Lab confirms dio, Creatorverse and Versu axed

LL logoUpdate: Peter Grey has confirmed with me that Versu and Creatorverse will be removed from the App Store (and the other places Creatorverse had been available) and their websites taken down in the immediate future. The dio website will remain until the end of February, with a message announcing its forthcoming closure.

Linden Lab has just confirmed that three of its products, Creatorverse. dio and Versu have been axed.

The announcement in full reads:

After careful consideration, Linden Lab has decided to cease development and support for dio, Versu, and Creatorverse. We’re grateful for those who took the time to experiment with these products in their early days, but ultimately we have determined that due to a number of factors, we and our customers will be best served by focusing our efforts on continuing to provide exceptional service and compelling new experiences for the users of our other products.

Where's dio and Creatorverse?
dio, Versu and Creatorverse gone from most LL web properties

The products have been removed from the footer area of the Lab’s webpages, and from the corporate home page banner and products page.

So Ciaran Laval called it right!

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Creatorverse for Android and Kindle now free

LL logoUpdate February 20th 2014: Linden Lab discontinued Creatorverse on February 19th, 2014. As such, links to the Creatorverse website, various app stores, etc;, have been removed as no longer valid.

April 19th saw the Android and Kindle Fire versions of Creatorverse made available for free, following in the footsteps of the iOS version.

Interestingly, the move has been without any formal announcement from Linden Lab, although the Creatorverse website has been updated to note the app is now free on all three platforms. I actually only found out as a result of an update message appearing on my device on April 19th. Of course, there’s not much to say on the matter which hasn’t already been said with the iOS announcement – but it’s hard not to escape the feeling than the lack of any bell-ringing concerning the Android / Kindle move pretty much suggests that Creatorverse is now not so much a “fire and forget” product as a “fired and forgotten” product where the Lab is concerned.

The update brings with it a slight change to the user interface, which now includes a shopping basket for in-app purchases of “add-on” packs.

The updated Creatorverse UI with the new shopping basket for in-app purchases (top right)
The updated Creatorverse UI with the new shopping basket for in-app purchases (top right)

The first three of these are a Rocket Tool, priced at £0.64 ($1.00), a Power Pack, a Forces Pack and a Portal Pack, each priced at £1.29 ($), which appear to have superseded the original “Advanced Creator Pack” referred to in the original LL press release marking the pricing restructure. For those who have previously purchased Creatorverse, the Power Pack, Forces Pack and Portal Pack are all denoted as “Purchased” in the shopping options, as they all form a part of the original Creatorverse release.

A further change in the UI is that the forces button is removed from the left side of the screen – which has led to at least one mistaken report that the forces capabilities, etc., have been “removed” from the application and must be repurchased. This isn’t the case as indicated above. Rather, a new set of buttons for defining forces, etc., can be accessed at the bottom of the screen. For those obtaining The updated version of Creatorverse for the first time, one assumes these new buttons will only become available as the additional packs are purchased.

The new in-app purchase capability
The new in-app purchase capability which recognises the fact I already have a “paid” version of the app, and so marks the appropriate optional packs as “purchased” for me

Back when Creatorverse was made free on iOS, I ruminated if it might not be a canny move on LL’s part – or the last attempt to eek a return out of a floundering app. My preference was for the former; however, users don’t agree, and reading through some of the comments left on Google Play and the Apple App store, reaction has been negative.

For my part, I admit I gave up on Creatorverse a while ago. That is not in itself an indictment of the application – it didn’t have any major appeal for me to start with. Rather, it is a reflection of the fact that I’m more interested in other offerings from LL.

Not that you’d guess that from the contents of this blog :D.

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Lab introduces new pricing model for Creatorverse

LL logoLinden Lab have announced that as from April 2nd, 2013, Creatorverse, the first in their new range of products to be released in a “full” version, is available free-of-charge for the Apple iOS (iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone) – however, “advanced tool” packs will now be sold within the application itself.

The announcement of the move reads in part:

SAN FRANCISCO – April 2, 2013 – Linden Lab, the makers of shared creative spaces including Second Life®, PatternsTM, and dioTM, today announced that CreatorverseTM for iOS is now available for free. Previously, Linden Lab had offered Creatorverse for iOS for $4.99, and Creatorverse Lite for free, but now Creatorverse is available for iOS as a single, free app. Creatorverse for Android and for Kindle Fire will soon follow the same model.

The announcement goes on:

For more complex creations, packs of advanced tools like teleporters and motors, are now available for purchase within the app. In addition, a new capability for Creatorverse, thrusters, are now available in the Rocket Tool Pack, which will allow users to easily add rockets, jetpacks, and more to their Creatorverse designs.

Creatorverse - "Full" version now free on iOS - other than "advanced tools" - Android and Kindle to follow
Creatorverse – “Full” version now free on iOS – other than “advanced tools” – Android and Kindle to follow

The the first of the “advanced tools” packs will be an “Advanced Creator Pack” priced at $4.99  However, all those who have purchased Creatorverse for iOS prior to the pricing model change will receive this pack free of charge – and it is assumed the same offer will be extended to Kindle / Android users when these versions also switch to the new pricing model. Whether or not other “add-on” packages will be offered at the same price remains to be seen – but it appears likely.

Downloads rapidly tumbled on Google Play
Downloads rapidly tumbled on Google Play (Dec 2012)

It’s been hard to gauge how Creatorverse has faired since being launched; while initial interest was high, it did appear – within the Android market at least, to tail-off very quickly, with downloads plummeting rapidly. Today, downloads appear to be so low, they are no longer graphically represented on Google Play

As I commented on the launch of the “Lite” version of the application, it’s hard to judge the move on LL’s part – is it a clever marketing ploy or a further attempt to bolster an application which isn’t actually making much headway?

