Google has announced it is to close down Lively, the company's social virtual world launched in July.

The news was confirmed in an official blog post, stating the project would be discontinued in December.

"We want to ensure that we prioritise our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business," it read.

The idea behind Lively was that it would run as an online games platform, among other things, but like many virtual worlds, it never really took off.

Even Second Life, probably the most well-known of these virtual worlds, is struggling in the current climate, suffering from falling revenues and user numbers.

This doesn't stop companies trying though. New virtual world Blue Mars, aimed specifically at gamers, is set for release in the spring. Whether that survives remains to be seen.