Vivaty announced on its site today that it will shut down its user-generated “virtual scenes” site on April 16, another victim of the malaise around virtual worlds.
Jay Weber, chief technical officer and co-founder, announced on the company’s blog that the site will close because its business of letting users create their own 3D virtual spaces has never taken off.
“I apologize to our loyal users that this must be so,” Weber wrote. “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. 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.”
Users will have about two weeks to take snapshots and videos of their decorate scenes, which are not quite virtual worlds but are more like 3D scenes. Users could create their own avatars and chat in the rooms that they decorated. Those who bought virtual currency with real money since Feb. 1 will get their money back. But the company won’t be able to reimburse those who adopted various offer contracts, such as cell phone subscriptions, via the Gambit offers, where players accept an advertising offer in lieu of making a payment.
If it seems like there is a funk hitting virtual worlds, it’s not your imagination. Recent closings include Forterra, Metaplace, and There.com. Some of this is hit or miss. IMVU and Linden Labs’ Second Life have boasted continuous growth. But Google Lively never got off the ground back in 2008.
By contrast, social networks such as Facebook and social games such as those made by Zynga have taken off, leaving stand-alone virtual worlds in the dust. Big budget online games such as World of Warcraft, which high production values, are also going strong. By contrast, Vivaty’s visual spaces didn’t look outstanding from the get go. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Vivaty received $9.5 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Mohr Davidow Ventures. It was founded in 2007 and back in late 2008 it had 25 employees.