Contemplating Second Life’s DemiseMarch 20, 2007
This just has to be said.
The Herald recently featured an announcement about the YearlyKos Convention using 8 sims with 4 more set aside as backups. Many of us read that and thought: “Oh, ok, I might actually be able to go to this event without the sim crashing.”
We probably said it without any bitterness because we’ve become used to the limitations of SL. Most of us have abandoned other virtual worlds in favor of this grand experiment in self-expression, and we’ve forgotten that most MMOs don’t lock up just because there are ten avatars within a thousand meters of each other.
This is why I love when publications like Kotaku comment on Second Life. While the details aren’t any more in-depth, they say things that we don’t think to, like:
“What I don’t get is why organizations waste their time. I mean most sims have a pretty tiny cap. For instance, the turn out at last week’s book reading by Dean Koontz was expected to be about 30 people. Why in the hell would he waste his time?”
They have a point. This is ridiculous.
There is no truly viable alternative to SL yet so we put up with the limitations. Nowhere else offers people the opportunities for self-expression that we have here, and when you add to that the free market economic system, Linden Lab pretty much owns our asses.
We’ll all at least check out any system that allows for the independent creation of scriptable objects and a free market system. Just look at Kaneva – it’s clearly less than SL, but the latent desperation for something better has driven many to put up with it long enough to take a really good look.
When the new thing comes, be it Areae or Outback Online or HiPiHi, the number of people who can sit in a room together will make all the difference. Imagine the Koontz event in front of 100 or 1000 people. SL’s hype machine will pale in comparison to what would be created by an event like that. No matter what Linden Lab came up with, be it voice capabilities or other marvelous toys, “U2 Plays Virtual Concert For Hundreds” would bury them.
Hype aside, I’m curious about how ready to jump ship SL residents really are. If something better came along, would you leave? Many would be abandonning a legacy of work, but if it meant that our new creations would have a better home it might be worth it. Some may harbor a sense of loyalty to Linden Lab, and there are a lot of “what ifs” here, so I’ve chosen to phrase my question thusly:
If Linden Lab created a separate, completely rebuilt-from-the-ground grid and client (Second Life v2) that was essentially the same but could handle much higher loads, would you cash out, leave the old grid behind and switch?
… and a follow-up question that should be of particular interest to LL …
Do you think the corporations will?
(Sidenote: this came dangerously close to explaining Onder’s Big Three. They’re listed towards the bottom of the “BoingBoing BOOM” post if you’re curious. I’m still trying to avoid that argument… )