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.
I have included various bits on OpenSim and Sansar. I’m looking forward to more blogging in 2019.
In mid July it was reported that there were two weeks of private regions growth in Second Life after the lab announced the new pricing restructuring. It’s good to see the grid growing again.
The well known InWorldz grid closed down after financial difficulties. This was a big blow to the entire OpenSim community and many decided to move to other OpenSim grids (The Adult Grid, DigiWorldz, Discovery etc). InWorldz was one of the first OpenSim grids I joined back in 2010.
A brand new continent appeared north-east on the Second Life map. The region names SSP1 to SSP80. Since then the continent has grown in size to 384 regions and it still remains closed to the public. Many have been saying it will be used for new Linden homes or possibly games.
The Relay For Life of Second Life team officially decided to start the 2019 season a month earlier. The kick off event starts at 10am SLT on Saturday 16th February and the annual Relay Weekend will happen on 8th & 9th June 2019.
Ebbe Altberg held a town hall event with the Second Life community talking about the important things the lab have been working on including last names, tier rates, Linden homes, the cloud, premium subscription options and much more.
Linden Lab revamped the Second Life Join Page making it easier to join than ever before. Everyone joining for the first time today can now choose their avatar type and membership level. Hopefully in 2019 the ability to change/choose your last name will happen.
Linden Lab decided to block the third party Android viewer “IM to SecondLife“. Apparently the block was due to serious violations of the policy on the Third Party viewers page.
Second Life and OpenSim communities received some sad news that Google+ was going be closing down in Q1 2019. For most I think now is the time to leave Google+ and try out other social networks.
The old SLUniverse Forums were closed down in early October. The new VirtualVerse One has been up and running for the past few months now. It’s very active and the community is growing pretty nicely.
Linden Lab made a major announcement that Sansar will be moving over to the popular Steam platform and dropping Sandex. Since the launch on Steam on 5th December 2018 the usage numbers have not been very high. It will be interesting if the numbers can improve during 2019.
Sansar reached a peak of 73 visitors via the chart for monthly public visitors. The number of experiences surpassed 1, 100 in late 2018. It will be interesting to see if the usage stays the same or increases throughout 2019.
Linden Lab sent out a statement on creator rights and IP protection for creating content in Second Life. In the statement the lab writes “recently, there’s been some debate about one of the more esoteric aspects of content creation, which impacts many in our community”. That debate is around the use of UV maps in mesh heads apparently. There has been a report of one designer issuing DMCA notices against many creators in Second Life.
The Sansar team released the new look at me release featuring a while new user interface, a first person avatar view, tons of revised controls, new & custom emotes, script raycasting and more.
Things that I took away from the town hall meeting..
Linden Lab is pleased with the response to lowering mainland tier. Resident owned mainland is at levels they haven’t seen for some time
The return of last names is still being worked on and it will probably wont be ready for deployment until Q2 2019. It may cost as much as several months of premium. Name change only for people with premium membership
Linden Lab are working on new genres for Linden Homes and parcels will come in difference sizes. It looks like the new SSP continent will be the new Linden Homes continent.
Animesh shipped this week on the grid and the viewer is in release
Linden Lab are looking at possible new features for Premium members including adding more group slots in 2019
There is a major project for 2019 to renew the Mainland group textures which is possible
Marketplace wish lists, favourites, bug fixes work continues quickly
Grid wide experiences will be coming next year when premium accounts get upgrades
The cloud migration is a big project still and more work still need to be done for moving stuff
SL rail system needs work on and its on the roadmap
The classic system avatar is not being phased out
The Pfaffenthal 1867 regions closed down in Second Life and moved to Sansar after having a strong presence inworld for many years. Pfaffenthal 1867 is moving over to Sansar because the land is free, the graphics is better, the use of VR headsets and real physical interactivity.
Sansar officially launched on Steam on 5th December 2018. It’s going to be interesting to see if Sansar can now reach a much bigger audience with it now being on the Steam platform. We will have to wait and see. Sansar now has greater potential to reach thousands of users in 2019/2020.
Google announced that Google+ will now be shutting down in April 2019 after the company suffered another data leak effecting 52.5 million users.
The Firstorm team released the Animesh Beta viewer. The full Animesh supported Firestorm release will be coming in early 2019. This new viewer release 6.0.1 is now fully merged to the 6.0.0 Linden code-base. There are plenty of changes, bug fixes, improvements in this latest release. Full Change Log
Linden Lab published their 2018 end of year key accomplishments and new feature highlights. The blog post goes into detail on new experiences, the Environment Enhancement Project, performance updates, reduction on land costs and much more.
OFFICIAL 2018 STATISTICS
Residents spent an estimated 336 million hours inworld
50 million+ chat messages daily
Daily concurrency rates remain stable
$65 million was paid out to Residents
Over 5 million virtual goods for sale on the Second Life Marketplace
This active population helped keep the Second Life economy healthy in 2018
2019: The Year Ahead
You can expect to see more improvements made to Second Life in 2019 including new grid-wide experiences, the ability to change your name, migration to the cloud and Linden Home updates.
Animesh and EEP will improve greatly next year I think. Second Life will have its 16th birthday in June 2019. The birthday events are always big and exciting. The new SSP regions are still being worked on and the lab will reveal details on that next year. 2018 has been a good year for region growth in Second Life I think after years of the grid declining. Hopefully the growth trend will continue in 2019.
I’m looking forward to all the annual events and more adventures next year.
There is a few things that are pretty worrying though Flickr and Google+ in 2019. Flickr because of the recent account changes they have made (your safe if you upgrade to PRO) and Google+ because it’s shutting down in April. Both of these platforms have a strong Second Life user-base and next year it’s going to be a pretty rough I think.
