Philip Rosedale announces closure of all public spaces in High Fidelity


Philip Rosedale announced some big changes last week at the weekly General Assembly meeting (1hr) in High Fidelity. There was a large audience for this important meeting.

The first being the closure of all its public domains/spaces apart from the Welcome domain for new users. The welcome domain will be a tiny space and it will not be available for everyone to hang out there.

Philip wants the end-user to run the servers instead and he thinks that there will be more people concurrent across the servers in time. How successful this will be time will tell I think.

Philip said In the prior year of High Fidelity the platform failed to get 1, 000 users concurrency apparently. There is not enough revenue flowing into the company currently and everyone would need to pay US$10,000 a month to keep the company going into the future. Then the company would see positive cash-flow.

Philip mentioned Second Life saying that “this is not Second Life in 2004. Second Life actually took off like a rocket, once it got working. Even though it had tons and tons of problems… but it took off like an absolute rocket. And the reason that it did, I think, was that this experience of bringing a lot of people together and letting them build things together live, well, in the time frame when we built Second Life, it had never, ever been seen by anyone. It was the most exceptional, jaw-dropping thing that anybody had ever seen except in science fiction”.


Here is what Philip actually said during the meeting

We are going to close down all our public spaces. We’re gonna do that after this meeting, before the end of the week… First of all, we are not a social VR game… This is not a chat application where we get people together and hanging around in a room talking to each other. High Fidelity is designed to be a platform anticipating the very broad use of VR across the internet for things like this.. going to work, going to school, doing all kinds or different things.

And we’re certainly doing our very best to get that started, but we sort of feel lately… a couple of things have happened that make us feel we are making a mistake by running the biggest servers… We feel like we are actively doing a disservice to everyone by running these public spaces. Instead, what we ought to have is you guys running your own spaces…

At least as an experiment, but hopefully, as a good call, and we’re going to do it in the next day or so, is we’re going to shut everything down, except for a help space for new users… but it will be a tiny space, and we aren’t going to let anybody hang out there.


One of the problems that VR has right now… the most popular VR app in the world is Beat Saber… the number [of concurrent users] is going to be about 700. So one important thing is that in the prior year, not only have we failed to get 1,000 [user] concurrency, but so has everybody else. Now, VRChat has 1,000 concurrency… but I don’t hang out there a lot… But I don’t think that the experience you have in VRChat is yet my vision of a real virtual world.

Second, by shutting down our public servers, I actually make the prediction that there will be… more people concurrent across the servers that you guys run than us. So I’m not saying that we’re giving up on the servers, I’m saying that I want you to run them.


Given the number of people that we have…let’s add to it Anyland and Neos[VR], and for that matter even Rec Room, even though that’s much more of a game. Let’s actually add all those people together into one product. That company will not survive. There’s not enough revenue… Everybody here that’s having such a good time…you guys need to pay us US$10,000 a month for us to keep the company going, indefinitely into the future, for us to basically be a positive cash-flow company, as we say here in the Valley. And everybody else in VR right now is faced by that.

Now there’s two ways to think about that. This is one of these ego-threatening things so that it’s hard to see clearly, to look at it objectively. Way number one is to say, it’s just that there’s too many bugs in this High Fidelity thing. If they just fix the bugs, why, people would fall out of the sky like cats and dogs into here. If that were true, you’d see them falling into somewhere else. And what’s happening is that the open-platform system we have here isn’t attracting very many people in this day and age. And so we’ve gotta ponder what to do about that.

One thing to do, which all the companies have been doing… is better support for desktop users. Because any assessment of the rate of progress on HMDs is a sobering one… they are not selling enough to create a general-purpose community that is both interesting and profitable… So, it’s really important to recognize, that through no fault of our collective selves… it’s not working. This model is not working right now. The flat world that is an open building environment, is not compelling enough as it stands right now, for the number of HMDs that are out there, to get lift off. And so we’ve gotta think hard about that.

It is going to work, believe me. I’ve worked my whole life on this and I’m quite certain, I know it’s ultimately going to happen. I’m just saying to your guys, just fixing the bugs we have… is not likely to get us or any other company to cash-flow break even…It’s also got to be enough to move you guys to make great content. There should be 15, 20, 50 people around the table right now making a living in here. And we’re not there yet. So we gotta figure that out.


You guys, this is not Second Life in 2004. Second Life actually took off like a rocket, once it got working. Even though it had tons and tons of problems… but it took off like an absolute rocket. And the reason that it did, I think, was that this experience of bringing a lot of people together and letting them build things together live, well, in the time frame when we built Second Life, it had never, ever been seen by anyone. It was the most exceptional, jaw-dropping thing that anybody had ever seen except in science fiction.

