Two months ago we launched Glitch to the world. Now we’re unlaunching it. Eh??
The response so far has been truly fantastic. Piles of praise, love and devotion have poured in and we have to be doing something right for people to say things like “[it’s] Zork fun, Pac-Man fun, Super Mario Brothers fun. It is video game fun like you never thought you’d have again”* or “probably the best thing you can do with your web browser”.*
Indeed, in many respects the game and the launch worked out just as well as we could have hoped: the back end scaled effortlessly, we were able to keep adding new features and content — even the number of subscriptions matched our very optimistic projections.
But at the same time, there are two obvious and huge improvements we need to make: the first is to make the early game reveal itself more easily to new players so they can get into the fun faster. The second and larger task is to give those players who have gotten over that initial hump and fallen in love with the game — spending dozens or even hundreds of hours playing — the creative tools that they need to change the world in more tangible ways: building whole new locations themselves, designing new buildings, setting up resource flows and forming flexible organizations to create bigger things together.
These challenges are surmountable — we’re hard at work surmounting them even now. But we always thought we could evolve our way there and the experience of launching taught us that we can’t. Some fairly radical changes to core game mechanics are going to be necessary to make Glitch what it needs to be.
And making radical changes to core game mechanics is something that’s a lot harder to do while the front doors are open and we have to focus on scaling to support growth, stability and providing the quality of service we aim to achieve for the live game. Going back to beta will let us make the changes that need to be made. And so we’re “unlaunching” — and going back to beta.
That doesn’t mean we’ll slow down at all: we’re going to be continuing to release new features and content as fast as ever. Indeed, earlier today we released the biggest update since launch, with seven new skills, many new quests and more. The game will still be open 24/7, though we might be slower in fixing non-critical bugs; for more details on what to expect during this beta or to give feedback, please see this post in the forums.
We’re fortunate to have the time and resources to get this right (Thanksgiving this year included a healthy dollop of gratitude for our supportive investors and energetic team). And we’re committed to giving people a square deal: we know going back to beta was not what you expected, so if you have bought anything from us and you don’t feel like you got your money’s worth or you don’t like the idea of everything changing, we will give you a 100%, no hassle, full & complete refund. (For more details about the refund program, visit the refund program page.)
We are more optimistic than ever that Glitch can deliver on its promise of a unique, imaginative world, full of delights and ripe for experimentation and expansion by players — and we know what we have to do to get there. We want to make something worthy of all that love: we want to make the game you deserve to play.
Thank you for all your support so far and we’ll do our best to continue to earn it.