I think OpenSim will continue to do well and I guess the big question can Sansar draw in more users on Steam in 2019 ?.
It’s going to be an interesting 2019 ride for sure. Anything can happen and I’ll be ready to blog about it.
Sansar officially launched on Steam on 5th December 2018 and here are the statistics which Steam collects on Sansar. Sansar Charts calls it “An ongoing analysis of Steam’s concurrent players”. It looks like the launch of Sansar according to Steam’s statistics managed an all time peak of 72 players on 6th December 2018.
Times on the graphs are UK time for reference
Linden Lab don’t publish official statistics on Sansar but they do count them all
On 6th December CEO Ebbe Altberg said this in the official Sansar Discord channel:
Steam tracks [people] logged in via Steam. Gindipple]/Galen log people in [Sansar] experiences that are public. We [Linden Lab] count them all – regardless how they logged in, where they are or what they do. 3 different numbers where ours will always be the bigger, sum of all, number.
Now let’s look at Sansar on the AppID page showing some interesting statistics including current players, the 24 hour peak and the all time peak. You can view it by day or week.
76 players is the all time peak so far as of 19 hours ago since the Sansar launch on Steam
This graph below shows Sansar players on Steam today showing the past 24 hours. Times are UK time.
Metaverse Machines Statistics
There has definitely been more interest during the past month with a few rather high peaks. Will these numbers grow into the hundreds during 2019 ?
Since the launch of Sansar on Steam there have been 37 reviews which has been mainly positive. 30 positive and 7 negative to sum up. It’s been interesting reading them all and hearing what it’s actually like using Sansar.
These are still early days for Sansar on Steam I know and the big question everyone is asking is will Sansar bring in a large number of users in the months ahead ?. Yes I think it will. Probably more users during 2019 & 2020.
The numbers I’ve seen so far are pretty low from the graphs shown above but I say give Sansar more time on Steam and the numbers may get much higher. Seeing these statistics are pretty important I think and hopefully the lab will release theirs in some way during 2019.
If the numbers don’t get higher like into the hundreds or thousands of users or interest remains flat in the next few years the lab could be in trouble. I think Sansar still has big potential.
Linden Lab wants to see the Sansar community grow significantly from now on. The Sansar team will continue to push out new release updates regularly during 2019. It’s important to mention that Sansar is the Early Access phrase at the moment so visibility on Steam is reduced.
Sansar is free to play on Steam and will be staying in the early access phrase for some time. You can now expect Linden Lab to listen to the feedback from the community and then roll out new features in the months ahead.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Sansar can now reach a much bigger audience with it now being on the Steam platform. We will have to wait and see. Sansar now has greater potential to reach millions of users in the weeks ahead.
Details about the Early Access…
Sansar is a place where you can hang out with friends, play games, explore new worlds, and share incredible creations, but we can’t do that without you! Being in Early Access is important to us to make sure we’re hearing directly from the community on what you’d like to see and do in Sansar. Come join us!”
Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“We plan on staying in Early Access until Sansar is the very best it can be. We’re constantly making improvements, and we’re eager for your feedback.”
How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“We want Sansar to be the place where people can connect with communities and celebrate what they love through immersive virtual experiences, interactive events, customizable avatars, and easy creation. That’s why we plan to develop even more features around socialization, interactivity, personalization, and creation – elements that enrich the social experiences our platform enables. Plans will change based on your feedback, and we’re always listening and learning.”
What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“Right now, Sansar lets you host and attend virtual events, play games, explore user-created experiences, and buy and sell merchandise in the Sansar Store. Meet friends for a watch party and tailgate. Buy clothing and accessories for your avatars, or objects for the virtual experiences you build.
Here are the system requirements for running Sansar in Steam...
First view of Sansar on the Steam website…
Here is the blog announcement made on the Sansar blog earlier today…
SANSAR HAS LAUNCHED ON STEAM!
As of today, December 5th, we are officially live on Steam!
We wanted to give a huge thank you to our current community who have been so supportive, and to extend a warm “Welcome” to all our new community members joining us from Steam!
You can find us on Steam as an Early Access Game, where we’re free to download. Even better, you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits of Steam as a social platform for gamers including full access to our Steam Community Hub!
As reminder, as part of our effort to get onto Steam we have had to make alterations to our currency model, details of which can be found in this blog post.
We can’t wait for you to take this step with us, and we’d love your help in spreading the word!
Here are some things you can do if you’d like to help out:
If you have any questions, feel free to bring them to our weekly Product Meetup Thursdays at 11am PDT in Sansar!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I have to use a Steam account or have to launch Sansar through Steam?
No. If you have an existing Sansar account, it will still function the same way it always has. Additionally, you will still be able to launch Sansar from the desktop client. Even after we launch on Steam, you will still be able to create new Sansar accounts and download the latest Sansar client, from our website.
You can also add Sansar (downloaded from our website) as a 3rd-party program you can launch from Steam
Will I be able tomerge my Sansar and Steam accounts?
No. We are not allowing account merging at this time.
If I want to use my existing Sansar account, can I still login to Steam?
Yes! If you are logged in to Steam, and download Sansar through the Steam platform, when you launch Sansar you will be prompted to login with the Sansar account of your choice.
Do I have to buy Sansar dollars through Steam?
If you created your Sansar account through Steam you have to have to use your Steam Wallet to purchase Sansar Dollars. If you created your Sansar account through our website, we will use the purchasing information we have one file.
How do I request a cashout of my Sansar balance?
Processing credit from Sansar into your Paypal account is temporarily on hold, but will be re-enabled in early 2019. Until then, if you would like to request a manual pyaout, you can find instructions on how to do that here.
What do you think of Sansar on Steam ? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks 🙂