Thursday, 14 April 2011

Objects, Identity and Advertising.

I can fully understand that there are times when you get bored of social life, I do. I have relationships with objects, of a sort... I make them, paint them and sell them. I call them plants etc. .. my generic term is Flora Virtua Exotica, a term Kaltusaran and I thunk up for our first shop.

I find objects called baby, bunny, horse..etc. a difficult one. I would not personally be happy with keeping a baby in my invent. I find it creepy. I don't have any problem with people that do. I also have two good friends who were Bunny Addicts, and I blogged about them, sometime. Now, my friends weren't happy about keeping their animals locked up in their invents either.

The latest edition of Sandbox, LL's Attempt To Make SL More Interesting, should be renamed Litter Tray as it is featuring animals as the New Thing. Now luckily LL's advertising is so poor that it probably won't succeed. I say 'luckily' because if 100 people a day start a bunny collection (other creatures are available) which multiplies to 10 creatures (as bunnies do), then by the end of the year SL would be the proud owners of 365,000 lag making bundles of fun (not the fast kind).

SecondLie suggested that LL was trying to increase concurrency by increasing lag so that everything takes longer to do inworld. Breedables could achieve that.

..but, seriously folks, Crap has a wonderful set of adverts on his blog, here. .... not sure why humour is so missing in the lab. Anyway, Paisley blogged something similar at the same suggesting that the Boys draw on the huge pool of talent available instead of half-assed attempts.

This is all very reminiscent of the podcast that Toxic, Chantal and Phaylen did..... tho it does seem that while the sims and prims of LEA are still locked in a few elite hands, the LEA will host a machinima event... I feel like I should say "about time".

However, the more I think about VWs and the reason so few stay, the more I am gravitating towards the psyche rather than the viewer. By that I mean the reasons are psychological rather than technological.

There are people who cannot stand the idea that their avatar cannot be the same height as their RL bio body. This is not a handful, many share the same angst..... I blogged about this post a good while back. I believe the author and those commenting, bewailing the height problem, are just the tip of the iceberg.

This was bought back to me while reading the huge number of comments about Kitely on Eners blog of last week, where Gaga pointed out that FaceBook is for those more comfortable in their RL personas..... or words to that effect.... This lead me to wonder if this was the reason for such a marked clash of opinions between those for and against FB connection to VWs.

It takes a particular type of psyche to enjoy role play, and all avatar based platforms are role play, even if you think you are playing yourself. The so-called RL persona is a construct, one fabricated over decades. To leave that behind and start again is an act of courage I think, which demands a certain confidence.

If, and like all theories it doesn't exclude other views.... if all fear (like death and/or going mad) is basically the fear of disintegration of the Self, of identity, then I could see how clutching to "Real Life" is important. The height of my avatar could be important, and making my avatar as Real as possible would be vital....BUT.... a person truly insecure in their own identity would never, ever, enjoy living an avatar life.... nor role play, nor fancy dress...

Now, as I said, it's just a theory. However, if there is an element of truth in that, then no amount of advertising is gonna help. Not even the Labs last attempt "Become Your Avatar" (a philosophically illogical concept, except in the film 'Avatar' which entailed killing your RL self....slightly dramatic and not, surely what LL was advocating ).

If even partly true.... VW's are a niche market, and the Boys should abandon The Myth Of Ten Million Users.

Making SL into an extension of FB's FunnyFarm is doomed to fail.... remember Avatars United? yeh, me neither.

Why can't they just accept the numbers and make it profitable...



  1. poor avatars united, i felt bad for the existing community that lost what they had

    are you Japanese? i ask i ask because i understand that objects are seen as having spirits aren't they? i believe all things can have spirits (i mean if i make something, isn't come of my intention in it?)

    but i also believe in Aboriginal Dreamtime and it is in full agreement with my science beliefs (especailly since Nobel Laureate physicist search for God) =)

  2. My soul is japanese...:))...but I do actually have a metaphysical relationship with matter. I believe it to be spirit, yes.

