Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why I Won’t Try SL Go in Second Life

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.

Abraham Lincoln


          Once again, I’m going to be controversial.
          (Significant Other rolls eyes and heads off for the television mumbling something about having seem this film before.)
          I’m also going to step out of Second Life (SL) and blog about Real Life (RL) right at the point where both worlds meet.

          Why am I doing this? (Drum roll please!)
          I’m doing this because of the latest “thing” to come along in an effort to salvage SL while being a nifty piece of technology only picks the pockets of its potential users.
          Here’s my beef…
          Recently, with much hype and fanfare, a company called OnLive introduced a new product by the name of SL Go.  SL Go is an app designed for Android devices such as tablets to provide a true 3D experience in SL for residents.
          So far, so good.  The lack of a true mobile device for SL has been a long time gripe of mine and others.  What I have a problem with is the pricing and the paltry free trial offer.  Obviously, OnLive hasn’t been paying attention to recent industry trends.
          Let’s start in reverse order.
          The free trial period is twenty minutes.  So after downloading the free app from the Android store, a user has only a short period of time to determine if they want to sink any money into this.
          How expensive can this be?
          Fasten your seat belts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
          One hour costs $3 US.  Three hours costs $8 US.  Ten hours costs $25 US.
          Don’t believe me?  Can’t say I blame you.  Check them here for yourself.
          Whom are they kidding?
          How many people can afford or will pay these prices?
          The limited trial only adds insult to injury.  Ever try to do something in twenty minutes in SL? 
          When many highly successful app’s like Evernote and Hootsuite not to mention SL itself use a free and premium versions pricing model to attract subscribers and then offer additional services for a fee, a reasonable fee mind you, what was OnLive thinking?    
          My guess is that they were running low on venture capital and needed to bring in cash flow.  I get that but this isn’t how I would have gone about it. 
          The really sad thing here is that the app appears to be a neat piece of technology.
          Three SL bloggers whom I have a lot of respect for and trust their opinions were beta testers of SL Go and wrote reviews.  There were Frau Jo Yardley, Wagner James Au, and Daniel Voyager.  (Please don’t think poorly of them just because I think highly of them.  They’re very influential in the community.  Au literally wrote the book on SL.)
          Additionally, there’s competition.  Maybe not as technically appealing as is SL Go but it’s something.  The two competitors are Pocket Metaverse Pro and Lumiya.  I’ve experimented with both.  I used the former on an iPhone and it saved my bacon once when I had a problem with my laptop.  The latter I used on an Android tablet and is probably the closest of the two to the SL Go experience.  Neither is great but they’re affordable and in a pinch they’ll keep you connected inworld. 
          For someone who’s looking to use this app it’s going to come down to economics.  If you have the money to throw around then go for it.  If you’re like me and you’re careful about what you spend inworld (Or, your Significant Other monitors your spend and return on investment.)  I recommend sticking with your desktop/laptop or using one of the tools I mentioned above.
          One of the beta testers acknowledged the cost issue but said the pricing model was beta too and could be changed.  I’m afraid my colleague is a little naïve.  I’ve been around the block long enough to know that when a new product launches with a pricing scheme that’s it.  Too many business cases have too many spreadsheets showing all the money everyone will make.  If anything these prices are the floor not the ceiling. 
          Interestingly, when I recently ran a story on suggestions for improvements in SL to be given to the new CEO of Linden Lab, Ebbe Altberg, my respondents didn’t even mention mobility! 
          I’ve had my say!  If anyone does use SL Go, I’d really appreciate hearing about whether the functionality is worth the price. And if OnLive ever decides to have a more reasonable trial period I’d be happy to check it out. 
          Now, if anyone would like to see me get excited about new technology for SL and virtual reality then let’s keep an eye on Oculus Rift.  It’s a 3D immersive headset for virtual worlds like SL and this could be the killer app for virtual worlds.  This is innovation.  Still a ways to go here but definitely something I’d consider spending some money on.  More to come!
My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.    
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


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