Yesterday Vivaty announced that it will be closing down its virtual world and social network 3D scenes services on April 16. The company says it is giving the two weeks' notice to allow users to try and capture as much of their creations as possible through screenshots and videos, but, ultimately, Vivaty was just not sustainable.
"Vivaty.com is a rather expensive site to run, much more than a regular web site, and Vivaty the company has been running out of money for some time," Jay Weber, co-founder and CTO wrote on the company blog. "Our business model was to earn money through Vivabux sales, but that has never come close to covering our costs. We tried for months to find a bigger partner that would support the site, but that didn’t work out."
The company will be refunding Paypal purchases made after February 1, 2010, but users with transactions through Gambit offers are left on their own.
CEO Keith McCurdy told VentureBeat that the company is in the final stages of being acquired, which will send its IP elsewhere to be used as the foundation for a new project. Ultimately, though, McCurdy sees this as a sign that there isn't enough of an audience to support competing Second Life-style virtual worlds, especially not the massive number that rushed in during Second Life's hype.
"I think the acquisition proves the technology is best of breed and desirable. We thought there would more consumer demand for a lightweight web based 3D avatar community along the lines of a simpler Second Life, and it just didn’t turn out that way," explained McCurdy. "When we started, Second Life was all the buzz. We thought that if the web was going to flourish with hundreds of Second Life like experiences, then someone would have to build the infrastructure. That was our goal. But it turned out Second Life was a single product and definitely not a foreshadowing of the future transformation of the web. At least not for a good while."
That said, while the ranks of the purely social, 3D, adult-focused virtual world are shrinking (and audiences are consolidating as other virtual worlds bring in displaced users), there's still a fair amount of growth in lightweight virtual worlds, particularly those aimed at kids, and casual MMOs.
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