  3. OK... Taking the last one first.
    "Why can't they just accept the numbers and make it profitable..."

    I suspect we will never know the *inside* story of the exact relationship between the front office at Linden Research and the venture capitolists, suffice it to say that the VC boys could care less about virtual worlds... for them it's all about maximizing income.

    "It takes a particular type of psyche to enjoy role play"
    Yes! I will always believe that a powerful sense of imagination is necessary to do what a realy good movie does for us. Good movies, or plays create something called *suspension of disbelief*.

    Lastly, although my ego is certainly alive and (perhaps) unwell =^..^=
    " if all fear (like death and/or going mad) is basically the fear of disintegration of the Self, of identity"
    As a practising Buddhist that part comes easily for me. The "me" that sits here typing almost becomes disembodied hands controling the interface that allows brinda to be the "person" you all know from virtual worlds.

    Good insight soror.
    Gosh, we never know, perhaps one of the powers that want to be will see this post and accept one of the most precious gifts ever.
    The gift of ears.

  4. They don't seem to have a hard time getting registrations. I think 10,000+ sign up per week. The problem is converting them into long time users.

    Some people who sign up probably just want to take a quick look. Others may have more of an interest but don't make it past the learning curve . . .they give up before they get to what could be "the good stuff." Given the terrible conversion numbers, it's likely that even many or most of those who gain some proficiency with the platform never find something compelling enough to keep coming back.

    Just thinking about people I know who have tried Second Life a few times but gave it up, I don't think technical reasons had much to do with it. It was more a "why bother" thing. They didn't find anything interesting enough to compete with the other things they could do online. I think another factor is that Second Life is antithetical to the short attention span surfing most of us are used to.

  5. I agree and I agree with Botgirl about the reason being partly the short attention span most users internet surfers have. Everything must be easy and smooth, you shouldnt have to think yourself, if you have to, you give up. Thats a fact.

    To succeed they need to have lifelike avies you can scan your RL face and place it on the avie and a web solution. Otherwise its a niche product forever. And most ppl dont have the imagination necessary to involve in virtual worlds as u say and as was said in Eners posting.

    They might be interested if they could apply some RL facts and looks in it and use it as a dating game before they meet in rl for example. But it has to be a web solution and VERY simple to play for 90% of the users. They could have an option to download the client to build etc for hardcore users, but mr and ms Smith, forget it.

  6. amazingly, Hamlet responded directly to soror's question "Why can't they just accept the numbers and make it profitable?" here:

  7. It's interesting to try to think about this from strictly a Linden Lab business point of view. If 75% their revenue is really just coming from 5000 or so people, I'd be nervous about the future and looking for a way to get all my eggs out of such a small basket. Hmm. I guess I mean get a lot more paying eggs in my current basket.

  8. Well, that's if we believe these figures.... but anyway, losing 5000 good customers in the mad quest for 10 million is not really a good ploy either.

  9. I agree. Up until recently, people felt they were stuck in Second Life with no viable alternatives. OpenSim grids are starting to catch up. If their progress continues, I'm thinking a few of the more solid grids are going be pretty equivalent to Second Life in terms of features and stability in a year or two and possible even surpass them through innovations like Unity 3D clients, Phlox script engine, etc. On the other side, they're going to continue to be squeezed by 3D Chat and Social Game MMO platforms like IMVU.

    So user retention, especially the ten or twenty thousand of the most active and revenue generating customers, is really critical. It seems that the new CEO is trying to reach out to the community and there are a number of signs that they are finally open to input and substantive communication. It's going to be an interesting couple of years.

  10. Second lifes price for land are no longer competitive. They arent that much better than the other grids, to be able to continue with those prices anylonger.

  11. heart and I had our wedding on our sim last night and at my highest count had 26 people on our sim. Scripts, AOs (it was a tiny wedding, so plenty of AOs), danced for hours..we never had a problem. A few months ago I attended a party in SL and we crashed when we hit 21 avatars. We had huge amounts of lag in the teens. Nothing like that last night. Last night was a normal InWorldz sim, no Phlox or anything. Viable options exist, better options even. LL needs to do something.