PlayNice.ly, the UK startup that set out to make bug tracking fun, is to enter the deadpool. In an email sent out to users, the company has announced that it is shutting down the service in the new year, and in the meantime has released a data export tool so that users can begin migrating away from PlayNice.ly.
Co-founder, Adam Charnock, says in the email that the “bootstrapped” startup was unable to generate the income needed for him and PlayNice.ly’s other co-founders, Rob Hudson and Basheera Khan (who used to write for TechCrunch Europe), to work on the project full time.
“This, combined with the stresses of startup life, has resulted in a waning commitment for some time now. We therefore feel we can no longer provide the level of service we desire, or that you deserve”, he says.
It’s a sad moment when any startup throws in the towel, and indeed, startup life can take its toll (I know this first-hand), but I confess to always having a soft spot for PlayNice.ly, with its focus on a fun User Experience, and a generally creative approach to bug tracking and supporting collaboration across the whole product team within an organisation. Yes, its Foursquare-esque approach to gamification — badges galore — may seem very much of its time, but frankly, just like Foursquare itself, it was but one feature of many, and by far the least significant.
That said, in my short time running a startup, I was unable to persuade the whole development team to use PlayNice.ly over something more traditional, like Redmine. So, perhaps that is telling in itself.
Either way, PlayNice.ly tried real hard to put the fun into the otherwise unglamorous job of bug tracking. And for that, we salute you.
Full copy of the email sent out to users, below:
It makes me very sad to inform you all that, come the new year, we will be winding down PlayNice.ly.
We started PlayNice.ly because we wanted to create a better breed of bug tracker for both ourselves, and for everyone else. Given the wonderful and supportive emails we received from many of our customers, it is my sincere hope that we achieved our goal.
However, as a bootstrapped startup, PlayNice.ly never provided the income we needed to work on it full time. This, combined with the stresses of startup life, has resulted in a waning commitment for some time now. We therefore feel we can no longer provide the level of service we desire, or that you deserve.
I cannot thank everyone enough who joined us on our journey. My co-founders, Rob Hudson and Basheera Khan, worked tirelessly to make PlayNice.ly what it is today. Kat Neville and Michael Davenport also provided invaluable skills and advice. I would also like to thank our customers, peers, friends, and family who provided encouragement and advice when so often needed.
Today we also launch a new feature, data export. You can access this from the Project settings page, along with the associated documentation. Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding your transition away from PlayNice.ly.
Although we will be shutting down PlayNice.ly as it stands, we are open to the idea of it living on in other ways. This is something we’d love to hear your opinion on.