Second Life: the future is bright – by Linden Lab

Ever since Sansar was announced in 2014, many have seen it as a sign that it is intended to be a “replacement” for Second Life – or if not, that the Lab is diverting all of its resources into Sansar at SL’s expense.

Neither assessment is accurate – asthe Lab has repeatedly tried to state. In fact, over the last three years, the Lab has continued to invest in Second Life, both in terms of features and improvements and in an overhaul of the Second Life infrastructure: hardware, network and so on.

On Tuesday, August 29th, Ebbe Altberg, CEO at linden Lab and the Second Life team outlined the future for the platform. Hopefully, it will further help further quell the doubts surround the Lab’s intentions for Second Life.

The blog post opens:

It’s been an exciting summer at Linden Lab. Second Life celebrated its 14th anniversary, and shortly thereafter we also opened Sansar’s creator beta to the world. In addition, we are thrilled to announce a set of investments into Second Life and its communities that will include enhancements to our engineering support, customer support, billing systems and upgrades, and customer acquisition outreach. In all, we’ve budgeted many millions (USD, not L$…) in the coming year to make SL even better, and we’ll keep everyone up to date on improvements as they roll out (or sooner).

The post then goes on to bullet-point some to the core aspects of these investments, some of which – such at animated objects / mesh (“Animesh”) and the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) to extend SL’s Windlight capabilities, I’ve been covering in the pages of this blog (see my Content Creation User Group meeting notes and my initial write-up on EEP).

The blog post also notes forthcoming new Premium account benefits will be announced soon. Hhowever, the two biggest aspects of the news are infrastructure updates and a new grid-wide Experience.

The infrastructure work has been on-going for some time – most recently the Lab has deployed a new simulator build using a more recent version of Linux, and a further operating system update will also be forthcoming. However, what is interesting about this blog post is that it confirms something first mentioned publicly by Landon Linden at SL14B – the infrastructure updates include moving Second Life to the cloud.

This work will not be short-term, but if successful, the Lab hopes for a number of benefits, including:

  • Making Second Life more performant for Residents across the world from us.
  • Possibly allowing the Lab to introduce new products with more flexible pricing.

The new Experience may not appeal to everyone, but it will see a new capability added to Second Life: grid-way experiences. This will initially be in the form of a new grid-wide game developed by the Lab; whether or not it will – in time – allow interested region / parcel owners participate in grid-wide Experiences of their own making remains to be seen.

However, the continued investment in Second Life infrastructure which perhaps stands as the greatest demonstration of the Lab’s commitment to Second Life, and I hope to be able to follow the work through these pages as the Lab provides updates and news.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Second Life: the future is bright – by Linden Lab

  1. But but but … Ebbe stated in an interview very clearly that LL are gonna cannibal on SL to feed project Sansar. He even admitted that it’s a gamble that, if Sansar won’t come to fruition, none would survive. Neither Sansar, nor SL nor LL. You can’t discuss that away, Inara.
    And now we have a Sansar that looks nothing like anything any SL resi would ever wanted to have. Yes, I know it’s in early alpha, but that won’t help. Sansar is already conceptually like totally wrong for the wants and needs of 98% of LL’s clientéle.

    “This will initially be in the form of a new grid-wide game”
    EXACTLY! Exactly what I’m talking about. Nobody’s asked for a fukn game. SLers are predominantly non-gamers, they wouldn’t know why to waste their precious online time on such childish gimmicks. LL has a bad reputation for not getting their own product and completely misinterpreting their user base. And they keep going on misunderstanding us.

    “most recently the Lab has deployed a new simulator build using a more recent version of Linux”
    I’m a simple girl, I hear Linux I’m happy. Now that’s finally some good news. Everything that helps the grid to become better is a positive thing.

    Please don’t think I’m anti-progress and anti-tech. I even registerd for Sansar and just some minutes ago got the confirmation. I WILL TRY IT OUT! Let’s see if my 3 y/o i5 and 4 y/o GTX770 can handle it. What I know exactly is that I won’t buy more expensive PC stuff just to test a game thing. Least of all an Octopus to hug my face. How much is that thing 300$ like? Jeez, that amount of dough will buy me a whole new laptop or pay for the repairs to my van (no candy here, move on).

    Like

    1. “But but but … Ebbe stated in an interview very clearly that LL are gonna cannibal on SL to feed project Sansar. He even admitted that it’s a gamble that, if Sansar won’t come to fruition, none would survive. Neither Sansar, nor SL nor LL. You can’t discuss that away, Inara.”

