Linden Lab is developing an official version of Second Life for mobile, the company just confirmed: "At the moment," company spokesman Peter Gray tells me, validating an earlier report by SL blogger Daniel Voyager, "we're sending out emails to invite some users to apply to participate in a limited beta program; as we move ahead with that and are able to share more details, we will." Gray declined to share a specific timeline, but my guess is we probably won't see a public version until 2014.
Frankly, one wishes this announcement had hit roughly five years ago, but better late than etc. Coupled to a launch of Second Life integrated with the Oculus Rift, another feature that was announced by Linden Lab a few months ago (but is running late), this could bring renewed interest in SL beyond its core userbase. In any event, we do know there's an existing market for Second Life on mobile:
As I noted in September, the third party Lumiya Second Life viewer for Android devices (depicted above) has over 25,000 active users. (Full disclosure: Lumiya is now a sponsoring partner of NWN.) It'll be interesting to see how Linden deploys SL on mobile -- whether it's a mobile version of the SL viewer fully connected to the official grid (similar to Lumiya), or a new, separate version optimized for mobile. Or perhaps a combination of the two approaches.
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