Ebbe Altberg: looking back at his time in Second Life, Sansar and Linden Lab


2014

Ebbe Altberg was announced as the new CEO of Linden Lab back on 5th February 2014 where he mentioned that he was absolutely committed to supporting Second Life customers and helping them become even more successful. He mentioned back then that there were significant opportunities ahead and he looked forward to leading the community into the next phase of growth. Ebbe started tweeting about Second Life and answering questions via his Twitter account shortly afterwards.

There was a small invitation only for a selection of Second Life press and I was lucky to attend this meet & greet meeting. It was hosted at PR island in a nice meeting spot just north of the region with Pete Linden and Ebbe Altberg.

Meet and Greet 2014

Ebbe was featured on show 5 of The Drax Files hosted by Draxtor Despres. This was a nice welcoming show with many guests on the show talking about Second Life. Listen here. On 10th February 2014 Ebbe Linden created his Second Life account.

Ebbe attended his first VWBPE event in April 2014 where he talked about the educational uses of Second Life, improving communications and plans for the future of Second Life. Over 200 avatars attended with over 150+ viewers watching via Livestream. Ebbe talked about Second Life terms of service, the metaverse, future technologies, branding and much more.

Ebbe Altberg, Philip Rosedale and Draxtor Despres attended the Silicon Valley VR expo (creating the VR Metaverse) in May 2014. They talked about many topics from avatar portability, intellectual property, identity and privacy along with much more.

Ebbe attended one of the third party viewer meetings back on 20th June 2014 where he announced that Linden Lab was working on a next generation virtual world. The aim was to create an incredible experience and enable high quality creativity.

In late August 2014 Ebbe confirmed on Twitter that official Oculus Rift DK2 support is coming along. He mentioned that Second Life going to get better and keep going for a long time.

In early October 2014 Designing Worlds celebrated their 250 episode with Ebbe Altberg with a 90 minute programme. Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin asked Ebbe about the new platform, Second Life and it’s future. Here are some of the highlights here.

2015

On 10th February 2015 Ebbe Linden celebrated he’s first Rezday in Second Life.

In mid March 2015 Ebbe talked more about the next generation platform at VWBPE 2015 mentioning that it is progressing well and there was 30+ engineers working on it. At this point the lab had only worked on this new platform for about 8-9 months. Ebbe wanted to make land cheaper, he was a fan of strong communities and he wanted to support mobile from the beginning.

VWBPE 2014

On Friday 26th June 2015 Ebbe Linden was interviewed by Jo Yardley and Saffia Widdershins at the SL12B Auditorium. This part of the last Meet The Lindens talks at the birthday celebrations. Ebbe talked about Project Sansar, third party viewers and more.

In early August 2015 Ebbe Altberg and Nick Ochoa met up and discussed Project Sansar. This was a very interesting interview where Ebbe mentioned closed alpha and the alpha phase. Ebbe mentioned that Second Life was south of 1 million active monthly users. People cashed out 60 million dollars in 2014.

In early December 2015 Ebbe Altberg talked about the future of virtual reality on Bloomberg West with Altspacevr founder and CEO Eric Romo. Ebbe mentioned that there is a mass market for VR, it’s going to take a while (next few years) for people to get VR hardware in their hands and Second Life cashed out 60 million dollars from creating virtual experiences in 2014.

2016

Ebbe revealed some new screenshots of Project Sansar back in early February 2016 showing examples of what environments (Mars & the Moon) can look like inside the new platform. The community had very mixed feedback on these screenshots. Ebbe mentioned that it takes a few hours to create a multi user VR experience with Project Sansar.

In early March 2016 Ebbe Linden talked about Second Life at VWBPE 2016. Ebbe mentioned that Second Life performance was continuing improving, quality and stability was improving. The lab was working on new avatars and new web on prim. The lab was focused on creators for the rest of 2016 and that general amiability would come at the end of 2016 for Project Sansar.

In late October 2016 Ebbe showed off the first demo of Sansar on stage during Wall Street Journal’s Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. This was the first video demo of Sansar (1min/51secs) showing new footage of the next generation platform which was due to open to the public in January 2017.