Doubtless, there will be many who see the move in terms of the latter.

Creatorverse Lite on Android apears to be performing somewhat better than its full-price cousin
Creatorverse Lite downloads on Google Play (Mar 2013)

However, offering the app free, but holding the more advanced tools back as a purchasable option could actually be a canny move – and it is possible that downloads of the Lite version of Creatorverse have encouraged LL to think in these terms. These appear to be running at a somewhat higher daily average compared to the full-price version – which is suggestive that there is a market for the free version of the app out there, and that the marketing additional features and capabilities in “advanced” tool packs could be a tidy way for LL to continue to generate revenue off the back of that popularity, and to maintain interest in the product as a whole.

In this regard, the idea of generating income from “expansion packs” isn’t new – it’s something those at LL with a background in games will be very familiar with. What’s more, it is putting Creatorverse in the same marketing model as Versu.

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“Creatorverse Lite” now on Android

LL logoOn Monday 17th December, Linden Lab launched “Creatorverse Lite” for iOS. I commented at the time that we’d likely see the same occur with the Android and Kindle flavours – not that it took any particular insight to work that one out. Really it was a case of “when” rather than “if”.

Well, apparently, it was December 19th, although I swear it must’ve been late-on in the day when the announcement came, as I checked the Lab’s PR page, late yesterday afternoon (UK time) and there was bugger all about it then. Ho hum.

Anyway, “Creatorverse Lite” is indeed now available as a free download on Google Play, As with the “lite” version for iOS:

This free version of Linden Lab’s shared creativity app allows users to explore and play with the entire Creatorverse galaxy – every creation made and shared by users of the full Creatorverse app on any platform. To remix others’ creations or create and share their own, users will continue to need the full, paid version of Creatorverse.

Creatorverse Lite - includes a button to upgrade to the "full" version as the usual price
Creatorverse Lite – includes a button to upgrade to the “full” version as the usual price

Both the iOS and Android versions of the “Lite” product include an on-screen button enabling people to download the “full” version on payment (currently $4.99 / £3.14 / 3.86 Euros).

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Linden Lab release “Creatorverse Lite” on the iOS Platform

LL logoOn Monday 17th December, Linden Lab announced the release of “Creatorverse Lite” on the iOS platform.

The new product is available for through the App Store for the iPad, iPod Touch and the iPhone. The press release announcing the release states:

This free version of Linden Lab’s shared creativity app allows users to explore and play with the entire Creatorverse galaxy – every creation made and shared by users of the full Creatorverse app on any platform. To remix others’ creations or create and share their own, users will continue to need the full, paid version of Creatorverse.

Creatorverse - now available in a free "Lite" for the iPhone and iPod Touch
Creatorverse – now available in a free “Lite” for the iPhone and iPod Touch

The press release doesn’t make mention of the “Lite” version being available for the Android / Kindle platforms, but it would seem likely that whither the iOS version goes, the Android / Kindle offerings will follow. We’ll doubtless find out in the new year.

In the meantime, the full version for both the Android and Kindle platforms has been updated to version 1.1.1 as of the 15th December, placing it once again on a par with the iOS version, with object shadows, etc.

GP-statsWhat is to be made of this move? Clever marketing ploy to encourage more take-up of the application, or indicative that while early interest was strong, things may have waned somewhat in terms of interest / purchases? Figures for sales / downloads aren’t available on either the Apple App Store or Amazon, so the take-up on those platforms is hard to judge. Google Play does provide a graphical indication of downloads; while this is very generic, it does show that after an initial strong interest in the product, installs do appear to have plummeted. However, this may be indicative of nothing more than the fact the application is somewhat less popular on Android devices, the majority of which tend to be mobile phones with small screens rather than tablet-sized devices, and Creatorverse is not so ideally suited to these (although the flip side to that, of course, is the same can be said of the IPhone and iPod Touch).

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Creatorverse reaches the iPhone and iPod Touch

On the 27th November, and again with little fanfare, Linden Lab launched a version of Creatorverse for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The app is offered through the Apple App Store, with the same version (1.1.1+) running on all three devices.

This rounds-out availability of Creatorverse on iOS mobile / portable devices, and means that with the recent introduction of Creatorverse on Android, together with a version for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, the app is now available across the majority of mobile / portable devices with the exception of those running Windows – although versions for both the PC and the Mac were hinted at in an article by Giant Bomb back in October. Whether these are in fact in the works, remains to be seen, but if they are still to come, it’s possible a version for Windows-powered mobile devices may be in the offing.

Creatorverse – now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Reception Still Positive

Overall, Creatorverse is receiving a positive reaction both from reviewers and users. On November 23rd, Creatorverse topped-out a list of the 20 Most Popular (New) Android Apps for the week. The iOS version failed to make the Guardian’s list of November 29th, but that could be because the launch was so very low-key (and only two days before), couple with the fact that the iPad version has now been available for around a month.

I’m still fiddling with my copy of Creatorverse on my Galaxy S2 – at times “struggling” might be a better term. I like the application, but find the direct port of the UI to the much smaller screen still to be problematic (and I’ve not used it enough to actually memorise which buttons do what, which obviously doesn’t help). Obviously, there’s little LL can do about this  – they are as constrained in revising the UI as much as I am in using it simply because the screen is so small. It is oddly addictive, in an entirely different way to Patterns (which I’ve almost ceased fiddling with of late, simply because I am mucking around with Creatorverse as and when I can), and I can well understand why running the application on a tablet and sharing the process of creation with a companion (adult or child) can be so appealing.

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