long run.

    Glitch is *weird.* It's got no combat, so it doesn't appeal to all the gamers who prefer combat--which is probably the majority of them. It's got no substantial speed/agility skill contests--there's a few puzzles that require precision jumping, and a few things where timing matters, but nothing like a racing game. It allows for some amazing art--but not the open-ended style of Minecraft; you can build a tower in Glitch, but not a pyramid and surrounding villages. And the social atmosphere was friendly, mildly bawdy, and kooky, which those of us who stuck around love to pieces, but there's a reason that's rare in the gaming universe.

    In order to be the game we love so much, it can't appeal to the majority of paying gamers. What made Glitch precious and unique also made it unmarketable on a large scale.

    I'm constantly amazed and thrilled that Tiny Speck cared about the game enough to set all the pieces free so we can keep playing with them, and that they're supportive of a revival.
  • Thank you @Eris Lord Freedom! That explained a lot and I thought that the money offered wasn't enough near the end, but I hadn't really thought about the other pieces you mentioned. I also loved every social aspect of Glitch and teh "friendly, mildly bawdy, and kooky" atmosphere that it had to offer! :)
  • My impression was that the Flash issue was really the bigger of the two issues (although they tried to downplay it). The fact that they built on a platform that wasn't extensible/expandable enough for what they wanted to do with the game (having minimal locations that were instanced). I suspect they always had enough money to keep it there on Flash for what it was, but they realized they were going to need to port it over to something else to meet their vision and if they wanted to expand Ur. I suspect that port was going to cost a sizable amount of money (so, yea, it was sort of a money issue), as well as a pain in trying to get things ported over to a new system, and then trying to get players ported over without reseting, I'm sure would have been a nightmare.

    I also felt that blaming it on the 'invite a friend' alleged failure was pretty lame...all my friends were already playing the game, but there were still plenty of people out there that would have liked a niche game like this. But also, they never did that much to market it (there plenty of threads on gaming sites where people comment they had never heard of Glitch until it got the press from shutting down)...so they can't completely blame it on either the money angle or the invite a friend angle. I will agree a niche non-violent game isn't going to make the monster bucks like the other 99.9% of the combat/violent games that are out there, so if it was a 'big' money grab they were looking for, yea, then I'm sure it wasn't meeting their expectations.

    Heck, the Eleven team has been working on it as volunteers, and they are getting it back up and running. I always feel like the money excuse is a cop out answer, especially when stoot was pretty good about getting alternate funding. However, I do appreciate they put so much of the game into the open source world so developers like the Eleven team can rebuild it...and given that it's open source, the game hopefully can be maintained by volunteers for years to come.
  • edited January 2015
    The game was a niche game and it never had the following they had hoped for. They seemed to want to only depend on word of mouth though to get players and not advertise much , which never made sense to most of us. And yes stability issues as well as income. But when they made a the game they already knew they would have to switch it over to a different format at a later date that was somewhere on their website. Had it of made money most likely it would still be around as you can get more hardware and more staff if you have enough income. Upon closing the minimum $ figure given was it would have to bring in $500,000 each month and that was simply to break even. However somethings never made much sense, such as the staff was given no notice the game was closing they were in the dark as well as us, they gave everyone thier money back...while nice....if the staff is getting laid off.....why are you refunding everything?! They did care about thier game, it was one of the best games in that regard, and Tiny Speck did thier best to help find the old staff new jobs. But the ? that nags at me the most is Stoot isnt exactly lacking income wise, he sold Flickr to Yahoo and number of years back, when Game Neverending closed it was made from it, and now Slack was made from Glitch. While i agree that its great to use what fails to make something else what i wonder is if either project tried hard to succeed in the first place. Had they of been successful they would most likley still be here. But anyone can tell you that a add for Glitch was almost impossible to find. And we were told that they made adds, put them out there, they didint get much response so they just stopped making adds. This isnt a normal response from a game that wants to succeed. Normal would be put adds out get response, bad or good, you keep throwing adds at Game review sites, to get your game traffic. Plus Stoot was a philosophy major who works in silicon valley, its hard to not think that it wasnt designed to fail knowing the other stuff i already said
  • The most true answer is that there is no good reason that it ended, just unfortunate circumstances. There is no good reason Glitch ended, and so no good reason for Eleven not to begin.
  • Wasnt meaning for that to come across comepletly negative but yeah a lot of things never added up. That aside the simple answer is it wasnt making enough money and they had stability issues, plus what Pastel just said, and they were kind enough to release the assests, refund ppl thier money and help thier staff get new jobs which all 3 were things they did not have to do
  • The free access meant that subscribing was optional, and they just never got enough subscriptions to support the process. And as others have mentioned the Flash platform wasn't properly extensible.

