Last week's rant by my VR executive friend "Meursault" provoked some really interesting reader replies, including this one by virtual world developer Estelle Pienaar, who recently launched an SL-based game. In opposition to Meursault, she argues that Linden Lab's Sansar is addressing the problems that hurt Second Life, especially with large companies:
It's good to have critical voices in order to make a reality check but I don't agree. I won't answer each of the arguments. I prefer to give a different narrative. Why have big companies not created experiences for Second Life?
1) You can't find it with Google. Everyone who is looking for something uses a search engine as entry portal. You can't find Second Life content on web search engines.
2) Community tools like group chat, group messages, my SL feed etc. are isolated from the web 2.0 social networks - and the other way round.
3) Scale. Only up to 150 avatars can be in a sim at the same time.
4) Branding. A company like BMW isn't interested to be part of an MMO. But if they can use the platform as a content management system with their own branding and entry portal, then it might be a whole different story.
5) The content creator has only limited control of his [SL] content. A company wants to decide if one user is allowed to spoil their experience with a crazy furry latex avatar or if he/she has to use one of their prefab avatars; if he/she can use gestures; if he/she can speak in open chat; if he/she can IM another potential customer; etc.
6) The technology is so far behind that a scene with a wow-effect is almost impossible: no animated meshes, no shaders, etc.
7) The user interface, especially the avatar customization system and camera movement, are way too complicated and an entrance barrier.
For Esther, these points point directly to what Sansar will be -- and who it will be geared toward -- and surprisingly, she thinks it won't be ideal for typical SLers. Here's why: