Flickr Founder Stewart Butterfield founded Vancouver’s Tiny Speck in early 2009 along with three of the original members of the Flickr team.
A couple months later, and to no one’s surprise, Tiny Speck raised $5 Million in Series A funding from Accel Partners and Andreessen Horowitz.
In September of 2011 Tiny Speck officially launched Glitch, the materialization of Stewart Butterfield’s gaming vision—a side-scrolling MMO described as a “cooperative exercise in world building”.
Three months later Tiny Speck announced that Glitch was being unlaunched. It turns out the developers have recognized that there are some things that the game lacks.
This evening it looks like the final chapter of the Glitch story has been filed. Glitch’s homepage has been replaced with the sad announcement that Glitch is closing.
This is a horrible day. This is a horrible thing to have to say: Glitch is closing. The live game/world will be closed on December 9th at 8pm Pacific time. The website and forums will remain available until the end of the year, so players can still communicate and find each other. Glitch HQ, the Glitch API and third party applications which rely on the Glitch API will become unavailable at the same time as the website closure.
Why? According to tonight’s announcement, “Glitch has not attracted an audience large enough to sustain itself and based on a long period of experimentation” and according to Tiny Speck’s best estimates, it never will.
It seems the prevailing technological trends—the movement towards mobile and the continued decline of the Flash platform on which Glitch was built—were enough to do Glitch in. “Glitch was very ambitious and pushed the limits of what could be done in a browser-based game … and then those limits pushed back”.
Tiny Speck has posted the names of 30 now-former employees (along withLinkedIn profiles) in need of a job and is encouraging others to hire them.
Butterfield has clarified on his personal Twitter account that “Tiny Speck is not closing, just Glitch” and that there will be more to say about that in the future.
While it’s a sad day for Tiny Speck employees and Glitch fans, it should be very interesting to see what Butterfield and his Tiny Speck team come up with next.