    I don't expect him to use his personal money to support Tiny Speck; a solid business venture will support itself, and Glitch didn't do that for the financial/logistical reasons others have ably outlined. If it wasn't able to stand on its own two feet, for whatever reason, Stoot did the right thing closing it down. I've owned my own business (nothing like his stuff, of course), and if it wasn't succeeding but was sliding gradually and inevitably down the tubes, the last thing I'd do is put my own money into it. Hard-nosed, probably. But I thought he did an admirable job of executing a very difficult business decision and letting people go.
  • What I've always believed is that it came down to finances - shareholders expected the game to turn a profit, and it did not, so stoot was forced to pull the plug. Many of the devs have said themselves that Flash was the best platform available and HTML5 wouldn't have sufficed.

    I wrote a blog post awhile ago about this (http://wp.elevengiants.com/?p=77). The key thing that resonated with me with regards to mobile devices is this statement from Cal: "6) typing & playing on a tablet is pretty terrible
    glitch is not a game that was designed for or could work (as-is) on mobile"

    I tried playing the game on various Android and Windows tablets (one of which had an 11.6 inch screen). It's just not a touch-oriented game at all. Which I don't think is that big a deal, personally. League of Legends (I'll spare my personal thoughts on that game though, as a lot of people like it and I'll probably offend them) wouldn't work on a mobile device, and it does just fine without that ability. To be honest, any game with much more depth than Angry Birds just wouldn't work.

