“Project Sansar” has been getting noticed again. In Dublin, at the 2015 Web Summit, Ebbe Altberg, the Lab’s CEO gave a presentation about the new platform, the end of which included short video of the platform, which was captured by attendee Janne Juntunen. Following this, at least a couple of articles have appeared in on-line media outlets, with my colleague Ben Lang offering a brief write-up in Road to VR, while Fortune On-line, to which I was directed by Ciaran Laval, also carried a piece.
The Fortune article offers an enticing headline, How ‘Second Life’ Developer Hopes To Deliver The ‘YouTube For VR’, drawing on the Lab’s YouTube / WordPress analogy they’ve used in talking to the media over the last few months, but neither – beyond offering an image captured from “Project Sansar” and which can be seen on the Lab’s redesigned corporate website, has much that is new to those of us following “project Sansar” as closely we can.
The YouTube / WordPress analogy is fitting, given that “Project Sansar” is designed to be pretty much a white label environment where clients and customers can come into the platform, develop their virtual spaces and then market them to their users under a brand of their own choosing, complete with dedicated access from the web.
Given most of the statements made in both articles will be familiar to those following Sansar, I was drawn to one statement in particular made by Ebbe Altberg:
We want to make it less expensive and less difficult for creators to get started with Project Sansar, while at the same time enabling them to create higher quality, larger, and more immersive experiences, reach larger audiences,and create much larger business opportunities—whether selling virtual items or monetizing entire experiences. In addition to supporting our community of creators we’ll give them tools to create and support their own communities and serve their customers and audiences. [Emphasis mine.]
The first part of this comment again doesn’t really reveal anything new; however, I’ve highlighted the last past of it because it presents another opportunity for some speculation.
Yesterday, and thanks to a huge amount of legwork by Vick Forcella, I wrote about the Lab’s subsidiary Tilia Inc, and the filing of a trademark for Tilia, a payment processing system. Seeing Altberg’s comments about providing “project Sansar” customers / clients tools to … serve their customer and audiences”, I find myself wondering if “Tilia” might be intended to provide “Project Sansar” customers with a further white label environment in which they can build and brand their own marketplace presence and control the goods and services presented to their customers.
Thus, rather than sending their users to a generic “Project Sansar” marketplace where they might be confronted with a plethora of goods, including those from competitors or which might otherwise be unsuitable to their target audience, customers using Sansar could present their users with exactly the virtual good they wish them to see and use, a level of control which could be extremely attractive to the core vertical markets towards which “Project Sansar” seems to be being steered (e.g. education, training, simulation, architecture and business).
In his Road to VR piece, Ben Lang focuses more on the technical aspects of the new platform, pointing-out that style and looks can be an integral part of a game or platform’s longevity, and that in his estimation of these initial screen shots, “Project Sansar” is hitting the nail pretty much on the head.
It is in the Road to VR piece that we do get an interesting insight. It has been previously indicated that “Project Sansar” will offer ways and means to optimise content to improve performance, rather than just shoving everything down the pipe and little the viewer try to handle it all. In discussing things with Ben Lang, Ebbe Altberg gives some indicators as to how this will be achieved.
We’ll do a lot of things to help users understand how to create performant content. There’s a lot of work yet to do, but we have plans for things like automatic optimization of content, polygon reduction of content that preserves quality at the same time, including showing users that create content some sort of visual indication of how performant their content is going to be across various platforms [i.e. clients].
Both articles offer good light reading on “Project Sansar”, even if they don’t offer anything especially new, with the Fortune articles also underlining a few facts, good and bad, about Second Life.
I remain intrigued by the direction the Lab is taking with their new platform. While it is early days, and given the fact I still tend to feel “Project Sansar” will end up niche product – albeit it a much larger niche than filled by the likes of Second Life and OpenSim today – I also tend to think that the Lab is far more one the right track in their thinking than those behind some of the other platforms currently in development out there.
- How ‘Second Life’ Developer Hopes To Deliver The ‘YouTube For VR’ – Fortune
- First Glimpse of Linden Lab’s Next Gen Virtual World, Project Sansar – Road to VR
P.S. Ben, if you do read this, please check the e-mails, still awaiting a reply vis our discussions!)