      Wrong – What Ebbe actually said is that there is a *risk* that Sansar will “cannibalise” Second Life if users move en masse from one to another. He also pointed out that the same risk exists should any other product tun up that is sufficiently attractive to SL users that they opt to migrate en masse to it.

      That’s always always been the case throughout SL’s history – and the fact that thus far it hasn’t happened is no guarantee it will not happen in the future – be it with Sansar, Hi Fi or some other yet-to-be revealed platform from some other provider.

      What Ebbe *did* say – and from a purely business perspective, he is entirely right – is that should any cannibalisation of user numbers occur WRT SL, then better it is the Lab that benefits, rather than any other company – as it at least ensures the Lab’s survival.

      “And now we have a Sansar that looks nothing like anything any SL resi would ever wanted to have. Yes, I know it’s in early alpha, but that won’t help. Sansar is already conceptually like totally wrong for the wants and needs of 98% of LL’s clientéle.”

      That’s because Sansar isn’t designed for SL users per se – something the Lab has again stated over and over again. Hence why they’ve always maintained Sansar isn’t “Second Life 2.0”.

      And here’s where you argument becomes somewhat self-defeating. You point to a quote from Ebbe outlining the risk of Sansar cannibalising SL’s user base to offer an alarmist viewpoint – and then you go on to indicate that Sansar is of “no interest” to 98% of SL users. So, if it is of “no interest”, how can be be a threat?

      Again, and in fairness, in time Sansar may well grow to a point where it does offer far more attractiveness to the majority of SL users – you and I included – such that it eventually does draw numbers away from SL in sufficient quantity to make SL unviable. But that’s not likely to be any time soon and despite all the doomsaying; right now it remains an “if” rather than a “when”. And in the meantime, we still had SL being enhanced through investment in technologies which could help it become more cost-effective to its user-base.

      Here’s another point Sansar could just as easily go on to find its own audiences from well outside the SL pool of users. It could just as easily fall flat on its face and go nowhere. Neither of these two futures actually put Second Life at risk. Simply because, contrary to all the naysaying, LL have, and are continuing, to invest in and develop SL despite pulling in a workforce to build Sansar.

      “EXACTLY! Exactly what I’m talking about. Nobody’s asked for a fukn game. SLers are predominantly non-gamers, they wouldn’t know why to waste their precious online time on such childish gimmicks.”

      And yet many SL users do precisely that – they come in-world any play a wide range of games. Hunts are extraordinarily popular in SL. Role-play communities can and do grow and thrive. Combat games and systems are a frequent source of commentary at in-world User Group meetings.

      And, interestingly enough, another frequent point of discussion at in-world user groups – raised by *users* are requests for better game-building mechanics and capabilities in Second Life.

      Which really goes to show… because the circles you and I move in may not be games oriented, doesn’t actually mean “nobody” is asking for such things. And I’ve not even mentioned the point that games are often the best way of demonstrating what the likes of Experience Keys can achieve (and that most of those using them are themselves focused on game aspects).

      ” I WILL TRY IT OUT! Let’s see if my 3 y/o i5 and 4 y/o GTX770 can handle it.”

      I’m running Sansar on an i5 16Gb system with a GT970 which handles Sansar tremendously well. However, I’m also running Sansar on an 2012 Acer i3 laptop with Intel integrated HD4000 graphics, and that (admittedly when on a wired connection, rather than wifi to my router) will handle Sansar reasonably well where it chokes to death trying to run SL. Ergo, you might be surprised.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. …aaaand surprised by the insane amount of time to “tp” to a scene. They must’ve forgot a zero in the recommended connection speed.
        Orca, or anyone else, try “Valencia” first: it would load quicker, so you wouldn’t think Sansar is crashed and you would see if it works. Then go for Apollo or 114 for a nice view, but be prepared for long loadings.
        For each caveat, Sansar loses further newcomers. Better you know what to expect, you ‘ll be less disappointed.

