Sparkplay is â??running out of timeâ??

Sparkplay is â??running out of timeâ??

By Rob Crossley

August 9th 2010 at 3:43PM

Free-to-play studio will close soon, with assets up for sale

The CEO of free-to-play studio Sparkplay says the company will close down within a week.

Matt Mihaly said in a blog post that Sparkplay “has hit hard times and is not going to survive”.

He said: “I had to lay off all of our staff except for two people (one of which is me) on Friday, and it’s likely that by this time next week neither of us will be with Sparkplay any more either”.

In February 2008 Sparkplay secured $4.25m in a funding round, with VC firms such as Redpoint Ventures and Prism Ventureworks investing in a browser-based MMO 3D games platform that would ultimately prove unpopular in the Facebook era.

“The simple fact is that we’ve run out of money,” said Mihaly.

“I’ve been out trying to sell Sparkplay or get further investment for it for the last 2 months without success, and our last hope crumbled this weekend”.

The fate of Earth Eternal, the studio’s flagship title, is uncertain.

“We're putting [Earth Eternal] up for auction today and are reasonably confident that someone will buy it and keep it running," Mihaly said.

“There is, however, the chance that nobody will want to take on the cost of running it. If that happens, Earth Eternal will go down when our internet and hosting provider pulls the plug for non-payment”.

Mihaly said the failure of both the game and the studio was a mark on him.

“I've failed you despite my best efforts,” he said. “I've never worked harder in my life, but it wasn't enough. Things that we planned on happening didn't, and things we didn't plan on happening did. I don't want to go into a lot of detail and I don't want to try to shift responsibility to anyone but myself. There's really nothing I can say other than I am very, very sorry to have let you down.”