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!

Wookey Project Corp. Acquires Sansar


Breaking News

On Tuesday 24th March Linden Lab officially announced that Wookey Project Corp. a San Francisco-based technology company has acquired Sansar.

The lab released another press release on the Sansar blog. It’s a new day and a new chapter for Sansar. Join us.


Why did Linden Lab sell Sansar?

Linden Lab chose to streamline its focus to continue the development and operations of the leading virtual world Second Life and licensed money services provider Tilia

Who is Wookey Project Corp.?

Wookey Project Corp. continues to create a new generation of online AR/VR experiences that allow users the power of collaborative interaction through knowledge immersion.


Here is the full press release…

WOOKEY PROJECT CORP. ACQUIRES SANSAR

2020-03-24 00:00:00 UTC

Linden Lab has had some inquiries from the public and media about the current happenings of Sansar. We are very excited to witness the unfolding of Sansar getting a fresh opportunity to thrive under the ownership of Wookey Project Corp., a San Francisco-based technology compan that has assumed all operations without any interruption to operations or the Sansar community.

We are proud to have given birth to this amazing platform for creativity and live events, and encourage our community to continue the process of supporting Sansar as it shifts to new ownership. We’ve assembled a quick FAQ to address key inquiries about this transition.

Why did Linden Lab sell Sansar?

Linden Lab chose to streamline its focus to continue the development and operations of the leading virtual world Second Life and licensed money services provider Tilia.

Is Second Life also being sold to Wookey Project Corp.?

No. Second Life and Tilia both remain under the independent ownership of Linden Lab.

Who is Wookey Project Corp.?

Wookey Project Corp. continues to create a new generation of online AR/VR experiences that allow users the power of collaborative interaction through knowledge immersion.

Will my Sansar account and personal information be safe?

Yes! Your Sansar account information remains secure and safe during this transition. Please refer to the revised Privacy and Terms and Conditions on Sansar.com to learn more. If you have comments or questions about the privacy policy, feel free to email legal@wookey.com.

Will Linden Lab retain any ownership or management with Sansar after the transition?

No. Effective immediately, Wookey Project Corp. assumes all operations and management of Sansar. Wookey Project Corp. has contracted with Tilia Inc. as a third party service provider to perform certain back office functions for Sansar, including the issuance and redemption of Sansar’s in-game virtual tokens.

What will be the focus of Sansar under the new ownership?

Sansar will continue to evolve as the premier platform for live events and entertainment including (but not limited to) support for VR, while Second Life is positioned as the Internet’s leading user-created virtual world platform. Both Linden Lab and Wookey Project Corp. will continue to develop our respective platforms independently.

What does this mean for Second Life and Linden Lab?

Operations at Second Life are not impacted at all. The Second Life community will continue to be able to login and enjoy SL without any interruption. As for Linden Lab, many members of the Sansar team formerly employed by Linden Lab are staying with Sansar as employees under its new ownership.

For more information about the future of Sansar, please see the announcement on the Sansar blog.

 

Sansar appears to now be owned by Wookey


Wookey mention at the bottom of the official Sansar website

Latest Developments

  • Updates will appear here soon

Today it appears in the Sansar Terms of Service and at the bottom of the official Sansar website it looks like Wookey may be taking over Sansar. 

There is now active discussion going on the SL Forums and via the Sansar Discord channel.

Linden Lab have not yet made any official announcements on this. Sansar no longer appears on the official Linden Lab website either.

Official Wookey website – a new world coming soon

Linden Lab moves to Plan B for Sansar


Ebbe Altberg confirmed on Friday 21st February on Lab Gab episode 14 that Linden Lab is no longer continuing to sponsor Sansar financially. The lab are now looking for a plan B for Sansar going forward.

No deal has been done yet.

Ebbe said the following below…

So as you might have heard, sadly we have decided that we, as Linden Lab, couldn’t continue to sponsor the project financially, so we’re looking for a plan B for Sansar to continue. I can’t say much, but we’re having very interesting conversations with several parties to help that project move forward, which I’m really excited about. But no deal is done yet, so people will just have to be patient and see what happens with it, but yes  it is true that Linden Lab going forward will focus entirely on Second Life and Tilia. I’m still busy making sure that Sansar finds a great home and that the great work that that team has started can continue.

Linden Lab will now focus entirely on Second Life and Tilia going forward which is good news indeed. They remain in a strong financial position at this time. More investments are coming now for Second Life.

Other Important Updates

  • Linden Lab is still developing a companion app for Second Life. There is still no ETA. Testing could start soon like in the next few months for IOS first followed with a Androud version.
  • No confirmed date for deployment for Name Changes but Name Changes will be around US $20 cheaper for Premium Plus members
  • No ETA for launch date for Premium Plus
  • 8 names confirmed for the first list of last names > Conundrum, Dismantled, Huntsman, Littlepaws, Nova, Ravenhurst, Wumpkins & Yeatley + Winners will be informed via e-mail
  • The cloud uplift project due to be completed before the end of 2020
  • Transfer costs for buy-down / grandfathered regions is to be reduced from US $600 to US $300
  • There are roughly 5,000 new accounts logging-in to Second Life every day
  • There are plans to introduce 2FA

Linden Lab updates about Second Life future & latest news on Sansar


On 13th February Linden Lab a blog post about an update to Second Life which is rather interesting to read through. Apparently Linden Lab have made some personnel and operational changes recently. A few employees have officially left the lab but the good news is that the team has strengthened more.