    Deepworld is a notable exception though. Although I'm *really* impressed that their developers pulled that off. I thought I'd mention it since I know a lot of Glitchen play it.
  • @Justin I play League in my free time, and nothing you can say about that game would offend me, since it's probably true. It's nice to pass the time with friends on when you ignore the fact that the general community is a bunch of inflammatory 13 year olds.
  • @Justin I personally find Deepworld on the iPad nothing short of a horrifying experience as far as the social features. It's so clunky and awkward. No idea which direction to swipe to get what you want, chat takes up way too much of the screen to really get involved if you're doing *anything* else. But then...I am not a huge mobile player. The few times I did play on the iPad, I wanted to throw it across the room. I am a desktop gamer. If you're JUST raiding or exploring a world, it's pretty decent...but that's the point. An MMO on a tiny screen is just going to be constrained at best.
  • edited January 2015
    Multitouch isn't an inherently better way to do all computing, just some kinds of computing. Imagine if since the 1970s, only touch interfaces had existed for all computing devices. Then, in 2007, a company introduced the first computer with a mouse and a keyboard. People would have gone nuts! They would marvel at how much better the mouse and keyboard is for writing long documents, performing complex tasks like video editing, and playing video games. There just isn't very much engagement you can have with an interactive world just by tapping a screen with your finger. Mobile gaming isn't better just because it's newer. Reviewers, fans, and sales figures all agree that console and PC games are better. Flappy Bird ain't no Grand Theft Auto V.
  • edited January 2015
    Concerning Glitch it did have an open Api and the craftybot if it had been completed / working right it was very buggy, was meant so you could give it commands from an App or the front page without always having to log the actual game. It wasnt perfected and so didnt get to that point upon closing anyway. There was also a market App if i recall correctly but the point was that the game itself really only works on a desktop or laptop computer, however tools to check up on the market or an additional way to acces the craftbot or the skill tree can or could, be apps or outside websites
  • Also, Butterfield stated that he had tried to sell Glitch but found no takers. I believe you might find that statement in the Forums somewhere. That shocked me as I had always felt that Glitch was more than a business, that it had some deep personal meaning for the partners and was not just a thing to sell and then move on. I still think that it did/does have a lot of meaning for them otherwise they probably would not have made the assets available in Creative Commons. Also, a lot of work was done by many creative people to make this a fantastic game. It must have been more than a view to profit.
  • And i wasnt meaning btw that Butterfield would of had to cover the bill himself, its more of a what were the actual issues thing i guess. Just lots of questions i guess in the end. Other than stabilty and income were not going to know, and rly were not meant to know either. Its just hard to not question things sometimes. However what Pastel said on the other thread makes the most sense, what they had invested in the game, too much overhead but not enough profit. This doesnt mean that it was necesssarily in trouble just not making enough profit fast enough. They alos had about 40 staff to pay for if i recall correclty. Eleven however has the puzzle pieces handed to them, plus what they built themsleves, and its volunteer based (at least for now anyway) It has a fan base that is like no other, and were a devout bunch. The Eleven team took the time, and determination to put the game back together. There isnt massive overhead nor investors wanting a certain profit margin now either.
  • edited January 2015
    As much as I love the idea of playing Glitch, or now Eleven, on my iPad, I don't think it would work - as others have said already - trying to have chats open and play - theres just not enough space etc. But what I think might be nice is perhaps an eleven app that can be played on tablets which still have an effect when you next log in to Eleven. For instance, if your home was accessible, but you couldn't go out. Or you could only plant crops / herbs in your garden. You could craft, fruit change, use machines organise your SDBs or something like that. So it wouldn't be Eleven in the same sense as it wouldn't include global chat etc but you'd still be able to do certain things while out and about and only able to use your mobile device. Perhaps there could be a seperate app for just being in 'Eleven' global chat so you can still connect with everyone as they play while you're out. ...... maybe we could end up with ..... 'Eleven' different apps .... farming, machine work, fruit changing, cooking, I'm sure we could come up with eleven that activities that could be done without interacting with the world - only accessing what you already gathered / stored / have in your bag. I know nothing about writing apps - or mixing apps and flash based games .... but it would be an awesome combination ;) - Sorry I guess this went quite off - topic but was thinking about in relation to thinking of the problems glitch faced which may have led to its closure :(
  • edited January 2015
    @ladyceres I never played much on a mobile device... I have the app on my iPhone, but I've never really touched it. I guess I just know deep down that MMO's are not meant for mobile devices. I'm mostly just impressed they even built such an app.

    @Pastel Forever This. As a developer, I'm not one of those people who could just live on a mobile device. I'd imagine most gamers are exactly the same.

    @The Pheebs I'd long wished for a Glitch chat app. I spent a *lot* of my in-game time just AFK'ing in my house and chatting, especially once I'd reached level 60 and gotten 500 or so of the easier badges. I sort of just "retired." xD
    I am in the process of learning iOS development now for my university capstone project (thank the Giants for Swift; it's less of a nightmare than Objective-C and dare I say it rivals C# now as my favorite language, but I still don't really care much for how the Cocoa API's are laid out...), so maybe someday I could look into this...
  • edited January 2015
    There was a App for checking up on and activating the skill tree in Glitch, cant remember if it was phone or ipad though. The craftybot had it of been working right / finished the idea was that you could tell it to do stuff from a App or the front page. And there were other sites you could check the Auction House (buy/sell) from, so probably could do a App for that too (there may of been one but i cant remember right now) But those would be different than anything your character would need to do as a individual in game harvesting etc. The craftybot pulled resources from what you had on your account to make what it made, the auction house was a seprate thing really, and the skill tree was simply accessed and activated from the App. This is different than activities youd need direct interaction with to do if you can see what i mean. It would also take away from ppl being active in the actual game if you could do everything vs stuff that just made it a bit easier , which Auction / Craftybot / Skill Tree are that, but they also arent things you do directly (its different if you can see what i mean , explanation on this kinda sucks lol)
  • @BribAnnie - I remember seeing the statement about trying to sell Glitch that you're talking about. I got the sense that it wasn't so much a cash-grab as an attempt to keep the game and the community going.
  • edited January 2015
    Hmm, just adding to the general discussion but I always wondered why they never considered putting ads in the game! I know I would have watched a fifteen second add every time I entered Ur if it meant the game stuck around. And that's a fairly invasive ad experience for the norm! And I'm sure tons of others would have been gleeful to have that experience if it meant Ur stuck around.

