Today we’re taking a look back at Slither.io, a little indie game that hit the big time in a big way when it was released back in 2016. I guess that makes Slither.io a retro game at this point although that doesn’t take away from the fact that is still immensely popular even if it’s Alexa rank is down to around 4700 from its glory days when it hovered around the 1000 mark. The rise in popularity of a game like Slither.io shows that an indie developer can indeed make it with a little luck and a little promotion, especially when it comes from a very popular YouTuber or two.
Originally conceived as a modern take on the classic Snake game, developer Steve Howse created Slither with the same basic concept: grow your snake as big as you can without colliding with any other players except in the case of Slither.io, we are in the massively multiplayer category so you are always playing against many, many other players. There is one major drawback in maintaining a game like this is keeping it running smoothly, and the main complaint amongst users is performance i.e., lag. Still, that hasn’t prevent users from coming back to this very addictive game. The real question is, how long can you last and how big can you grow?
The aforementioned challenges that Slither.io experienced were apparent from the beginning as it grew faster than expected as it tried to scale and maintain performance. Indeed, the rumour at the time was that hosting itself was running Slitherio up to 15k a month, or more at this stage, all the while raking in huge sums in ad revenue. It seems that success for your indie game can sometimes be a double edged sword. These days Slither isn’t quite as popular as it once was but it still has a healthy user base and YouTubers still continue to churn out Let’s Play videos that still generate huge numbers of views. Still quite a legacy for a little indie game.