        What Ebbe said is that Sansar launch could possibly go wrong, but not so wrong to just fall flat on its face. That won’t be the worst thing. Sansar failure would mean a failed investment for LL, and perhaps not further resources to attempt another alternative project to the declining SL. Fewer resources left for SL too. Perhaps another company would buy Sansar IP and assets, if they are lucky. Then LL would follow the fate of Second Life.
        Ebbe was concerned of a worser scenario instead. Sansar launch has a moderate success but below expectations. Not enough to support itself, but enough to cannibalize part of SL user base, so that SL economy implodes. You don’t need a migration en masse for that. Now you have two products that aren’t working and you go bankruptcy.
        You see it beginning when creators and builders move to Sansar or become unsure, wait before to create new products and regions in SL, cash out in SL not sure of the future. Remember SL and Sansar don’t even share the virtual currencies. So now they announce the future is going to be bright. Yeah, hope for that.

        Either Sansar goes really well and becomes profitable, or pray it just falls flat on its face from the beginning, without taking SL down with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “But of course, if Sansar opens up and it is offering much cheaper land and everyone is running to Sansar, automatically, Second Life will suffer.” ……Ebbe Altberg Lab Chat #1

    Ebbe used the word ‘everyone’ – in reference to the Residents/Users of Second Life.
    Not that SL infrastructure/ assets etc would be cannibalized (it would be madness to cannibalize a platform that is already outdated)
    If we choose to leave SL in massive numbers for Sansar of course SL will suffer, just as any outmoded business model/ platform would. But that choice is ours to make.

    And it’s been stated more than once that the Sansar and SL teams are separate – they may ‘borrow’ staff/ ideas/ VR economy roadmaps/ compliances etc, between the two projects – but they are separate teams.
    I very much doubt any Linden Lab employee would be happy working double shifts to work on two projects at once!

    Sansar is not a game …..to refer to it as such is a colossal over-simplification and vastly underestimates it’s eventual capabilities. Sansar is a platform, and will be used in many, many ways.
    It’s a better platform for companies and businesses to use because, unlike SL, which is a contiguous grid where ‘visitors’ can leave the original area and travel further afield – perhaps accessing inappropriate content – Sansar Experiences are unconnected destinations.

    I sometimes think people need to give their heads a bit of a wobble concerning their SL/ Sansar thoughts. Linden Lab are not out to cut their own throats financially, they are a highly successful company, and are in business to make money – so why on earth would they jeopardize that?
    They are consolidating their assets by building another platform – to run alongside Second Life – which will benefit everyone concerned.
    All businesses have to grow, if they don’t they stagnate and eventually go under. For future technology businesses this is even more crucial. Fight or flight.
    Personally I’m pretty glad that Linden Lab has decided upon fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been with Second Life for 14 years. Fourteen years ago users left because it had so little to offer. Many of my friends left, I stuck around, through the years met new friends and have watched Second Life evolve. I am proud to say I am part of Sansar and I envision the future of Sansar will have many more capabilities than SL currently has and may ever have. I think in time, Sansar will hands down be the platform I will want to hang out on and I imagine a lot of Second Lifers may agree. Second Life did not become what it is today overnight. It has taken years and years for it to become what it currently is. The same will be true for Sansar. I will sit back and wait and continue to be an active participant of both worlds. Oh, and by the way, MANY MANY Second Lif’ers are indeed gamers too as am I.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Second Life did not become what it is today overnight. It has taken years and years for it to become what it currently is.”

      Careful, SL didn’t begin with this launch campaign, pre-launch hype, and VR hype. Not even with Linden Lab having about a million accounts already and users interested in another product. It’s a month now, there aren’t loads of visitors, but it’s hard to say how much it is going to be successful or not. Too soon.

      I’d suggest newcomers to go to Zen Garden. Somehow people use it as an infohub

      Like

  4. ‘Some’ people seem to think that Sansar has been built exclusively for Second Life residents ……and that on hearing how disappointed, blahblahblah they are, Linden Lab will decide to reverse their decision and scrap Sansar.

    This may come as a shock……so brace yourselves! Sansar hasn’t been conceived or built for the residents of Second Life.
    Sansar is being built because Linden Lab have taken a business decision based on their knowledge of how the VR market is likely to expand. They see a gap in a potential market worth billions and are creating something to tap into that market. And I do not think they came to this decision lightly.

    Obviously Linden Lab have a pool of creativity and interest within Second Life, so they wisely use that pool. They have invited SL’ers to visit their new ‘baby’.
    Some think it’s ugly, some think it’s parentage is doubtful, some think they should have dressed it better, some think it should never see the light of day ………but it’s their baby.
    So maybe we should be a little gracious and wait to see what this baby grows into. We might get a pleasant surprise!

    Liked by 2 people

Have any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s