Linden Lab is continuing to invest heavily in Second Life going forward with many exciting developments happening pretty soon including new Linden Home themes, a new mobile companion app, the launch of last names which will be available in the next few weeks. There will be more new features, improved performance and usability updates soon.

The full blog post reads this…

There’ve been quite a few rumors about changes at the Lab and their possible effects on Second Life and Tilia. The truth is that we have made a few operational and personnel changes to ensure that we continue to stay strong for the next decade and beyond. This means that we had to say goodbye to a few employees, but at the same time we also strengthened our team by bringing back some heavy hitters who will help make Second Life better than ever.

So, Second Life is still here and still strong. We’re continuing to invest in its future and you’ll see the results of our commitment this year as we roll out a new mobile companion app, new Linden Home themes, performance and usability improvements, and a number of other new features and enhancements. The ability to change names will be available in the next few weeks, too.

These changes reflect our commitment to making SL strong for many years to come. To infinity and beyond!

Sansar Update – (13th Feb) 

Ebbe Altberg posted a update on the official Sansar Discord channel saying that there have been layoffs. Ebbe confirmed that Sansar is up and running. The future is unclear at the moment.

The lab are still in discussion about the next steps for Sansar. The problem is there will be many that will be speculating about these latest changes. Just have to wait and see now what will happen in the days and weeks ahead.

So, I’m only going to say this tonight as it’s late. We can pick up the conversation in the following days. Yes, there were layoffs today. A truly wonderful group of people. But as you can see Sansar is up and running. We are still in discussion about next steps. Including with the wonderful group of people. More to come. Don’t give up yet. Go create and have fun. Not much point in speculating until we can tell you more.

More updates soon.

Sansar reaches new all-time player peak of 221


According to the Steam Charts webpage that tracks ongoing analysis of Steam’s concurrent players it looks Sansar reached another high peak last month.

On Monday 23rd September 2019 Sansar reached 221 players on the platform which is the highest peak so far I think. The second highest peak was 167 players on Monday 1st July 2019.

Linden Lab don’t publish statistics for Sansar and these player numbers could be much higher or lower. I do think Steam Charts gives a good picture at the moment. I strongly think Linden Lab should publish player statistics for Sansar at least once or twice every year. It would be very useful to know and keep track of it.

Sansar – Steam Charts Data

Here is the breakdown of average players and peak players by month. It looks like Sansar gained more players during the summer from July 2019 onwards I think. September 2019 was a good month for the average amount of players (20.0 average). The stats were higher a little bit during the launch of Sansar on Steam back in early December 2018 with the average being (22.1).

At the bottom of the Sansar charts page it does say all data is powered by Steam.

Sansar – Steam Charts Data

There have been many noticeable gains in players during 2019 for Sansar from live events/shows and from newer releases. I agree the concurrent player numbers are low at the moment and more needs to be done by the lab to increase the active userbase for Sansar. In some ways its peaking more than most OpenSim grids get.

On 26th September 2019 the Sansar official team said this response relating to sansar player numbers via reddit..

We have a strong community helping every day to make Sansar awesome.

Your point, though, is a valid one: Sansar has not had explosive growth yet. That’s ok, we’re in this for the long haul. Building the metaverse was never going to be easy.

Our plan is the same: continue to make Sansar ever better and easier to use, make Sansar more accessible, make Sansar ever more fun. Sansar is a place where people can go wherever they want to go, do whatever they want to do, and be whoever they want to be.

That is the most powerful place in the world. People will come for that.

The interesting part from this response was this part “Sansar has not had explosive growth yet. That’s ok, we’re in this for the long haul“. The lab are expecting explosive growth to happen (probably early-mid 2020s) and they confirm Sansar is here to stay for many more years to come. 

The Sansar team wants to keep on top of competition and be in a good position to grow Sansar over the long term. 

Lacie + team

To work on a new platform gave us a huge opportunity to build a new world, and Sansar is built rather different than the way SL works pretty fundamentally. Keep in mind how long SL has been around (SL Celebrated it’s 16th Birthday Recently— it could get it’s drivers license in the US!) and how overall technology advancements have been made in nearly every field.

Had we designed a new product that was targeted to be able to bring over content from SL, it would have overly constrained our options and it would be more efficient to continue to iterate on SL to make it better. (Which we’re also doing in parallel with working on Sansar!)

But fundamentally Sansar is structured in a different way that there isn’t going to be an easy way to import content from SL and have it work effectively. If creators have their meshes, textures, etc from when they uploaded them to SL then it should be relatively easy to pull in their 3d content to Sansar!

But scripts and other pieces of dynamic content would have to be re-made. That being said if you’re familiar with the way we make APIs in LSL, it should be a relatively short learning curve to being able to do a lot of similar things in our C# scripting engine for Sansar!

As for how we’re planning on retaining our competitive advantage: we’re leveraging all the lessons we’ve learned from building and evolving SL over the years in our design and production of Sansar. We have a lot of hard-won knowledge around how to design our products for communities that scale, support our users who want to create and sell their creations, manage communities and provide a thriving marketplace. That will help us keep on top of the competition and be in a good position to grow Sansar over the long term!

I will post another Sansar stats update in December 2019 then another around April/May 2020.