On 2nd March 2016 there was a new article posted on Second Life and Project Sansar via readwrite.com which is worth reading. Ryan Matthew Pierson spoke to Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab, Peter Gray the director of global communications for the lab and Gary Wisniewski who is the founder of Treet.TV.
The article begins with Second Life mentioning things you can can participate inworld such as visiting nightclubs, art exhibits, shopping mails and more. There is mention that there is a surge of virtual reality headsets coming to the market which is true but it’s still very early days for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The article goes on to the magic behind Second Life rise in popularity where it goes into detail about the media attention Second Life had between 2006 and 2007. I would say today there is still media attention on Second Life but probably not as much as there used to be.
“Much of this media attention hyped the breakthrough technology behind bringing a living, thriving virtual world to life where residents could build virtual objects using basic shapes – referred to as primitives or “prims” by its residents – from within the world itself”.
“You could travel quickly from island to island, experiencing a fantasy world filled with a lush forest one minute and a sprawling post-apocalyptic CyberPunk-style city the next. Just about everywhere you went, there were crowds of people taking in the sights, chatting about their experiences, or dancing the night away in one of Second Life’s many nightclubs”.
I remember joining when the population of Second Life was about the hit the 1 million mark and this was a major milestone for Second Life back in the early days. It’s a balancing act between first life and Second Life I would say.
“Second Life’s active population grew to over 1,000,000 residents. These residents came from all walks of life, and from across the globe. A culture began to form within the virtual world, leading to the popular in-world joke: “I’ve canceled my subscription to first life.”
In the article Ryan mentions some of the advantages for using Second Life from owning land, starting a business, building a house to starting up new communities .
“There was indeed something about Second Life that appealed to those that called it their virtual home. You could own land, start businesses, build your own house, and establish virtual neighborhoods and communities.“
“This appeal extended well beyond tech-savvy early adopters. Many residents found that you could do things in Second Life that transcended physical disadvantages. For example, someone bound to a wheelchair could dance the night away in Second Life’s nightclubs, or even fly through a mountain range like a superhero.”
Yay, there is mention for the annual Relay For Life events that raise so much money for charity.
“Second Life is host to annual “Relay for Life” events, offering residents the opportunity to walk or even race snails to raise money for charity.“
Early hype for Second Life
Now we come to the Bumps in the road section of the article talking about expectations and the early hype for Second Life which is rather interesting. I love reading things about the early days of Second Life.
“But despite the early hype, Second Life wasn’t necessarily ready for prime time just yet. Lag was a considerable issue for residents, and the desktop client used to connect to the virtual world was complex and difficult to master.”
Gary Wisniewski says in the article that “The main reason Second Life failed to achieve expectations is because, for the majority of new users who signed up during the growth period, the benefits of using Second Life did not exceed the effort required to gain those benefits.”
“It’s like going to Omaha Nebraska and standing on a street corner where you don’t know anybody,”
“The tendency is to take a taxi back to the airport. But, I bet if you spend a few weeks there, you’d discover some interesting things.”
Mid way through there is mention on early Second Life mentioning that children couldn’t create Second Life accounts and that ratings were used to separate the different types of content for given areas. Some had to submit payment information to verify that they are adults and agreed to access adult content.
“Early Second Life was also just starting to figure out the rules of the virtual world. There was a point when children couldn’t create Second Life accounts — as much of the virtual world was a virtual red light district. It gave Second Life a bit of a reputation for being a seedy and uninviting place for youth and businesses.”
“Linden Lab stepped in and put together some tools to help make Second Life a more friendly environment. Ratings were used to designate the type of language and content that would be accepted in given areas, with some areas designated “PG,” while others would be restricted to residents that have submitted payment information to verify that they are adults, and agreed to see adult content in-world.”
Finally there is mention that Linden Lab has improved the client and server infrastructure of Second Life to improve performance and the ease of use over the past decade. There have been so many great improvements made to Second Life over the years and I’m sure there is more great improvements going to be made during 2016.
“Over the past decade, Linden Lab has continued to improve both its client and its server infrastructure in an effort to greatly improve both performance and ease-of-use without sacrificing residents’ familiar environment and feature set.”
In mid June 2016 Second Life will be celebrating its 13th birthday. Wooot!
As many know already Project Sansar is the next generation platform and it will be built from the ground up supporting VR headsets. It will be taking the advantage of the latest technology for years to come. Second Life has supported the Oculus Rift since 2014 and if you want to experience the VR you will need to have a consistent 90 frames per second to enjoy it.
“You need a consistent 90 frames-per-second in order to really experience the immersive qualities VR can provide, a difficult feat given the heavy burden of the Second Life platform on clients.”
Ebbe Altberg says that “There is the immersion of being inside the world versus looking at the world that makes a massive difference”. “He went on to describe the feeling of true immersion that comes with not only seeing the virtual world from a 3D perspective but in having your head and arm movements relay directly to that experience.”
Linden Lab wants to make Project Sansar more cross-platform including mobile devices and HMDs. Yay!
“Linden Lab also wants to make Project Sansar more cross-platform accessible. Where Second Life is largely tied to a desktop-only experience, Project Sansar’s users will be able to log in and enjoy the virtual world from various other platforms including mobile devices as well as HMDs.”
Peter Gray says that “Our goal is to make creators successful. The creator is our target audience, and we want them to be successful and to be able to attract an audience into their creations.”
Project Sansar Cheaper Land Prices
The lab plans to lower the price of inworld land rental fees to make it more appealing to creators using Project Sansar. For a small island it’s around the $300 a month in Second Life.
“One of the ways Linden Lab plans to make Project Sansar more appealing to creators is by lowering the price of in-world land rental fees. Currently in Second Life, a full simulator – a small island in the virtual world – runs up to nearly $300 a month. With Project Sansar, they hope to bring costs down and pass those savings on to the creator.”
And there’s more…
At the end of the article there is mention on the opening of Project Sansar due around of the end of 2016/early 2017, Second Life is still a profitable part of Linden Lab business with over 900, 000 active residents with over $60 million in real world money in the past year.
There are no plans for Project Sansar to replace Second Life. Ebbe Altberg points out that both worlds will co-exist side by side for many years to come.
Peter Gray says that “Our plan is to open the doors for the world to come in and do what they want around the end of 2016.”
“But current Second Life residents need not worry; the existing Second Life is currently a profitable part of Linden Lab’s business, with over 900,000 active residents redeeming just over $60 million in real-world money from the virtual world in the past year. There are no plans for Project Sansar to replace Second Life; instead, both worlds will co-exist. “I envision Second Life and Sansar going side-by-side for many, many years,” says Altberg.”
What do you think about this latest article on Second Life and Project Sansar ? Share your views in comments below. Thanks!