Sunday, April 4, 2010

Second Life Slides Slowly Toward Controlled Content

Written 4 April, 2010

Second Life Slides Slowly Toward Controlled Content

M. Linden has had the stewardship of Linden Lab for a while now, and many residents-- myself included-- think they see the Lab heading in a disastrous direction.

And what direction would that be?

Well, toward a Second Life that comes as close to Facebook a possible.

Toward a Second Life that favors certain content creators and makes content creation and merchandising difficult or impossible for the vast majority of us. It will be a a Second Life in which newcomers are indoctrinated with M. Linden's be-a-happy-consumer message and actively steered away from content creation.

Toward a Linden Lab without a quirky sense of humor-- and a Linden Lab with new employees in place of the passionate founding long timers, who have been and are learning in disgust-- those who haven't been fired, that is.

There's no doubt M. was given a big job-- but more and more data points make it increasingly difficult to believe he has anything else in mind.

It remains to be seen whether Second Life will ever appeal to the Farmville addicts of the world and thus bring M.'s dream to fruition-- but I rather think not. Second Life, with its difficult (and yes, even 2.0) interface, its griefers, its chaotic and entrepreneureal society, its lag, and its ongoing difficulties with running web contenet (still clunky and slow) just isn't going to cut it with more than a few of the Farmville folks. Let's face it, it will never be huge. If it were going to be huge, it would be already. And duh, it's not, not in terms of concurrent users, and frankly, the ability of the grid to scale beyond 80,000 or so online is questionable.

One thing is certain: if M. steers Second Life much further down the path he is taking it, the people who are passionate about Second Life-- and especially those, like me, who spend hundreds of dollars a month on sims not that much different than those on the OS Grid-- will no longer be here.

Perhaps M. envisions tens of thousands of sims blanketed with Linden starter homes and a populace content with 117 prims and spending lots of money on virtual fashion. I don't see it happening.

And why? Because most people eventually come to want more prims and more land and more privacy. They buy big swatches of land on the mainland or private islands and send their tier to Linden Lab monthly.

So what are you gonna do, M? Keep them in their 117 prim homes? Or sell them the private islands they'll want? And if the latter, what purpose does it serve to piss off and run off those already giving you $295 USD or more a month?

Maybe, M., you should consider taking a job at Blue Mars. It is, after all, the static, limited world which you seem to want Second Life to become. It would save you a lot of time and effort.


Digitalblade Benelli said...

I agree with you that it would be a mistake if they simply try to make SL like Facebook. If I want to use FB, I'll go there.

I just returned to Second Life after a couple of years. I simply didn't have the hardware to run it when I first opened my account. I still need to upgrade what I have, but it works ok.

I upgraded to a premium account because the cost is low (especially paid quarterly) and the benefits of a starter home and 300L/week are great. Regarding the starter homes, I see them as just that, something to get you started. It encouraged me to build some of my own furniture and yes, buy some things too. I will eventually get my own place, after I learn more about the process of buying land.

Anonymous said...

Some of the Linden homes and Linden homes sims are nice.

But they are empty.