During a couple of his public chat sessions in 2018, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg indicated that as well as continuing with the work to enhance Second Life, introduce new technology and new capabilities, Linden Lab would also be looking at new ways that might help grow the Second Life user base, possibly through a number of different channels / approaches.
One of the more interesting of these approaches is taking place between May 23rd and 26th, 2019, as Second Life makes a début at MomoCon 2019 in Atlanta Georgia.
Defined as a “geek culture convention”, MomoCon is an annual event held in wither March or May of each year, which the official website describes as:
One of the fastest growing all ages conventions in the country. Fans of Japanese Anime, American Animation, Comics, Video Games, and Tabletop Games come together to celebrate their passion by costuming / cosplay, browsing the huge exhibitors hall, meeting celebrity voice talent, designers, and writers behind their favourite shows, games, and comics and much, much more over this 4 day event.
– Official MomoCon website
MomoCon has its roots deep within the anime community – it started life as a offshoot of Georgia Tech’s anime club, Anime O-Tekku, with the first convention, called Techwood Con, held in 2004. In 2005, it became MomoCon (“momo” being Japanese for “peaches” and Georgia being the Peach State), and the convention enjoyed rapid growth over the next few years as a free-to-attend event.
In 2012, MomoCon became a paid-to-attend event, and experienced massive growth: in 2018, for example, over 35,000 unique visitors attended the convention over its four days, with a programme encompassing anime and animation, games, comics, manga, contests, demonstrations, cosplay activities, photo shoots, screenings, concerts, robot wars, and more.
While such a venue for the presence of Second Life might initially seem a little unusual, the fact is that there is a rich and vibrant cosplay community in Second Life, some of which does encompass anime, which also has a large following among Second Life users. As such – and given the event is also about on-line activities – there is a potential for Linden Lab and Second Life to engage with people face-to-face and potentially bring new users into the fold. A further reason for appearing at MomoCon in particular is that Linden Lab have a physical presence in Atlanta, with their support centre being located there, thus making the logistics of an appearance at the convention somewhat easier.
Even so, the company’s presence at MomoCon does represent something of an experiment for Linden Lab, as their head of Second Life marketing, Brett Linden noted to me.
This is our first presence at MomoCon and it represents a new test for us to try in person outreach at themed consumer events where we feel there is potential to introduce Second Life to new audiences. As part of our presence, we are demoing Second Life to attendees with the goal of registering new users on site.
– Brett Linden, heads of Marketing for Second Life
How successful the booth might prove to be remains to be seen. Certainly, Sansar has spent a fair amount of time “on the road” over the last couple of ears, which if nothing else, can help raise brand awareness. As such, seeing Second Life out and about – and possibly able to both garner users and / or change preconceptions is worth the time and effort. Depending on the Lab’s view of how things went, and their willingness to discuss them I hope to have a follow-up on this a little further down the road.
With thanks to Brett Linden for taking time out for his vacation to discuss the Lab’s presence at MomoCon with me.