Peter Molyneux and his team at 22cans are a visionary group, but that vision didn’t include a million people eager to find out what’s inside the cube in the developer’s first foray into experimental mobile games. Today 22cans thanks tappers for their patience and promises to fix the connection and coin-retention problems with Curiosity.
If you build a giant multi-layered cube and promise a life-changing experience for the single person that reaches the middle, they will come and in much larger numbers than the thousands 22cans figured would show up. People love touching their mobile phones and an application that allows for several thousand purposeful touches in a minute was destined to take off.
And so 22cans struggles to compensate. Molyneux wants the experiment to improve to the point where we’re actually watching squares drop away as other players around the world touch them. That would be something, wouldn’t it? I would spend all day watching people create elaborate pixel art, swooping in at the last minute to destroy it.
Just doing my part for society, of course. Here’s 22cans’ letter to Kotaku Curiosity players.
We are learning an incredible amount from our first experiment Curiosity — what’s inside the cube; not only in terms of player motivation and behaviour but more importantly the technical side of running something as concurrent as Curiosity. Even in the most popular MMO games it is rare for 10,000 people to be playing in the same level at the same time, currently up to a million people are trying to get access to our server. What has blown us away is the number of taps each player wants to do, we estimated it would be hundreds, but it is actually thousands, and in a few cases millions. We simply did not anticipate this level of curiosity.
We are extremely disappointed with ourselves that we underestimated the popularity of Curiosity. This is manifesting in a subpar experience for the majority of curious people around the world. We can only offer a heartfelt apology at this stage; our programmers have been awake pretty much since Curiosity came out. We implemented what we thought would be a major fix on our live servers on Thursday but that didn’t give us or you the results we wanted.
We believe we now have the solution, and are working as quick as humanly possible to resolve the server connection issues and resulting from that the disappearing coins that so many users have been reporting. We are desperate to get the problems fixed. The programmers are continuing their work throughout the weekend to resolve this. We are not a big company and the amount of people is starting to rack up a massive (for us) server bill. We are doing everything we can with the resources we have.
We are learning to build experiences that connect millions of people together in real time, this experiment is only the first one of many. In fact, we hope to make a big announcement early next week but our priority right now is Curiosity.
Thank you for your patience,