The problem we have today is that that’s just not true. The internet affords us many, many, many, many different ways to be together as people, for example, or just to chat. And so one of the things we are up against here is that there is not as much of a genesis moment with something Like High Fidelity or, for that matter, something like VRChat. Coming online you just don’t have the kind of meme in the sense of a grand or cultural meme kind of written out there like Second Life did. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make it. It simply means that we have to be more clever and the strategy that we use to get people in here has to be somewhat different.

What do you think about the closure of the public domains/spaces ? 

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New Linden Homes & SSP Continent “will be announced when it happens”


On Sunday 7th April Patch Linden went live on Relay Rap Radio Talk Show to talk about the new Linden Homes project that the lab have been working on since mid 2018. There was a large inworld audience on the American Cancer Society Island and there was a live stream of the event via T1 Radio.

Most of the hour was about the Home & Garden Expo, Relay For Life of Second Life including future plans/events, Sansar and ways to reduce lag.

Guests this week…

  • Kaerri Rae – Home & Garden Expo Lead
  • Stingray Raymaker – American Cancer Society Staff Partner
  • Special Guest Patch Linden

Here are some newer updates from the radio show this afternoon…

  • The opening “will be announced when it happens”
  • Currently “one week past the original roll out date”
  • There will be four house styles to choose from. Eventually “there will be six to eight more styles” for Linden Homes – some 512sq and some 1024sq
  • The new SSP continent will “grow futher down South then East” where the new water regions are
  • It’s recommended to get a new Linden Home quickly as there may be a long wait
  • The old Linden homes will be going away and will be shut down. At least a year or two before this happens.

I think the launch will probably happen in the week ahead with more being rolled out before the end of April 2019 if all goes to plan. Easter is fast approaching so it could be a big surprise.

I will post more SSP updates soon.

VWBPE19 (Above the Book) With Patch Linden and Grumpity Linden


Patch Linden (Senior Director, Product Operations) and Grumpity Linden (Senior Director of Product) went live during the (Above the Book) session at VWBPE 2019 yesterday afternoon (4th April) talking about what’s new at Linden Lab.

The session lasted for 55 minutes with a large audience at the VWBPE conference area. There were some updates on the new Linden Homes continent, new user experience and inworld tools in this session but nothing major to announce.

Some highlights worth mentioning were these…

  • Linden Homes are about to come out which is a large project, structure of the regions are redesigned to be more organically
  • The new continent will grow in time, water expansions/connections and spaces for flying expected to happen
  • There are exciting things happening in the pipeline (late 2019/2020)
  • The lab are working on IOS text based viewer
  • Estate tools will be improving very soon
  • Lab not been focused on media on a prim recently

Q&A started at 30 minutes with questions put to Patch Linden and Grumpity Linden from the community. There were mentions of search, mobile, community gateways, groups and much more.

If you have missed any of the VWBPE 2019 sessions so far then you can catch up here.

 

Ebbe Altberg talks about the future of Second Life and Sansar


Check out the latest new interview with Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab talking about the future of Second Life and Sansar. Wagner James Au interviewed Ebbe Altberg for 45 minutes at Linden Lab HQ in San Francisco in March 2019.

They chatted about efforts to grow new user growth, land discounts, the upcoming mobile companion app, cloud deployment, improving performance and much more relating to Second Life. With Sansar they chatted about the low usage numbers since the beta launch, Sansar’s long download times and efforts to optimize Sansar.

It’s incredible to think Ebbe Altberg has now been with Linden Lab for over five years and he has achieved a great amount over the years from reducing land costs, the roll out of Mesh, Bento, Animesh, improved the communications with the community, improved the experience for premium members and much more.

Some highlights that I found most interesting,,,

  • The new IOS mobile companion app is being worked on. It’s going to be focused on being connected with friends, chat, shopping, customer service and more. The lab are not considering it to be a viewer in the short term.
  • New pricing options/discounts are coming soon (within next few months)
  • Lot’s of new features (EEP) for Second Life (within weeks)
  • Second Life is targeted to move completely to the Amazon cloud within the next 12 months (early – mid 2020)
  • The premium subscriber base is growing
  • The lab are focused on continuing revenue & user growth for Second Life.
  • The lab are now interested in growing the concurrency levels and retention rates
  • There are no plans to force migrate Second Life users to Sansar
  • There are more people working on Second Life (130+) than Sansar (70+)
  • There is work to continue to reduce Sansar long download times
  • Sansar is still in beta and still in pre-launch mode
  • The lab are shipping big updates every month

For more specific highlights from this interview see here.