November 21st, 2008

Yes, that sad day has come, when Google’s animated chat rooms virtual world Lively has officially announced it’s closing. Surely you’ll remember my Economist article about how Lively was a flop from day one — surely, right? — which got me some heat at the time from fellow virtual world scholars and Google team makers alike. Of course, I’m not shocked to see things going this way. Here’s the word from the Lively site:

That’s why, despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we’ve decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business. Lively.com will be discontinued at the end of December, and everyone who has worked on the project will then move on to other teams.

I’ve sent an email to my Lively pal developer Mark Young, but have yet to hear back. I’m personally curious what made Google decide to shut down the project, instead of walking away from it and letting the few users left frolic in the absence of supervision. Most likely it’s because they feel like they’re responsible for the quality of all their products, and they’d rather kill the world that leave it outstanding of a place of general un-goodness. Crazy, right? Bye bye annoying Lively cybersex interface. Bye bye awkward wall porn.

Tags: virtual worlds

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