Saturday, February 4, 2017

Calm Before the Storm in Second Life?

I like these calm little moments before the storm, it reminds me of Beethoven.

Gary Oldman


We’ll well into the New Year! 

The Holidays have passed and, hopefully, the hangovers as well!

The first page has already been torn off the calendar.  (Yes, Significant Other warned me that I may be ridiculed for admitting to still using one of those but I do love Snoopy’s and Woodstock’s pictures every month.)

Now, we get back to the ordinary pace of life, whether it be in Second Life (SL) or
Real Life (RL). 

Which brings us up against the 800 pound gorilla in SL this year.

Sansar (Or, SL 2.0 as some of us used to call it.) may soon be upon us. 

Of course, we still don’t have an official launch date and according to Daniel Voyager’s recent poll, most respondents don’t expect Sansar to be released to the public until sometime in 2018.  (Hey, Linden Lab has never been too forthcoming about SL why should things change with Sansar?) 

A recent article from Wagner James Au on his exceptional blog about all things virtual, especially SL, New World Notes, got me thinking about one of my old concerns about Sansar. 

Au started by quoting longtime SL resident and Metaverse aficionado, Gwyneth Llewelyn, who believes that ultimately Linden Lab will have no choice but to push people into Sansar.  Yes, she says Linden Lab has promised not to close down SL but how realistic will that be and for how long?

Ever the optimist, Au outlines a scenario whereby increasing Premium SL subscriptions could offset falling private sim revenues to keep SL going indefinitely. 

As much as I respect and admire Au, and plug his blog whenever I can (If you don’t read it you really should.) I’m going to disagree with him here. 

Here’s why.

Sansar represents a fundamental shift in how we interact in virtual worlds.  And, yes, I understand that means we may have a lot less than what we enjoy today inworld. 

From a strictly business perspective (I freely admit I’m probably one of the least creative residents in SL but I do know something about debits and credits!)  Linden Lab will be facing a difficult choice.

Sansar will probably cannibalize the SL user base. 

SL is an aging infrastructure which will require a significant overhaul eventually.  (I
have to believe that given all the recent hacking scares that Linden Lab is pulling some long nights just to keep up currently.)  This isn't a put down, every platform faces this moment sooner or later. 

As Au points point, private sim revenues are falling and, while increasing Premium subscriptions is a good idea, I don’t see Linden Lab running the promotions necessary to draw in new Premium subscribers.  Furthermore, would more Premium subscribers create more demand on a system that may be already struggling under its existing load?

So, does Linden Lab split its bets and double down or just play one hand?  (Significant Other always laughs when I try to use gambling analogies which is a big reason why I don’t gamble in RL.)

I suspect that Linden Lab will have to make some difficult choices sooner or later. 

And, all this assumes that Sansar is successful.  What if it isn’t?

All bets are off then in my opinion.

My overriding fear is that Sansar will lead to the elimination of SL. 

And, before everyone sends me comments about change is good, inevitable, and necessary, I get it!  (To the guy who sent me a link to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, many thanks!  Please don’t resend because I already had a hard copy edition which I’ve read.)

Let’s talk about what we lose. 

Unless Linden Lab does something very creative, the investment of time and money people spent creating wondrous builds and everyday objects could be lost. 

If this were to happen, how willing would these folks be to sign on somewhere else and do it all over again?  Would this precedent hang over Sansar like a dark cloud and hinder its own vibrant growth?

What of the communities that have grown up in SL and may come to a sudden and
final end?  Will they become a diaspora like the folks from ? 

Not to end on a low note, I do have hopes for the future.

I want to see Sansar succeed and I want to see SL continue to grow and thrive.

These goals are not mutually exclusive, they can both coexist.

All they require is planning and effort.

Also, more transparency from Linden Lab wouldn’t hurt!

Speaking of whom, if anyone from Linden Lab would ever like to meet me inworld for an interview to tell their side of the story, I’d be happy to do so! 

Also, James Wagner Au is running a poll to see when respondents expect Linden Lab to push people over to Sansar.  Check it out here!   

Let’s see what happens with SL and Sansar, I have a feeling that this year will
answer a lot of our questions! 

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. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

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.

            Open roads and kind fires!

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