VentureBeat has a new preview of Sansar which mostly covers territory already familiar to NWN readers, but this remark from Ebbe is worth gawking at a bit:
“Second Life is the most successful virtual world ever made to this day,” said Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg in an interview with GamesBeat. “No one has ever come close. We are building something here that we believe can go way beyond what Second Life achieved.”
Maybe there's some additional context to this claim that hasn't been included -- which I hope, because taken by itself, I have no idea how this assertion makes any sense. Based on what we know, Second Life currently has about 600,000 active users and makes about $75 million in annual revenue for Linden Lab. By contrast:
- Eve Online is a single-shard virtual world like Second Life, and at $74 million a year, earns about as much revenue for its owner as Second Life.
- IMVU has a marketplace for user-generated content and to judge by website traffic and reported concurrency, is somewhat more popular than Second Life.
- World of Warcraft is a multi-user virtual world like Second Life, and over its 12 year existence, has earned far more money and had far more users.
- Minecraft is a user-created virtual world like Second Life, and as of this year, has sold over 100 million copies.
And so on; we're not even mentioning virtual worlds in the Asian market, many of which have monthly usage in the tens of millions of users.
At best, you could make the case that Second Life is the most ambitious and influential virtual world ever made -- the claim I'd personally prefer to make. At worst, you could argue that Second Life is the most successful virtual world in terms of media coverage -- but then that also means acknowledging much of that coverage has been negative.
This may seem like an academic point, and to be sure, CEOs like to make harmlessly hyperbolic statements about their products all the time. But seeing as Ebbe Altberg made this claim in the context of talking about its Sansar, the company's successor to Second Life, there's room for concern:
Because if Linden Lab's CEO truly thinks Second Life was the most successful virtual world by far, he's less likely to learn from other worlds which achieved as much or even much more success. And perhaps even less likely to learn from Second Life's many mistakes which kept it from becoming as successful as it could have been. Guess we'll find out if that's the case when Sansar launches in a few weeks (or months).
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