In the first video demo of Sansar Ebbe Linden is showing the audience how easy it is to grab things and move virtual furniture using with the Oculus Touch controller. Ebbe Linden talked about how users will be able to create, buy and sell virtual goods within Sansar. Ebbe said that food is a tricky thing in VR and that there will be a currency/marketplace. Ebbe Linden finishes by saying that Sansar is was in the creator preview phrase and that hundreds of creators have been invited so far and the roll out will continue right into Q1 2017.

2017

In late March 2017 Ebbe Altberg had a hour long conversation with Kevin Feenan at the 10th annual VWBPE conference about education in Second Life and the education possibilities that could happen in Sansar. Ebbe mentioned during this conversation that Second Life is the most successful virtual world ever made to this day and that Second Life is a successful product/profitable product. In terms of Sansar he mentioned that Sansar will be another platform to explore and that Sansar would enable you to do things you cant do in Second Life.

2018

Ebbe Altberg at VWBPE 2018 in mid March 2018. He talked about VR, Second Life, Sansar, education, land prices and much more. There was no major announcements this year to mention but rather small updates. The attendance was pretty good for both inworld and online numbers. A few Lindens made a special appearance at the Main Auditorium.

Ebbe Altberg attended the special Town Hall event in late April 2018 which lasted for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Ebbe talked about the future of Second Life and much more.

In mid June 2018 Ebbe Altberg and Philip Rosedale was featured on the Second Life 15th birthday video. Ebbe in this video was speaking from Amsterdam and he mentioned that 68 million US dollars was paid to creators in 2017. 5 million virtual goods listed in the marketplace and that Linden Lab are moving massive amounts of infrastructure into the cloud. There was a special surprise appearance from the founder of Second Life Philip Rosedale where he mentioned that Second Life 15 years later is still going strong and that Second Life is the most successful virtual world out there today.

Ebbe Altberg town hall meeting on Thursday 13th September 2018 talking about Second Life.

2019

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.

Ebbe unveiled his brand new special Ebbe Linden bear during the 2019 SL Christmas Expo in early December 2019. This was a one off L$250 donation which went to the American Cancer Society.

2020

Ebbe and Grumpity went through the 2020 roadmap for Second Life on Lab Gab back in late February 2020. Ebbe announced that Linden Lab was no longer supporting Sansar and that the focus will go on Second Life along with Tilia.

In mid March 2020 Ebbe Altberg posted a message on the Second Life official blog about the situation with Coronavirus and Second Life operations. Ebbe mentioned that Linden Lab saw an increase in new registrations and returning residents. The blog post mentioned that Second Life will continue to be available without interruption as we get though this tough time together.

At the end of March 2020 Ebbe then appeared on Lab Gab episode 19 with Brett Linden to talk about the health crisis and more.

Ebbe attended SL17B in June 2020 and had a great live conversation with Saffia Widdershins. Ebbe mentioned about the cloud uplift to transition all of the Second Life services from the co-location data centre used by Linden Lab to Amazon AWS cloud services. Ebbe mentioned education, the second life economy, the roadmap, the sale of Sansar and more.

In early July 2020 Linden Research, Inc announced it signed an agreement to be acquired by an investment group led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager. This will become a new chapter, an new opportunity and another expansion for Second Life along with Tilia. See the official press release here.

“We’re excited for this new chapter to begin. We see this as an opportunity to continue growth and expansion for Second Life and our money services business Tilia,” says Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg. “We’re grateful for the ongoing support from our community, business partners and investors. Now more than ever, there is increased recognition of the value and utility of virtual worlds to bring people together for safe, shared, and social online experiences.”

By mid July 2020 Ebbe Altberg and Brett Linden responded to the company’s acquisition. There was a huge amount of mixed responses on the news on Twitter and on the Second Life forums. Most Second Life residents were worried and concerned about the future of Second Life.

2021

Ebbe Altberg last made an appearance inworld I believe at Oz Linden retirement event earlier in 2021 around February. Ebbe appearance has been very low during the first five months of 2021.

Ebbe Altberg Twitter account was rather quiet then usual after November 2020. There was some activity in mid April 2021 though. Ebbe did not do a speech at VWBPE 2021 back in March 2021 which I thought was rather strange.

Patch Linden announces that Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab passed away on Friday 4th June 2021.

What were your memories of Ebbe Altberg/Ebbe Linden ? Please share in comments. Thanks!

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.

