Could the Lab use Amazon AppStream to “replace” SL Go?

Sl Go proved itself very popular among SL users running low-end hardware
SL Go proved itself very popular among SL users running low-end hardware

On Thursday, April 2nd, it was announced that SL Go, the streaming service for accessing SL  provided by OnLive, is to shut-down on April 30th alongside OnLive’s other consumer services. The reason for this is because OnLive has sold the IP and patents associated with the services to Sony Computer Entertainment.

Since the news broke, there have been numerous calls made for Sony to maintain SL Go as a service, including  an on-line petition. However, as painful as it is, all such calls and petitions to  Sony are unlikely to succeed, as I explained in a recent blog post.

In that article, I also considered whether or not the Lab might invest time and effort in offering something that might fill the void. At the time, I thought the answer to this would most likely be “no”, as the Lab seem to have enough on its plate already with Second Life and its next generation platform.

But the more I think about it, the more I feel that the Lab should endeavour to offer some kind of “SL Go replacement”.

One potential means by which they might do so could be via Amazon AppStream.

Obviously, there are issues involved in providing such a service beyond the physical provisioning. Anything which requires some form of external hosting is going to incur costs, for example. However, the flip side to this is it’s fair to say the SL Go has demonstrated that if users believe they are getting a beneficial service, they are willing to pay for it, providing the price is not prohibitively high.

Certainly, there are a wide range of potential benefits to be had from such an endeavour, particularly if implemented through something like Amazon AppStream:

  • It offers an easily scaled means by which the Lab could provide an “SL streaming service” to users on low-end hardware and those on mobile devices – something long demanded by SL users
  • It could provide the means by which SL could be accessed through web browsers – again, a long-desired means of attracting new users to the platform who might otherwise be put off by having to download and install the viewer
  • It obviously means that those SL users on low-end systems can enjoy the full graphical richness of SL in the manner LL would like to see all users experience it
  • It could help those preferring to run older operating systems – such as Windows XP – to continue accessing SL even after they might otherwise be unable to even install the viewer
  • It might even help the Lab map and test options which might be beneficial for their nascent next generation platform.

While developing such a service might not necessarily be easy, the Lab isn’t entirely without any experience in this area. As I and many others have pointed out, in 2010 they did experimenting with streaming the viewer, using the Japanese company Gaikai (coincidentally purchased by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2012), which delivered the viewer to web browsers, as shown in the video below. If there is anything remaining of this work at the Lab, it might possible to put it to work through something like Amazon AppStream.

That said, there is a lot for the Lab to consider in attempting to fill the forthcoming void that will be left by SL Go. And while I would not be at all surprised to learn they are already doing so, they might still require some encouragement to take things beyond just considering options. Something which might encourage them, or at least demonstrate to them that there really could be a worthwhile demand for such a service, could be for users to politely speak up.

One way to do this might be to add your name to the existing petition – I would hope someone at the Lab is keeping an eye on it.

Another could well be to leave a positive and polite comment on the subject following this article, as (and all ego aside) I do know eyes at the Lab pass over this blog (just as they do many others).

There is no guarantee that Lab will move to provide some kind of “SL Go replacement”, but on the other hand, as someone once said, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

25 thoughts on “Could the Lab use Amazon AppStream to “replace” SL Go?

  1. Coming FRIDAY on Drax Files Radio [with Jo Yardley] =the entire hour = interview with Dennis Harper formerly of OnLive about what when WHY and what now? There were be tears but there is so much HOPE > Tune in = posting around 7am[ish]


  2. I think it is a great idea. I do trust Amazon and use them a lot. I hope LL sees this and uses this for the people on Laptops and slower computers.


  3. Oh an option, promptly available, with the FS mobile viewer( which was sooooo much better that the SL viewer on SL go) would be wonderful.

    Hope hope hope


  4. That’s certainly one option. NVIDIA Grid is coming too.

    The real issue is going to be bandwidth and compute costs, which you mentioned in the comments of your previous article.


    1. Yup… wanted to keep this one as to-the-point as possible; although bandwidth-wise, the case for it not being prohibitively high / expensive is there, and not just via SL Go.

      Another option I poked at – and cut from this article – for example, is that of Highwinds. They are already a CDN provider to LL, and they have a “Games Delivery Network” which overlays their CDN service. So again, the might be potential there, but it would seem to require the Lab handle more of the initial “lifting”, so to speak.

      The advantage with Amazon AppStream, would seem to be the SDK library and scaling model. The former would appear to offer the Lab the means to control development in-house, and the Latter potentially offers them to means to control costs based on actual usage.


  5. I’m crossing my fingers SL2 will have solved many of the problems in SL with some kind of streaming. It would be awesome to go to crowded events without lagging, take super high res snapshots without crashing, and take SL with you on mobile anywhere you go.


    1. My personal take on the next generation product is that the Lab are viewing it as a Paas-like solution, quite possibly streamed (again, bandwidth allowing). However, that’s really a topic for another post entirely 🙂 .


    2. I would not hang my hat on the “next generation platform”. For one thing the first beta may be a year away. Also none less than Ebbe himself has told us “…it could be many, many, many years before what really works for people in Second Life is something they could replicate and achieve in this next generation product.”
      While I did not use SLGo myself, it’s impact for those without high end equipment is undeniable. We can not wait years for a technology with a proven impact to come back around.


  6. I wonder if they couldn’t look at what RealXtend did with their browser-based viewer for Tundra and make something comparable ?


    1. Nebadon, I’d be interested to hear anything you can share about what you learned, either here or email me bill at


  7. An alternative to Amazon App Stream was already mentioned in a comment made by Charles Brannon in Jessica Lyon’s blog regarding the Sony buyout of OnLive and the consequent loss of SLGo after this month.

    “Best alternative I’ve found is Splashtop, a personal video streaming service. It’s sold to most people as a remote desktop solution but it is optimized for streaming realtime video/graphics from games, just like Onlive. Using Splashtop you can use an old computer to run SL at full speed just by linking the old computer to a new one, which can be any computer in your household. Let’s say you want to run SL from a laptop (old or new) away from home – Splashtop to your home computer and run it full screen.

    Here’s the kicker: Splashtop is also optimzed for tablets, so you can run SL at full speed from your Android or Apple tablet just like Onlive. You can even run it on your mobile phone if your screen is big enough.

    It gets better: on a mobile device you can enhance the user interface to include a virtual joystick and virtual buttons so you even get an OnLive style control interface for your tablet. If there is enough interest I can write a blog page that explains how I did this.

    Splashtop is pretty cheap and it’s a one-time purchase, unlike OnLive. You can also use it to stream any game even top-notch graphics games to your tablet or older PC, as long as it can run in windowed mode.

    I actually downloaded the splashtop app (it’s free through the Microsoft app store) but haven’t had time to use it yet. If it works as well as Charles says, it’s another workaround to losing SLGo, and cheaper to boot.

    This is not intended to disparage use of the Amazon App Stream at all – I haven’t used it for SL, nor have I used splashtop for SL yet. I intend to try and use Splashtop for SL play and I’ll report the results on my own blog.

    Best regards,
    Patricia de Chenier (angelpatty resident)


  8. My apologies, I just set a Splashtop account up, and it’s exactly as Charles Brannon said – you must already own a new computer capable of running Second Life quickly, which THEN can send a high-speed video stream of Firestorm or another viewer to a second PC which doesn’t have to have modern performance. It’s an alternative, but not an SLGo replacement.

    Again, my apologies.


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