Hollow Earth

Cyan Rising

Isn’t it nice that Cyan didn’t take our advice? They could have held out on Uru and kept trying to find people who would fund it. Instead, we now see Cyan beginning the process of rebuilding a second time. The good developments:

iMyst was #16 on the iTunes list for top-selling games of 2009.

If you were to tell someone in 1993 that, in seventeen years, Myst would still be selling and it would be selling on a phone, you would have been laughed at. Then again, if you were to say that, in seventeen years, Apple would be profitable again and that it would be at the hands of Steve Jobs, you’d also be laughed at. In the long run, a fairly cheap application for he iPhone isn’t Cyan’s future, but it has been its lifeboat and the surest sign that Cyan has learned its lesson from Uru’s first demise.

Myst, Riven, Manhole, and Uru: Ages Beyond Myst on GOG.com’s weekly best-sellers.

As of this writing, only Myst, realMYST, and Riven are in the top ten best-sellers. However, there was a time not long ago when the four Myst/Uru games on GOG.com were in the top five (only the #1 spot going to a non-Cyan game). Again, a strange occurrence for a game nearly two decades old. This is almost certainly an initial buying period which will taper off, but it still is important to note the remaining selling power of the game. Also, this highlights one very crucial thing Cyan got done. They made sure their games were still out there.

Development of iRiven and the potential for Uru’s return.

Chogon has posted recently that Cyan is working on an iPhone version of Riven. Along with continuing Cyan’s success in portable gaming, this brings a more visually interesting game with a more complex story to the iPhone.

Hand-in-hand with this is the recent apparent leak from Tony Fryman that iRiven might be out in the summer with Uru coming within a month. Whether this holds up is still being determined, but it is a sign of recovery in the company. Now for the poorer developments.

Cyan is still fairly uncommunicative.

Things aren’t bad by any means. Chogon even made a post with no news, just to check in, something critical which people have asked Cyan for years. The problem is that communication from Cyan still comes when Cyan has something to say. For a company which could, should, can, and must get more community involvement, Cyan has yet to come looking for help from their fans.

Cyan hasn’t re-branded.

Or, if they have, they’ve re-branded to the wrong thing. The other topics I mentioned in my article to the new community manager are not implemented either, but this one is one of the most crucial and the one I’ve seen the least action on. The only products Cyan is selling, and thus the only brand they are now associated with, are ports of their old games. Whether it is to the iPhone or to GOG.com, Cyan’s revival is largely based off of re-selling their old games. However, you can’t continue forever on this path. Cyan needs to spend time and energy on finding what will work for them and then make sure they communicate why it will work for them.

Rand, like everyone who owns a business, had a dream of what he’d like to do. The thing about dreams is that they are largely open to interpretation. When the dream has been going on for nearly twenty years, that interpretation is bound to change and it must, these days, to keep up with modern life. I’m sure Cyan has done that changing as finances dictated, but they still need to articulate that. To inspire a new generation to get excited about Cyan’s games.


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