Flickr Co-Founder Returns to Roots

Some of you might know that popular photo sharing service Flickr was originally a set of tools built for a massively multiplayer online game called Game Neverending. In November of 2009 we also reported that Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr, had left Flickr and was returning to his original project, Game Neverending.

With a group of former Flickr employees, Butterfield started a small company called Tiny Speck, which just unveiled Glitch, a massively multiplayer game played through a browser. Here’s a trailer they’ve released:

It’s called Glitch because in the far-distant and totally-perfect future, the world starts becoming less and less probable, things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and there occurs what comes to be called the “glitch” — a grave danger of disemprobablization.

This results in a time-traveling effort at saving the future, going back into the minds of eleven great giants walking sacred paths on a barren asteroid who sing and think and hum the world into existence and … you know what? You’ll probably just have to wait and play the game :)

Here’s a side by side comparison between an old screenshot of Game Neverending (left) and a new screenshot of Glitch (right):

We’re not sure how a game like this spawned Flickr, but it doesn’t seem as though Glitch will have anything to do with photography. Perhaps the tools were originally used for in-game images and graphics rather than photographs…

Glitch will be free of charge and available by the end of the year.

(via Thomas Hawk)

  • Eric

    The photo stuff was never a part of GNE. We build the photo stuff as a separate app built on the same tech, and that turned into Flickr. The confusion all stems from a single article that mentioned the photo tools as being part of the game, which was incorrect, but that incorrect detail just won't die.

  • Michael Zhang

    I see. So the technology was originally used for non-photo images for GNE, but was reused for Flickr?

  • DM|ZE

    Once it's on the net, it's a fact man… at least that's how it seems.

  • Eric

    The underlying tech, the part that ran the game itself, is what was reused. See, when Flickr launched it was a real time photo sharing interface in Flash. That was all built by re-purposing the game client and server, and then adding on top of it the ability to upload photos and share them in the realtime UI. Only later did we add things like, Oh, you know, web pages for photos :)