Creator Rand Miller has blamed the repeated commercial failure of Myst Online on cheap, stereotypical MMOs, which he believes are "setting people in a hamster wheel and saying, 'Run run run run run.'"
"It's frankly cheaper to build a treadmill than a national park," said Miller, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz. "We were building a national park."
Myst Online developer Cyan had lofty ambitions, and approached the online world in a non-traditional way. The aim was to create something that "had the potential to compete with television".
Ubisoft launched Myst Online in 2003, only to pull out a year later. Fans kept the game alive on unofficial servers for three years before digital distributor GameTap waded in. GameTap support also only lasted for a year, after concluding that the small userbase couldn't support the operating costs.
GameTap reached an agreement with Cyan Worlds back in April to hand the Myst Online rights back to the developer. Cyan plans to reopen servers and supply fans with the tools to create content on them.