Second Life Isn't Dead (Yet) -- But SL's Strongest Supporters Need to Know Its Survival Is Now at Stake
Update, 5/15: Welcome, iO9 readers! For more context on why I say it's too early to write Second Life's obituary, see the recent integration of SL with the Oculus Rift, and a new cloud-streamed version of SL for mobile and low-end laptops
"Second Life, to me, is pretty much dead", is the core takeaway from a blog comment made by longtime SL content creator William Reed Seal-Foss which has gone fairly viral recently, as on /secondlife here and echoed by former SL supporter Mitch Wagner here. Reed's post hits most of the points we've been making here, but contains some extra firepower, coming as it does from a veteran 3D content creator. Excerpt:
Second Life is literally still plagued by the same problems users were dealing with in 2007. Group chat is still broken, seven years later. Users are still restricted to a very narrow definition of 3D content, mainly in that what you make for Second Life pretty much can only be used in Second Life. The fact that mesh import only supports an antiquated version of COLLADA, and that any sort of animated mesh must be rigged to the proprietary Second Life skeleton is absurd, especially when you look at other platforms of the day like Unreal and Unity, even Cloud Party. I can literally save a file in Maya and simply open it within Unity. It’s that easy.
All this is true, and even then, I disagree Second Life's position now is as dire as he thinks, for many reasons I've also discussed in recent posts.
At the same time, this must also be added:
Second Life's strongest enthusiasts need to start confronting the reality that Second Life's survival is at stake in the next year or two, and will require many substantial changes and additions to survive. I've also discussed those solutions at length, and it's striking to see so many SL enthusiasts still insisting things are fine, just fine, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Joe Essid points out a recent SLer comment that fits that bill perfectly:
Nothing wrong with being a niche. We live in a finite world, the myth that growth is infinite and can continue forever and that triple digit yearly growth is required for 'success' has got to go. There's nothing wrong with finding a niche market and making steady money off of it, year in and out.
But, in fact, Second Life is a niche making less and less money every year. And saying all of the above is pretty much like yelping "I'm not dead!" even as the cart approaches. To survive requires facing reality, accepting where we are -- and advocating a strategy for slipping away before we're bonked on the head.
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