Sansar Moving Over To Steam And Dropping SandeX


Linden Lab has made a major announcement today that Sansar will be moving over to the popular gaming platform Steam in early 2019. Linden Lab will be discontinuing the SandeX exchange as of 4th December 2018. After that date the lab plans on moving to a fixed conversion rate model.

It’s important to mention that Second Life didn’t work out very well on Steam back in 2012. It’s going to be interesting to see what impact this will have on Sansar’s user usage and revenue during 2019. The lab are gambling on a huge influx of new users with cash to spend to make Sansar more successful in the years ahead.

Here is the full blog announcement on the changes coming up soon for Sansar…

Sansar has come a long way since we started the project. In 2018 we have devoted an enormous amount of effort to improving the end-user experience, and will continue to do so.

Given those improvements, we believe we are quickly approaching the point where we want to start bringing a large number of users onto the platform. This is an important milestone for us and especially our creators. One of the foundational principles of Sansar is that creators must be able to profit from their creations. For us to make that a reality, we need to give our creators a large audience of customers.

The cornerstone of our growth effort will be to put Sansar on Steam. Steam is where more than half of the VR market goes to find software. It also is a huge pool of users who are interested in our space and are likely to have the hardware required to run Sansar. We anticipate being able to get onto Steam by the end of this year. This is a huge step for us and we’re excited to be able introduce Sansar to an even wider audience.

In order to do this, we are obligated to make significant changes to how Sansar works, especially in how the Sansar Dollar and process credit system work. These changes, will also make the credit process for Creators far more consistent and predictable. The first change is that we will be discontinuing the Sandex as of December 4, 2018.

After that date, we will be moving to a fixed conversion rate model. Creators will continue to be able to sell their work for Sansar Dollars on the Store (and soon in experiences!). Eligible creators may convert some or all of their earned Sansar Dollar balance to US dollars at a rate of S$250 to $1, and then request a USD credit to be processed in 30 days. This matches Steam’s payment timeline.

We understand that this may have an impact on the amount of revenue returned to creators compared to the Sandex. However, we believe that in the long run our creators will significantly benefit from having access to the larger Steam user base. In addition, anyone who has created their Sansar account before December 31, 2018 will receive a legacy conversion rate of S$143 to $1 until December 31, 2019, after which the conversion rate for all accounts will be S$250 to $1.

Our automated Sansar Dollar Conversion page will not be available until January 2019. In the interim, we are committed to working with our Creators to manually process credit requests of Sansar Dollars through an email process, the details of which will soon follow.

We are excited about our move onto Steam and the migration to a fixed-rate model. It is a momentous change for our platform and our community. The changes outlined here will make Sansar accessible to a larger audience, while also make processing credits more consistent and predictable. Thank you for your support with these changes. They will help Sansar grow as huge as we all know it can be.

If you have any questions about this change or the manual credit requests, feel free to contact us via TwitterFacebook, or on Discord. You can also attend our next Product Meetup on Friday Nov. 2nd at 11am PDT. If you can’t make it into Sansar for the Product Meetup, you can join us through our live Twitch stream. Further events to discuss these changes will be made available at the community’s request.

Thanks, and Happy Building,

– Landon McDowell

Chief Product Officer, Sansar

Latest Sansar Release

Jason Gholston Leaves Sansar and Linden Lab


Jason Gholston has officially left Sansar and Linden Lab this month after six years. Jason has started his new job as a creative director at Speech Graphics in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jason will be working on providing accurate avatar lip-syncing and facial animations which sounds very interesting indeed.

In Second Life

Jason joined Linden Lab back in April 2012 and led the Second Life maintenance engineering team with a main focus on customer retention and quality of service. Jason worked on managing the Oculus Rift integration with Second Life.

In Sansar

Jason then worked on Sansar developing social VR experiences on the Sansar platform for clients like Intel and Warner Bros. He worked on creating the Unity prototypes used to greenlight the development of Sansar.

Jason was the product manager at Sansar and he was responsible for management of the monthly releases of Sansar. From the engine, rendering, audio, level editor, terrain editor, VR level editor, avatar simulation and content pipeline teams. Jason hosted weekly VR meetups at the beginning in Sansar with the community to gather feedback, help troubleshoot issues and provide tutorials.

Jason Initiated and negotiated unique tech partnerships and content commissions valued over $2 million.

