It was back in 2006-2007 when Second Life started to get a lot of media traction. I, at one time being a self proclaimed addict of Multi User Dungeaon , immediately jumped in to give this a shot. The concept was promising. Although it ran like a snail on my iBook G4 back then, I still continued to drag my way through the world, exporing cities and social life within. But it was only a matter of time before I decided to abandon it, simple due to the performance issue on my antique system.
Then I heard companies started to “buy” land within the Second Life to setup their own Silicon Valley. Startups found Second Life as a launchpad for their ventures . Educational Institutions started to operate and offer courses within this “virtual reality”. Linden dollars as the currency was known within this virtual world, had its own exchange rates with real world money. The concept started to grow like an epidemic. It was amazing, at the same time scary.
And then the hype started to die down. Along with the technical glitches that challenged its progress, regulators (in all spheres of life) started to see potential loop holes that needed to be fixed. Crime, Sex and Gambling became easy alternatives to make quick money. Then I heard 30% of its staff were let go . And slowly it started to disappear from the face of the earth.
Mitch Wagner wrote in computer world back in 2010 – “I use Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with people I already know, and I can occasionally meet new people through Twitter, but Second Life is unparalleled as a way to make new friends and meet people through your computer”.
And its user popularity started to die down . But all is not lost says Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble – “This year the focus is adding more life to the world – artificial life, things like path-finding which hadn’t existed before – and then enabling a suite of tools that will allow people to make things like their own massively multiplayer role-playing game.”
In the words of Rob Humble – “For me, generally, our [business] is shared creative spaces; that’s generally what the company does, but also the weirder the better, I think. If we had a motto, that would be it”.
With a better UI (web based), a more regulated environment and more educational institutions and companies starting to move their “webex” sessions to a “real” second world session, things will start to improve.
And it won’t be long before I take my plunge back in. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as hard to get the world back on its feet.
Think Geek item of the week
Back in the days when phones were a luxury, I remember holding my hand against my ear and mouth to mime a phone call. Little did I realise that think geek would actually make that concept a reality.