Rod Humble Asking Hardcore SL Users How to Create More Hardcore Users (Which is Probably the Wrong People to Ask)
Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble is a fairly active member of the user-run SL Universe online forum (which is interesting in itself), and in recent weeks, he's been asking SLU's very hardcore, long time Second Life users how new SLers can become regular SLers too. Because here's the problem, as he puts it there:
Right now after performance our biggest issue is not getting new signups or even people to experience SL for a bit, it's turning them into long term users. Any thoughts on what you would do? We have some ideas but before pulling the trigger I would be curious what folks thoughts are here. The more varied the better.
This suggests Linden Lab is about to add some new features for new users, and it also gives us insight to the problem with Second Life's waning user activity. Here, let Humble explain:
The number 1 [problem] remains "didnt know what to do" (hence Destination Guide, Linden Realms test). If you drill down though it ends up being "didnt find the one thing in SL that is good for ME. IE: If you are into making scale aircraft and you end up in a nightclub then you bail. Mainly because you may not know aircraft making is possible. Likewise if you end up in a sandbox but you want to listen to music you bail because you think SL is about making 3d objects.
Linden Realms was a game area that Linden Lab originally said was not for growing the userbase. Some SLers suggest improving the tutorial, but in a fascinating revelation, Rod Humble says this hasn't seemed to help:
People bailed out of the old extended tutorial even faster. Then after they finished it they bailed out at similar rates. It felt like a test, generally done solo. Our experience has been in this day and age, people simply expect to be able to interact with the software without a 20 minute n00b t00b of things to jump through. At the end of it, they had forgotten most of what they had done* and we were back to our "what do I do?" problem.
It all makes for really interesting reading, especially since Linden Lab has been quite quiet in the last few months. (I can't even recall if Humble has made a single post on the official blog since last December, can you?) In any case, while it's great he's asking hardcore SLers how Linden Lab might create more hardcore users, I think he's asking the wrong people -- SLU is dominated by longtime users who joined during the 2006-07 hype period or even before, and their reasons for becoming regular users are likely to be very very different from why new users would convert now. You can infer that from most of the suggestions, which seem to miss this point. By contrast, here's two points I'd recommend, which don't seem to be on that list:
- Create Facebook ads for Second Life which target gamers based on their interest -- if they Like Minecraft, advertise SL to them as a 3D creation space. If they like IMVU, advertise SL as a social gaming space.
- Create a branching game system based on a user's interests -- "Creators" get a ladder of creation-based achievements to accomplish, "Socializers" get a ladder of social achievements to complete, and so on.
Both features have worked with other games and virtual world platforms. And if you dislike either of those suggestions... well, chances are you're a longtime, hardcore SLer too.Tweet