Update, February 19th, 2014: Creatorverse was discontinued by Linden Lab on February 19th, 2014. Links to the Creatorverse website have therefore been removed from this article.
They say a week is a long time in politics. While the same cannot be said of business in any way, shape size or form, Creatorverse has now been out on the market for a week, and so I thought it worthwhile to take a look at reaction so far.
And it all seems very positive.
Creatorverse is One Of the Coolest Things You Can Do With an iPad was the opinion of Kotaku.com on the day Creatorverse was launched. “With its simple bare-bones interface, Creatorverse requires a little fumbling about to get one’s bearings. So far I’ve managed to build a simple machine that keeps a ball spinning endlessly, achieving mastery over virtual perpetual motion,” the article goes on. “Thankfully I don’t have to rely on my own creations to amuse me. The game allows players to share their creations with the Creatorverse community, allowing others to download and tweak their designs to their hearts’ content. It’s an incredibly cool little toy …”
148apps.com were impressed with the app’s ease-of-use, “The interface is what stands out the most. It’s clean and crisp and the white canvas just invites users to start creating. Shape and line tools may be selected on the left. Once an object is placed, users can then drag the points to make different shapes or drag a color down from the top to fill it.”
They go on, “The simple drag and drop controls allow users to make animations with ease. While Creatorverse‘s unique sandbox style may mean it’s more fun for kids (or kids at heart), it’s the creative possibility that makes it so engaging. Whether uses wish to make a simple pinball-style game or a short animation, it’s a neat concept that lets users explore their artistic side.”
Commenting on the launch, iPads Advisor said: “The game’s colorful interface definitely catches the eye. Creatorverse blends old-school aesthetics — it looks like some LEGO and Colorforms got lost in an art supply store — with super modern user-generated content that takes full advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen and gesture capabilities. With Creatorverse a player can build a video game, a Rube Goldbergian contraption, or make a piece of interactive art … Creatorverse has the potential to be a game that enchants kids and adults alike, and will appeal to any user who feels the itch to “make stuff.” Its open-ended nature and resemblance to popular educational toys will appeal to parents who are uneasy about kids ceaseless desire for screen time.”
More recently, on Monday November 5th, Appadvice.com chipped in with Let Your Imagination Run Away With You In Creatorverse can see the app as being the means by which people can be convinced of the iPad’s creative possibilities, commenting, “The creative capacity of the iPad has long been evident. But, of course, there are those who are still not convinced of it. Now, if you happen to know people who share a similarly skeptic slant, just show them your iPad and open Creatorverse on it. Then, maybe — just maybe — you’ll soon watch them get wowed.”
Filip Truta of Softpedia also commented on the 5th November that people can Become an Inventor with Creatorverse for iPad in a brief review where he states, “You can make everything from a boat floating at sea, to a puzzle game that you can hand to your kids to solve. As Linden puts it, “From the simplest bouncing ball to an elaborate pinball machine, the possibilities for tinkering are endless on Creatorverse. Best of all, you can download an endless selection of creations from other people, and you can upload your own for others to use.” He also adds an interesting observation, “Although it’s placed in the Games category of the iTunes App Store, I’d much rather consider this one a full-fledged educational tool.”
While there are only a handful (i.e. three) reviews on Creatorverse’s iTunes page, all of them are similarly positive, with the app getting some 19 ratings to date. While this isn’t going to set the world on fire, it is better than a poke in the eye with a plastic duck.
It is that it is hard to know how many times Creatorverse has been downloaded; as mentioned above, it has received 19 ratings, so at least 19 people have downloaded and liked it. Currently, the Creatorverse website, unlike that of Patterns, remains virtually unused. However, that’s no real guarantee of anything: Creatorverse is a finished product, Patterns is still in development and the pot is being stirred to encourage feedback and input. Users of Creatorverse also have an alternative means to interact with one another, via the Creatorverse Galaxy – so why fart around with a website when you can share in ne another’s creations directly?
Even so, and taking all of this into account – the time frame, the lack of clear download figures on the iTunes websites, etc. – one cannot help but have a few nagging doubts. Since launching the app, Linden Lab appear to have done precious little to actually promote it or raise awareness of its existence. Admittedly, I’m looking at things from the far side of the Atlantic, but there doesn’t seem to be any marketing campaign to draw people’s attention to the fact that Creatorverse exists.
In some ways, this is hardly surprising. LL’s marketing strategy has always seemed to be four parts, “If we build it, they will come” and one part sitting with fingers crossed. It’s something which has bugged me through the drive towards diversification, as I’ve commented on these pages, and others have elsewhere.
Right now, Creatorverse is garnering a lot of good press – but is this enough to push Creatorverse into the limelight sufficiently well enough for it to pull-in users in sufficient numbers? It is, after all just one of some 128,060 games sitting in the Games category of the iTune store, making it, with all due respect to Linden Lab, a very small boat floating on a very large sea. It also doesn’t have the advantage Patterns had – that of a ready-made audience, eager to perhaps try it – in the form of SL users and Minecraft players. Well, not to the same degree at least.
When it was announced, I admit I was somewhat – and foolishly – dismissive of its potential appeal. Going on the initial reviews – and free press – it is getting, it would appear that it actually does have the potential to become something of a reasonable hit. I hope it is. I also hope that LL have positioned themselves so that they can capitalise on the good press they are currently getting and proactive propel Creatorverse to success, rather than sitting back and letting it find its own way.