Good luck Jason 🙂 

New Sansar Release: Script, Snapshot and Share


New Sansar Release

On 16th August a new Sansar release became available which includes more SimpleScripts, three new options when taking snapshots and Edit Mode improvements. This is another exciting release with tons of new features to enjoy from the Sansar team.


Sharing Screenshots

Now when you take a Screenshot in Sansar, you will have the option to share to it your Profile on Sansar.com. In the future we hope to bring this feature into the Sansar client.

More SimpleScripts

We have three more SimpleScripts that have being added to all users inventories. In addition to the ones we released previously, we adding the following:

  • SimpleDispenser
  • SimpleMedia
  • SimpleObjectReset

SimpleDispenser allows you create an object that can spawn other objects. For example, you can create an Vending Machine that, when you hit a button (SimpleInteraction) spits out a Soda Can.

The script also comes with options to clear all objects spawned by SimpleDispenser, as well as giving them a directional velocity when spawned. You can visit Dice Dispenser to see an example of this script in use.

SimpleMedia allows for media switching between different videos from YouTube or Twitch. Combined with a SimpleInteraction and you can create a set of channels that you can hop between at the push of a button.

Check out the new Greenwall experience – a joint project with our friends at OpticGaming – to see the script in action. Catch CoD Champs this weekend and the Dota 2 International mainstage event next week!

SimpleObjectReset can be put on an object, so that when our friends – SimpleInteraction or SimpleCollision – are activated, the objects are returned to the position they were initially set at.

You can see this at work with all of the games in the Greenwall experience from Bowling, to Shuffleboard, to Cornhole – many of these games will have a “Reset” button to return all of the game pieces to their starting position.

If you want to learn how to use SimpleScripts in your experiences, or want to find out how to get started creating your own world in Sansar – tune into our weekly stream on Twitch.


That’s what’s new, let’s dive into what is improved!

Add to Calendar

Our recent “Add to Calendar” feature on the Sansar website, is now being brought into the Sansar client! Now you can add it to your calendar to make sure you never miss an event, you can even add an event to your Google Calendar, or other 3rd party calendars.

Edit Mode improvements

These improvements to Edit Mode are one of the biggest parts of today’s release, and expect more improvements in the next release towards the end of August/start of September.

Scene Objects

You can now rename an object in the Scene Objects window, and each object in the Scene Objects window will now have a unique icon to help identify items.

Toggle Visibility and Selectability per Object

Tired of trying to select something, but something else keeps getting the way? Now you can hide specific objects by either making them invisible to you (that will still be visible in the experience). You can also make an object “unselectable” so that you can’t click on it unless you want to, such as the walls of house you have finished placing.

Generate Scene Reports

We’re looking at ways to surface more information about experiences for our advanced creators. So now we’re adding Scene reports! You can now export a .CSV breakdown of every object in your scene, including: Object Name, Estimated Size for Download, Number of Textures, Number of Triangles.

Other improvements include Locking Persistence – a new session will now remember what objects you “Locked” from movement. You can now also import lights in a .FBX file allowing you to set lights to an object before you bring it into Sansar, and those lights will still be editable in Sansar.


Scripting Changes

There are a number of improvements being brought to scripts that you can read about in greater detail here.

The biggest change is that we are doubling the number of parameters in a script from 10, to 20. We are certain our scripting community will be excited to utilise the newfound creativity this can offer them, especially since we have added HTTP capabilities in our last release.

That’s it for today’s release. TONIGHT, join us for a guided tour of the Roddenberry Nexus with the Mission Log Podcast hosts Ken & john. Tomorrow, watch our Learn to Build stream at 11am PDT, and this weekend, come hangout by the Greewall space and watch the CoD champs finals.

For full details on this update, you can read the complete Release Notes here.

Sansar Open Beta opening “next week anyway” according to Oz Linden at TPV Meeting


Sansar Breaking News

At a recent Third Party Viewer meeting at 17 minutes / 12 seconds Oz Linden via voice chat in public said that Sansar Open Beta opening starts on Monday. He then quickly changed that seconds later by saying “next week anyway” which is rather interesting.

Oz Linden said that Second Life is not going away – not even a little bit. Yay! 🙂

If this news is correct then this is very exciting news for those interested in trying out the Sansar Open Beta finally after a long wait.

Next week will be most interesting to see if Sansar Open Beta will finally launch or if it gets delayed further into August or September. We will have to wait and see.

More updates soon..