Update: Just as a further reminder, all that Ebbe Altberg had to say about the new platform can be heard here, with bullet points on his statements.
As per my article Ebbe confirms: “we’re working on a ‘next generation’ platform” (with audio), Linden Lab are working on a “next generation” virtual world – news of which should be appearing in the media soon, quite likely as a part of the Lab’s PR work around Second Life’s 11th anniversary.
The confirmation that the Lab are working on the platform – and may well have been for around the last two years (see: Rod Humble hints at more virtual worlds in LL’s future, October 2012) – have fuelled rumours and speculation about the future of Second Life (remembering that any new platform is still some way into the future). As a result Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global communications contacted me with a copy of an official reply the Lab is circulating in response to enquiries on the matter, and has given me permission to reprint it here:
Just saw your post – thanks for taking care to get what Ebbe actually said. Below is the comment I’ve just sent along to a couple of folks who asked for clarification, which mostly reiterates what it sounds like you already know. Still, I just wanted to send it along in case it were useful.
Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that will be in the spirit of Second Life, an open world where users have incredible power to create anything they can imagine and content creators are king. This is a significant focus for Linden Lab, and we are actively hiring to help with this ambitious effort. We believe that there is a massive opportunity ahead to carry on the spirit of Second Life while leveraging the significant technological advancements that have occurred since its creation, as well as our unparalleled experience as the provider of the most successful user-created virtual world ever.
The next generation virtual world will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life, and we don’t want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start. That doesn’t mean you necessarily won’t be able to bring parts of your Second Life over, just that our priority in building the next generation platform is to create an incredible experience and enable stunningly high-quality creativity, rather than ensuring that everything could work seamlessly with everything created over Second Life’s 11 year history.
Does this mean we’re giving up on Second Life? Absolutely not. It is thanks to the Second Life community that our virtual world today is without question the best there is, and after 11 years we certainly have no intention of abandoning our users nor the virtual world they continually fill with their astounding creativity. Second Life has many years ahead of it, and in addition to improvements and new developments specifically for Second Life, we think that much of the work we do for the next generation project will also be beneficial for Second Life.
It’s still very early days for this new project, and as we forge ahead in creating the next generation virtual world, we’ll share as much as we can.
If we had one message to share with Second Life users about this new project at this point, it would be: don’t panic, get excited! Again, Second Life isn’t going away, nor are we ceasing our work to improve it. But, we’re also working on something that we think will truly fulfill the promise of virtual worlds that few people understand as well as Second Life users.