Second Life Year In Review 2021: – January To July 2021

This is a special blog post looking back over the past 12 months in terms of Second Life, Linden Lab and OpenSim. 2021 has been another eventful year with big announcements, some sad departures, celebrations and cool events.

2021 has been a busy year for blogging once again reporting about the expansion of the Bellisseria continent, the news that Linden Lab went under new ownership, the passing of Ebbe Altberg, the inworld map tiles not working, the ending of gacha machines, the revamp of the Second Life website/join page and much more.

This is part 1 looking at January 2021 through to July 2021.

January 2021

Linden Lab started the year with big news announcing that the regulatory review has been completed and that Linden Lab is under new ownership. Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager signed an agreement to acquire the company announced in mid 2020. The migration of Second Life to the cloud was completed and mentioned in the 2021 Update: Life in the Cloud blog post.

Strawberry Linden talked with SLEA coordinator Tansee, Patch Linden (VP of Product Operations) and Brett Linden (VP of Marketing) on Lab Gab. This was the first Lab Gab episode of 2021 featuring a tour of the SLEA regions.

Inworld map tiles were not working throughout January and the lab restored the map tile functionality in the months that followed. Due to work on the Uplift.

February 2021

Linden Lab announced a new round of Last Names because of the completion of the Uplift. The lab rolls out new rounds of last names throughout the year.

Oz Linden who was the Vice President of Engineering at Linden Lab announced on the Second Life Forums that he was leaving Linden Lab. Oz Linden joined Grumpity Linden on Lab Gab to chat about AWS and his years at the lab.

There was a new Second Life article on Quartz on how Second Life economy boomed during the Covid-19 crisis. There was a 60% increase in new user registrations compared to the year before. There was sustained growth in currency and economic activity.

March 2021

Patch Linden VP of Product Operations talked about Linden Homes at RFL Home & Garden Expo 2021. Patch talked about the process and issues with the move to the cloud, testing of the new user experience, the old Linden Homes and more. The plans to roll out the next three Linden Home themes.

VWBPE 2021 opened on the grid and Patch Linden addressed Second Life community talking about education and non-profit organisations. Patch talked about the new owners, priorities over the year ahead, gateways, new user experience and much more.

April 2021

Bellisseria – 15th April 2021

Bellisseria celebrated it’s Second Anniversary celebrations on 15th April 2021. Bellisseria started with 384 regions and now there are triple the amount of regions on the grid featuring many nice Linden Home themes. The Moles and the Lindens have done a great job on expanding the Bellisseria continent during 2021 adding more new interesting areas and more Linden Homes like the Chalets/Fantasy ones. 

Inworld map tiles was fixed by Linden Lab on 19th April 2021. Maestro Linden and Nat Linden worked hard directly on the re-coding of the Map Tile generation system for some time.

Linden Lab revamped the Second Life homepage featuring a big shiny blue Second Life logo that appears for a few seconds. A avatar is featured with Explore, Discover and Create near it. There are some quick links in the top right corner for Download, Marketplace, Language, Login and Sign Up.

The Kitely Market surpassed 500 grids milestone which is amazing. Exportables and listings have been increasing on the Kitely Market offering a useful way for OpenSim users to buy legal and legitimate content.

May 2021

The Fantasy Faire raised almost 24 million ($95, 000 US Dollars) Linden Dollars for 2021 thanks to the Second Life community. This is all in support of Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.

OpenSim reached the 100, 000 regions milestone for the first time in mid May 2021. OSgrid, Kitely, ZetaWorlds, DigiWorldz and the Discovery Grid had the most regions for April 2021. OSgrid, DigiWorldz,, AviWorlds, Tag Grid and Metropolis had the most active users on them for April 2021.

Stilts was the most popular choice for Linden Home themes in 2021 from the poll I created. Stilts had 53 votes (42.06%) followed by Chalets with 19 votes (15.08%) in second place with Victorian getting just 14 votes (11.11%).

June 2021

Linden Lab experimented with a new map feature on the east side of the Hippotropolis region in Second Life. A white compass medallion visually showed up on the World Map.

Ebbe at Meet & Greet 2014

Patch Linden announces that Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab passed away on Friday 4th June 2021. Ebbe Altberg became CEO of Linden Lab back on 5th February 2014 and changed Second Life for the better in my eyes. Ebbe brought more transparency between the lab and the Second Life community. Ebbe had good communications going on via Twitter with the residents of Second Life.

Ebbe Altberg memorial at Altberg region

Ebbe understood Second Life and made a huge difference in so many ways. Like bringing in Project Bento, Mesh, EEP, annual snowball fights, attending big events, reduced mainland costs, launched the second generation of Linden Homes and much more.

Second Life 18th birthday (SL18B) opened to the public in Second Life on 17th June 2021. Patch Linden gave his opening address at SL18B Live Stage. Patch briefly talked about the new user experience, the next LH theme was announced which is Fantasy and his time working with Brett Linden. Patch Linden talked about Ebbe Altberg and how he changed Second Life for the better. He will never be forgotten. There was a minute of silence to remember.

Brad Oberwager appeared on the special SL18B episode of Lab Gab along with the Leadership Team on Monday 21st June 2021. Brad talked about basically a “four pillars” approach in terms of decision making from what is going to bring in new users?, what is going to make existing uses happier?, what will lead to more engagement? and what is going to offer Linden employees to be happier?.

Brad did mention that he doesn’t expect to see change for change sake for Second Life in the short term however change will come over time.

Linden Lab added new Welcome Islands on the grid for the new user experience. The new Welcome islands came online on 27th June 2021.

The new Welcome Island Guidebook is available to view by using the default Second Life official viewer. The new Welcome Island Guidebook covers the basics from how to move your avatar & camera, how to use nearby chat, IM and voice, interacting with objects, changing your avatar, avatar attachments and finding places to go.

July 2021

In early July 2021 Linden Lab started to let new residents go through the new Welcome Islands when using the default Second Life viewer. The new user experience has been completely been revamped with a new layout and a new Welcome Island Guidebook.

Linden Lab rolled out new Last Names in mid July 2021.

Linden Lab updated the Second Life logo on the Second Life Marketplace. The lab have been rolling out the new logo since May 2020. Yay 🙂

Firestorm team released Firestorm Viewer which included big improvements, bug fixes, new water transparency performance options, showing/hiding voice visualisers and new option to report the SLURL of the region you completed a teleport from.

Part 2 will be published very soon looking at what happened between August 2021 and December 2021. Stay tuned for that.