Game Dev Michael "Gez Linden" Gesner Leaves Linden Lab -- But Plans to Add Game Mechanics to SL Will Likely Continue
I just got confirmation that Michael "Gez Linden" Gesner, who was an Executive Producer at Linden Lab, left the company recently. I'm sorry to see him go, because I was impressed by his vision for improving Second Life which he gave at the SLCC conference last year. However, don't fret for Gez, because the seasoned game industry developer has gone on to work (he tells me) for one of gaming's very biggest brands. (Which one hasn't been announced publicly yet, but if you're any kind of gamer, you'll definitely know it, and probably utter "Whoa", or maybe even "Dude!")
What's this mean for the future of SL development? In my opinion, likely this:
At SLCC 2011, Gez talked a lot about adding game mechanics to the overall Second Life experience, which we haven't really seen as yet. (I believe operational stability took precedent to adding those gaming features.) However, even with Gez gone, I believe there's many other top Lindens who are big supporters of integrating game mechanics (such as achievement awards) into SL, and several plans to do so, and even as Gez goes on to bigger things, I bet we'll still see them. I sure hope so. With revenue continuing to decline, it's crucial that SL gain and retain new users, and one fairly certain way to do so is to turn much of the Second Life experience into a game (at least for new users who use the official client). It's one of the radical changes I've been calling for. But more on that later.