The "eternal beta" is an increasingly familiar concept, particularly among the realm of free to play and social games -- which is why it's particularly noteworthy when such a game chooses to cast off the shackles of the "beta" tag and launch to the public in a form that says "I'm ready! Play me!"
Non-violent social MMO Glitch, the brainchild of Flickr cofounder Stewart Butterfield and his studio Tiny Speck, is the latest title to drop the "beta" following an extended period of closed, controlled testing.
Butterfield described Glitch as a "collaborative simulation" in conversation with Inside Social Games, and claimed it drew inspiration from sources as diverse as EVE Online and the Civilization series. Casting players in the role of a supercute LittleBigPlanet-style character, the game sees players exploring, socializing, building and learning skills. The total lack of combat is initially perplexing, but the visual charm of the world and the sense of community make Glitch a pleasure to explore.
"Launch is an important milestone," said Butterfield on the Glitch blog today. "But in most ways, this is just the beginning. The end of Beta means we have something stable enough and fun enough that we're happy to invite the world to play. But we want to create a game and world with the real possibility for infinite play, and that means Glitch will be continuing to grow, develop and evolve for many years to come."
Confused and bewildered? Check out the official website and give it a try for yourself.
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Flickr Cofounder's Non-Violent MMO Glitch Launches Today