Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday, Snow and a million new users.

In a parallel universe I could be stuck in the snow in my car on the way to a closed airport where I could wait for a day or two in misery for my flight to Marrakech but instead I'm at home, warm and well fed.

It's interesting how fate twists and turns, like the weather. This our second RL snow fall before Xmas, and quite unusual, and another reason why you'll find no snow on my sim. I'm not a great fan. Give me coral sands, green coconut juice and a Thai curry while I gaze out over turquoise seas...*sigh*..

Meanwhile back in the Real (virtual) World I have been making an InWorldz version of the Tree of Light, as pictured below..

It is one (of many) of my trees that looks best as a forest or it may well get moved...

Meandering around in my brain today is this whole question of 'growth', after reading Botgirls post about how the numbers of people using VWs hasn't grown. She argues, eloquently, for the introduction of a browser-based strategy linked to social media in order to get the growth of VWs back on track.

I think that LL is fully committed to this and it's only a question of time. All LL's recent changes have been pointing in that direction, and I have no doubt that the investors are all hungry for the advertising revenue that will provide.

Now, I have to ask, as it is natural to see the world from my own vantage point..."How will that effect me?"...

As far as I can see this very strategy has already had a negative effect on the development of the platform.... specifically in this way.....Tools... As the realisation dawned that a very small percentage of the computer-using public had computers good enough to access SL/VWs, development was frozen on the expansion of the tools provided for inworld creation.

As an example.. it took Imprudence to include Torley's windlight settings as standard, and Qarl's prim alignment tool was only available once he had left LL. For those that would argue that Mesh Is The New Saviour, recent SLikileaks tells us that mesh will be 'trottled'...i.e. less animated....details here.... sensible, but another limitation to the animation of mesh, which, as we know will not be flexible.

Chat may eventually get sorted in the new year, after 3 or more years of people complaining.... not strictly a building tool, I admit, but surely one of the things that would have been sorted if the platform was uppermost in anyone's mind.

Well, no point in me going on and listing all the broken stuff, everyone knows that. My point is that instead of making SL better and better, all activity has been directed into making SL bigger and bigger.

I don't think this has been to my benefit.

I don't see that putting another million users onto a broken or fractured grid is going to improve my life either. Casual users aren't going to buy stuff, so there won't be benefits for most businesses, except advertising of course.

...which leads me to the Cyber Bunny Wars... fully outlined in Tateru's post .... we have the Big Boys (or girls in this case apparently) fighting tooth and nail for market share. As in the high street, small shop owners have withered and died as the huge Malls take a higher and higher percentage of all consumption... this will be encouraged and promoted by the Lab too.

So...back to basics... a million new users will not....

Reduce lag...
Improve building tools..
Increase my sales..
Make a community improvement...

They will, however...

Increase advertising revenue...
Increase the value of LL shares...
Boost the larger SL companies..

The idea that music events would have greater attendance is dependent on a sim being able to carry more than 20 people before the lag sinks all activity in syrup. ....which incidentally is something that InWorldz (barely 18 months old) is already ahead of LL on.... along with better building tools.

So my argument with LL is bigger is an illusion, you need to be better first.

I don't expect anyone is listening..... or if they are, they have already committed to a plan for the future which permits no U turn.

InWorldz is tho...



  1. I agree with you on the analysis of Linden Lab and mismanagement of Second Life, but I have some doubts about InWorldz, which apparently following the path set by Second Life, because it is not an open grid in conjunction with other grid, as would instead Opensim.

  2. I'm running a sim in my basement that is connected to the Craft grid. I spend WAY too much time watching the console as it details all the processing that goes on from moment to moment. I'm beginning to comprehend what it might mean to run tens of thousands of these servers. All I can say is that the experience has given me an enormous appreciation of what LL has accomplished. And with a functioning physics engine.

    Oh, BTW, LL is privately held - no stockholders. :-)

  3. Soror: I agree with you that the short term impact of masses of new users in Second Life could be negative for most current residents. I also think that in a perfect world, better would come before bigger. The problem at this point is that bigger might be what it takes to fund better.

    I disagree that new casual users aren't going to spend money in virtual worlds. Revenues from casual Facebook games, for instance, are many times larger than the Second Life economy.

    Oberon: Although LL is privately held, it's a venture-backed corporation. Investors do receive shares of the company. And the value of each share is calculated on revenue and profitability.

  4. Interesting analysis that I find myself agreeing with on many points. I also agree with Botgirl in that it often does take getting bigger to fund getting better, but it's a very dangerous Catch 22, with both tracks (bigger and better) planned out and executed extremely well to make it work. Also Botgirl's comments about revenues from Facebook is right on point. Casual games - Farmville, case in point - are raking in huge profits from the so-called "casual" user.

  5. I agree, obviously, about Facebook and Farmville, but it's hard to imagine the casual user buying skins, clothes, land or houses. It will be interesting to see what LL come up with to get the cash out of the casual user. Maybe they will start breeding cyber bunnies too...:))

  6. I think it's safe to say that more Second Life members means slower performance - to point of possible defection. But at the same time, more members are needed to generate more income for the investors, right? Maybe not.

    Behind the 80,000+ avatars in SL, are that many real people. And those real people spend money on real life items. I'm sure a good portion of SL's user base is fully immersed not only in the game but in the brand itself.

    I have to believe with this brand loyalty, can come additional income outside the virtual. The merchandising potential alone has to be significant ... let alone other options I haven't thought about.

    Any outside revenue generated by Second Life might just be enough to upgrade the infrastructure without degrading the experience at the same time.

  7. @oberon Linden Research Inc. is a Delaware corporation registered with the SEC. It has stockholders and an elected Board of Directors, the Chairman of which has been Philip Rosedale.

  8. Linden Research, Inc. also has venture capitalists that all want their ROI...

    As for Inworldz. Yes, it's a closed grid, but it's closed for a reason. IP rights. Hypergrid is not yet developed to the point where it can adequately protect IP rights.

    Inworldz can get up to 50 people on one sim, regardless of ARC, without movement or chat lag.

    Inworldz is getting a brand spanking new physics engine early this coming year which is going to make LL's look like doo doo.

    Inworldz has an incredible, thriving economy and community of people who are honestly friendly, warm, and helpful.

    Live music and other events on Inworldz are growing by leaps and bounds; we just finished up Winterfest, which featured scores of live artists and DJs as well as volunteer builds, all organized by one person, Drakon Cortes. Between Mr. Cortes' organization skills, and Tranquillity Dexler's excellent programming, we had a blowout event that is only bound to grow in years to come.

    I could go on, but this is soror's blog ;)


  9. Soror,It has become obvious that The Benevolent Monarchy is in this new game for quantity. I believe they are primarily interested in a 3D chatroom. I don't see the 3D chatroom users needing homes, furniture, art work, building tools, scripts, landscaping, on and on.
    All that makes me wonder what content the 3D chatroom users will see if all the current content creators just get tired of fighting a losing war

  10. Right now downloadable virtual worlds are a niche market, and, despite OS, LL pretty much dominates. A browser based/mobile strategy for SL maybe wouldn't bring in the huge numbers, because it would be operating in a different pool - competing with a million (and more each day) other browser based games, social experiences, virtual worlds and 3D building programmes. I doubt we'd see millions more users taking up and staying (and buying) in SL just because it's browser or mobile based- there's just too much out there competing in that market.
    It seems a better business strategy would be to do what you do do well and grow your niche market.

  11. Juanita, I agree entirely. What is more I think that if InWorldz does exactly that while LL messes about, then IWz may well out grow SL in the long run, or at least give them some stiff competition.