The June 2024 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Glitch (the Game) Bites the Dust

MMO game can’t make enough money

2 min read

Glitch (the Game) Bites the Dust

Late last week, word came out that the the massively multiplayer online (MMO) role playing game Glitch, which went live in September 2011, will be closing down in early December.

An article last year in, described Glitch this way: “Set in the minds of dreaming giants, the game's surreal, psychedelic visual style sets the stage for equally offbeat gameplay. Character skills include Bubble Tuning, Cocktail Crafting, and Bureaucratic Arts. New skills take real-world time to learn, with advanced skills requiring several hours of elapsed time. … Instead of combat grinding, the game emphasizes exploration, experimentation, and socializing. Missions and activities are completely non-violent (although one vegan player apparently took issue with the pig-nibbling element).”

While Glitch generated a lot of buzz at the time, the one thing it apparently wasn’t able to do was generate enough money to justify its $17 million investment.

In an FAQ page announcing Glitch’s demise, the creators of the game—a collective called Tiny Speck—said: “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. And, given the prevailing technological trends — the movement towards mobile and especially the continued decline of the Flash platform on which Glitch was built — it was unlikely to do so before its time was up. Glitch was very ambitious and pushed the limits of what could be done in a browser-based game...and then those limits pushed back.”

Under the “Why why why why?” FAQ, the group elaborated further: “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 create a crazy, beautiful game.”

The closing announcement also states that the live game/world will be closed on December 9th at 8pm Pacific time, whereas Glitch’s website and forums will remain available until the end of the year.  Automatic refunds for recent purchases will begin immediately, while those for older transactions will be done manually—from most recent to oldest—as quickly as possible.

The Conversation (0)