Google Lively (lost online virtual environment game; 2008)
Google Lively was a web-based virtual world that was made by Google Inc. An open beta for the game started in July of 2008, where critics were quick to point the similarities between Lively and the massive virtual world game Second Life. Though the game was hyped up to be a competitor to Second Life and other virtual world games which had dominated the internet throughout the late 1990s and into the 2000s, Lively had nothing new to offer which in turn sealed the game's fate.
On July 8, 2008, Google announced Lively which was going to be their take on the virtual world genre of games. In Lively players would be able to customize their own avatars and create their own custom spaces. Lively could also be embedded into a blog, Facebook Web pages, and MySpace page. Lively could be downloaded, but was also accessible by using Internet Explorer or Firefox. PCmag.com gave Lively a 3/5 stating Unsophisticated graphics. Not yet a rich enough experience to become addictive. Other websites pointed out that the fact that Lively only supported Windows, limited in-game content, and in order to play, the player would first need to download a web browser plug-in.
Google Lively's gameplay was not that different from the average virtual world game. A player could customize their own avatar and their own space. In the player's space, they could decorate it with custom wallpaper and feature links to their favorite websites and YouTube videos. Players interacted with other players in an open world environment and used text bubbles to talk to other players. Players could give each other high-fives, handshakes, and hugs. Unlike most virtual world games, Lively did not feature an in-game currency system
On November 19th, 2008, after only five months of the game going live, Google announced that Lively would be no more, but servers would still be up and maintained until the end of December. Google stated that the reasoning for shutting down the game was to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads, and apps business. Google encouraged players to take screenshots of their creations before Lively went offline. Though many disagree and think the closure was due to the overall bland nature of the game as it did not offer as much as other games like Second Life did. On December 31st, 2008, the servers and the website for Lively were shut down and became inaccessible. The website Lively.com now redirects visitors to the announcement of Lively's closure.
The game nor its assets and codes have resurfaced since Lively shutdown and given Google’s restrictive nature and the fact they were operating it at a loss, it is unlikely that Lively will ever resurface.
- An archive of the Google Lively Homepage. Retrieved 25 Jan '19
- An article about the beta version of Google Lively. Retrieved 05 Apr '18
- Google announces Lively. Retrieved 05 Apr '18
- PCmag's review of Lively. Retrieved 05 Apr '18
- A LifeWire review for Lively. Retrieved 05 Apr '18
- Google's announcement that Lively will shut down. Retrieved 05 Apr '18