From a failed game to photo-sharing success

“Game Neverending” failed to catch on, but one element did.

Stewart Butterfield, Caterina Fake, and Jason Classon founded software company Ludicorp in 2002. Its initial project was “Game Neverending.” Unlike other massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, it allowed players to manipulate and create objects, but there was no way to win and no goal aside from communicating with others.

A magnifying glass hovers over the Flickr logo against a purple background.

The game wasn’t particularly popular, but there was one element of it that caught on: the ability to share photos.

While the game shut down, the photo-sharing element became Flickr in 2004. A year later, Yahoo acquired Flickr for $35m. Today, SmugMug owns Flickr, which claims to host “tens of billions of photos.”

Butterfield tried again to create an online multiplayer game with “Glitch” in 2011, but once again, it failed to gain steam. But don’t feel too bad for Butterfield — he went on to cocreate Slack, worth $26.5B.

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