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Uru Live Cancelled, Expansion Packs Promised 49

Datasage writes "Announced today on the UbiSoft community boards. Uru Live, the online part of Cyan's PC title Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, will be closing down. They were not able to get enough subscribers (even within the free Beta) to sustain the world. Instead Cyan has refocused its efforts, and will be putting out expansion packs for Uru, the first of which, due out a couple months, will be freely downloadable." Andrew Plotkin has written an informative FAQ regarding Uru Live, explaining the now defunct collaborative online part of this single-player PC game from the Myst creators.
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Uru Live Cancelled, Expansion Packs Promised

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  • by skirch ( 126930 ) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @11:07AM (#8189287) Homepage
    Ok, while I applaud Cyan Worlds/Ubisoft for making the bold attempt to take Myst to the Internet, who in their right mind would've thought it would've worked...?

    Uru, at the very least, was a great idea. One of the most original games to come along recently, and hey, no guts, no glory. It's easy for you to see in hindsight that it was destined to be a flop, right? It didn't fail because it was a bad idea. It failed because Cyan made some poor design decisions and some mistakes implementing the multiplayer aspect of the game.

    1) The Myst series has been and will probably remain a series for the casual player. A lot of people who are turned off by the blood and action of fast paced FPS and involving RPGS and RTSes typically enjoy Myst.

    Download the demo and play the game. Uru doesn't have anything to do with blood and action, except for the occasional deserted torture chamber. Uru was poised to appeal to the same players that Myst did with one glaring exception, which I'll get into later.

    2) People aren't going to pay for a service that they won't make use of.

    The service was free to start with. The reason people didn't play was not because of the cost. It was because the online part of the game didn't work. Read the Uru Live forums, and you'll see that probably more than half of the posts have to do with unbearable lag, authentication glitches, and other problems with multiplayer that basically made the game unplayable. Those customers that did sign up knew what they were getting into for the most part. Those that didn't were most likely waiting until the word was out that most of the glitches were solved.

    I've played Uru Live twice in about a month since I've been registered. Both times, the game was frozen, feverishly transmitting network data, more often than it was running smoothly. It was decidedly not fun, and there was not much to see or do. It failed to deliver on its promise, and Cyan knows that.

    3) Casual gamers don't usually have a whole lot of time to commit to a game for an extended period of time.

    I know a lot of "casual gamers" that spent several weeks on Myst and Riven. Those games suck you in and keep calling your name. Get someone into an online game for a couple weeks, and I think it's a good bet that they'll be hooked for a while. As long as the content keeps coming and the quality is high. People make time for things they enjoy, but Uru Live was not enjoyable in its current state.

    4) Since the user base for the Myst series isn't "hard-core" they most likely will not have the time to justify for paying for something like Uru (which was to ultimately become a pay-for service)

    The casual gamer is the holy grail of the video game industry. Myst and Riven were so successful specifically because non-hard-core people invested so much time and money into the games. I think part of the vision of Uru was to do the same thing with a multiplayer game.

    Cyan made the mistake of alienating a lot of their fans by focusing a large percentage of the game on dexterity. Part of what made Myst and Riven so accessible was their simplicity. The technology at the time probably felt restrictive, but it provided the perfect interface. There was no way to walk somewhere you weren't supposed to, nothing to click on or move that wasn't supposed to be clicked on or moved. In Uru, you have to jump at the just the right time from one moving platform to another. You have to bump into objects on the floor and move them into the appropriate places. Keep in mind that you have no use of your frickin hands, so you just have to slide things around on the floor. Little interface issues like that only get in the way of the fun for experienced gamers, but they make the game unplayable for novices.

    Uru didn't fail because it wasn't a good idea. It failed because multiplayer was broken, and the interface alienated users that otherwise might have given the game a shot.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.