Cloud Party Quietly Departing Today

Pirates? Ahoy?

Today is the last day to enjoy Cloud Party, the browser based virtual world. The Cloud Party team announced back in January that they would be closing down after the team moved to Yahoo!

We’re excited to announce that the time has come for the Cloud Party team to start our next adventure. We are joining Yahoo! The last two years have been an incredible experience for everyone here. We’ve been continually amazed by your creativity and the worlds you’ve built and shared with us.

Cloud Party will continue to run until February 21, 2014.

Since that announcement there hasn’t really been more to add from the Cloud Party team, there are no end of the world parties being ran, there are no goodbye posts as of yet, the platform is quietly disappearing.

Panic

This isn’t like when City Of Heroes closed, I was quite upset about that even though I hadn’t played it for years. Of course the big reason for that was that I didn’t embrace Cloud Party in the same manner that I embraced City Of Heroes. That was part of the problem for Cloud Party, not that I didn’t embrace it, but that enough people didn’t embrace it.

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Another One Bites The Dust – Cloud Party To Close February 21st

Pirates? Ahoy?

In a not that surprising announcement, Sam Thompson has announced that Cloud Party will close on February 21st. I say not that surprisng because Cloud Party users had been commenting on the lack of updates during December, prompting Sam Thompson to say on the forums:

We see you’ve noticed how quiet we are. Things always seem to slow down around here this time of year, and this year is no exception. We’re going to pick it up a bit on the bug front over the next couple of weeks and make sure we are catching those. Be sure to use the in-world bug report feature, we try to follow the forums but sometimes bugs reported on the forums slip through the cracks.

Right now we are having another time of introspection while we figure out where we want to go next with Cloud Party. We will be talking with everyone more before the holiday break, so please be patient with us. Hope you are having a great holiday season so far!

Cloud Party had some wonderful concepts, some excellent building tools and being browser based meant that people didn’t have to fuddle around with a client. However they couldn’t quite gain enough traction to make an identity of their own for enough people to embrace the product in my view. Content creators were also shy of investing too much there as cashing out proved problematic due to new financial regulations.

The blog post says:

We’re excited to announce that the time has come for the Cloud Party team to start our next adventure. We are joining Yahoo! The last two years have been an incredible experience for everyone here. We’ve been continually amazed by your creativity and the worlds you’ve built and shared with us.

Cloud Party will continue to run until February 21, 2014. We want to support our community during this transition. In the interest of preserving your extraordinary Cloud Party creations, we’ve added export tools and written this guide to help you export your content. If you have any questions, please contact support.

We are privileged to have had so many wonderful users share ideas and creations. We are excited to bring our vision and experience to a team that is as passionate about games as we are. Thank you all for sharing in this journey with us, and we hope you stick around for what’s next!

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’ll stick around to see what they do with Yahoo! considering the steaming mess they’ve made of Flickr since May 2013, Yahoo! are not a company I have great faith in, but I will give anyone a fair chance and it may be that Yahoo! with the Cloud Party team do come up with something useful.

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2013 Reviewed

The challenge with a review of the year is to try and make it worth reading. There’s a balance between including information and including too much information. This year’s review is largely based on Second Life and my own posts, so there’s plenty of information that I will be missing. For those who want a more in depth review, Inara Pey has been reviewing 2013 too.

For me personally it was a difficult year, Reed, Dee, Izzy and TJ Linden all gave me wonderful support, even when I myself was more than a tad grouchy with them but I do appreciate the efforts they made to accommodate me.

This post is not as long as it looks, if you skip the pictures, links and embedded videos it won’t take as long to read as you may think at first glance. I did consider breaking this down in to different posts, as I did last year. However at the end of the day it is what it is, so it looks like it’s epic in length but it’s really not. However to aid people I’ve decided to go back to HTML school and create a table of contents! Hurrah.

Contents

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Where Next For Cloud Party?

The Cloud Party team have gone quiet during December. Indeed they’ve gone so quiet that Chic Aeon posted in the Cloud Party forum about it. This is a measure of the fact that the Cloud Party team and recently that has meant Cyn (nee Linden) Skyberg has been regularly blogging updates. I was so concerned that I went in search of answers.

Now a good place to find answers is from pirates, you give them some grog and they talk, so I found myself at Yarr Bay.

Not Buried Treasure

Grr bloody Flickr! I had to opt out of the new photo experience to grab the HTML code, IFrames for sharing photos? Seriously? Anyway, where was I? Oh yes searching for answers. At Yarr Bay I found a treasure chest, with a pirate hat, but alas no answer as to where the updates have gone.

So next I made my way to a more sensible location, I headed for Suburbia.

Suburbia

The good thing about Suburbia is that you get curtain twitchers, people who watch what is happening in the street, but they had no answers for me. They did not know why people weren’t talking. One person suggested that it’s the season to be merry and to not worry. However by nature I worry, I would have to go to somewhere much more dark.

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Second Life – It’s Not In The Game

Over at New World Notes Hamlet Au recently published a post about declining tier income for Linden Lab. In the post Hamlet argues that cutting tier prices is not the way forward, attracting new users is. I agree with him on the tier angle for now, cutting tier would drastically cut Linden Lab’s income. However I’ve long argued that Linden Lab need more income streams, Second Life is too reliant on tier. Hamlet argues that Second Life needs more users, but more users are not the answer to the tier conundrum on their own. They need to be incentivised to part with their money and tier is a barrier not an attraction.

Hamlet also makes the following comment:

So no, the future for Second Life isn’t private land — it’s new users, and new platforms, and radical experiments in how Second Life is used and designed. For instance, some Lindens have been trying to add game mechanics to Second Life for several years, but have been stymied by bureaucracy and fear of protests by a minority of hardcore “Second Life is not a game!” users. But as we keep seeing, something dramatic has to change, or the hemorrhaging will continue, until it no longer can.

The problem here is that game mechanics are not going to deal with the income issue, Linden Lab need new income streams which may in turn lead them to be in a position to reduce tier costs. The other issue is that game mechanics will put some people off because Second Life is indeed, not a game, although there are games within Second Life. A Second Life wide gamification system would be controversial. An optional gamification system that people could tie into their own game development would be potentially wonderful. For example a Linden Lab hosted achievement system that you could tailor to the needs of your roleplaying sim or even your store would have potential.

One way of attracting new users to Second Life is to have more games inworld. Linden Lab could develop pathfinding further and introduce skeletons that can be animated and used as NPC’s. That way more exciting experiences could be created, which in turn may attract new users.

However then we’re back to the tier is too damn high because there are not enough people who can afford to throw away USD$295.00 (plus VAT for some) to create the kind of experience that may attract new users. The fact that tier will be due whilst people are planning, developing and testing these experiences undermines the concept even more. Vicious circle indeed.

Dwarfins

However there are games in Second Life. Estelle Pienaar’s SL Play Instinct is largely dedicated to highlighting games within Second Life. The destination guide also has a games category with pages of games. Some of the games are made to be played on parcels or breedable games. Breedable games are good for Second Life as they require those involved to have land. Other games are sim wide experiences, the latter are much harder to maintain.


System Failure

From the creators of the Flesh Game and Resting Place comes the seventh Halloween survival horror event: System Failure. Not for the squeamish, System Failure is a completely interactive and possibly rewarding Second Life gaming experience. Featuring multiple levels, challenging puzzles, big scares dozens of prizes. Opening October 17, there is no safe mode in System Failure.

Visit in Second Life

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