    But even shelving that there were never even banner ads in the forums! If money was an issue they were dealing with, partially I'd say shame on them for not selling out a little bit. I'd rather have a game with easily ignorable ads than no game at all!

    Though everything I've heard points to Glitch's shutdown being a more hydra type dilemma. A many headed monster of a problem where everything the devs did to make the game stable just brought up two more big issues. So, probably ads wouldn't have saved Glitch, but just another thing to wonder about!

    ~Liza Throttlebottom~
  • Also off topic, but if, years down the road, Eleven is mostly a success and grows but need more money... I sure hope we're not afraid to advertise to make the money we need to stay open :)
  • My two cents is that the magic would be gone the first time an ad for anything outside the game was played. I'd rather pay more to play and keep Ur to itself.
  • I disagree but to each their own I suppose :) Not saying I wouldn't have happily paid more to play, but of course that wasn't an option unfortunately :P
  • There's an good essay by synecdochic at http://synecdochic.dreamwidth.org/234496.html about monetizing through advertising and why it's generally a bad idea, but her basic point is that advertising makes the advertisers into the customers, and the site users into the product that is being delivered to them.
  • Yes, that. And that was 7 years ago, and internet advertising has not become more profitable in the meantime. For some sites it can be a small boost in income, but for most, it's just a way to annoy the paying customers in the hopes that the nonpaying ones will have enough traffic--and click on enough ads--to bring in money. It brings a swarm of extra issues--many ad services don't honor their contracts and only deliver ads of the right style: there are constant complaints of ads that pop up where they shouldn't or install malware, or are the wrong size, or annoyingly animated, or contain content that's inappropriate or offensive to the viewers. And of course, people like me on Firefox with adblock don't see them.

    I'm not morally opposed to the idea of ElevenGiants using advertising for extra income, but I don't see a way to implement it that doesn't cost more than it gains. Having *select* ads, rather than a general ad service, might be useful; I'm not sure what those ads would be (other than links to various Glitchy products that people have made, or an Amazon referral to specific items) but it's possible they could find a few of them. However, most people are going to develop a blind spot wherever the ads happen to show up on the page--after they've seen the first two or three, they won't notice them unless they get offensive. (Which is why ad companies keep making blinky ads and ones that seize your javascript.)

    I'm also not sure where they'd put ads; screen space is used fairly completely in many browsers, and players will not be refreshing the page if they can avoid it, which means they won't be seeing new ads.

    ElevenGiants might be better off with a donation button, and enough transparency to say "We need $X.xx to run the game this month, whether that's from paid services or outright donations."

    Heck, they could potentially even register as a nonprofit and get tax-deductible donations. It's a massive art project aimed at relieving distress and fostering community through whimsical activities; there have been less cohesive 501(c)(3)s in the past. (Official description of potential charitable purposes: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Exempt-Purposes-Internal-Revenue-Code-Section-501(c)(3) )
  • edited January 2015
    Adds are annoying and bring many issues with them, from annoying the customers to not following the agreement contract, to pulling your customers away to look at other sites....its just not worth the hassle. And its a stop gap measure for sites already in trouble to begin with. Adds on forums are liveable, adds during the game itself are a VERY bad idea IMO. It makes much more sense to emphasize what the site needs and ask for donations, than to do adds
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