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.
As there is one week left of 2018 it’s now a good time to reflect back at 2018. This is part 1 looking at the first six months of 2018 in Second Life, Sansar and OpenSim. There have been many great memories and some not so good moments this year.
I think probably the biggest things I’ll remember most about 2018 is the following…
Second Life reached the big 15 years milestone
Linden Lab reducing the land prices (more region growth this year)
The announcement that last names were returning later in 2018
The closure of the InWorldz grid
Sansar launching on Steam
Bay City turned 10 in Second Life
SLUniverse Forums changing over to VirtualVerse
The year started with a bang with Pete Linden departing Linden Lab after nine years. Pete decided to move over to Facebook. Pete Linden served under four Second Life CEOs including Philip Rosedale, Mark Kingdon, Rod Humble and Ebbe Altberg.
Firestorm released viewer update (220.127.116.11634) bringing the Asset-HTTP Project, an updated codebase 5.0.9, newer group abilities, Havok support for Windows & Mac versions and much more to the viewer.
One Billion Rising opened in Second Life for 24 hours over four regions. Hundred’s of visitors attended and danced for hours.
My blog reached 600, 000 hits and 700 blog followers which I was very proud about. I hope for more blog hits and blog followers during 2019+. Again thanks so much for subscribing and spreading the word this year.
Linden Lab reduced mainland costs by 10 percent and doubled the mainland allotment for premium members from 512 sq to 1024 sq meters for free. Many have said for ages that the cost of land is too darn high in Second Life.
Ebbe Linden talked at VWBPE 2018 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 this year for both inworld and online numbers. A few Lindens made a special appearance at the Main Auditorium and it’s always great to see them wondering around.
It was announced that OpenSim total land area was still increasing month on month. The biggest grid on OpenSim back in March 2018 was the OSGrid followed by the Atek Grid. Since the summer Hypergrid Business decided to stop publishing regular statistics.
Linden Lab published a new SL15B in preparation for the 15th anniversary celebrations. The new Infographic shows the total number of Second Life accounts there have been, the total time users have spent in Second Life. new registrations, virtual goods created in the marketplace, chat messages sent daily and the most popular categories on the Second Life Destination Guide.
Linden Lab opened up a new Instagram account in celebration of the 15th birthday celebrations that took place in June 2018. Follow and discover the latest cool experiences.
A pretty quiet month apart from Bay City 10th anniversary celebrations that took place in mid May 2018. The annual parade and live concert took place with big attendance numbers. The live performers did a great job this year and the organisers.
Ebbe Altberg and Philip Rosedale was featured on Second Life 15th birthday video. Ebbe was in the video speaking from Amsterdam. Ebbe mentioned that 68 million US dollars was paid to creators in 2017. 5 million virtual goods listed in the marketplace. Linden Lab are moving massive amounts of infrastructure into the cloud. At the end of the video there is a special surprise appearance from the founder of Second Life Philip Rosedale.
Second Life officially turned 15 years old on 23rd June 2018. Second Life is still one of the best virtual worlds out there today and still going strong. Here’s to another 15 years and more!