Gwyneth in an SL utopian community in 2006 (which of course fell into acrimony and DMCA filings)
Interesting comment from metaverse developer Gwyneth Llewelyn, who's been doing ambitious SL projects for over a decade, on the appeal of Sansar versus High Fidelity for the Second Life user community:
I can see both the appeal of an open-source, open-ended platform, as well as one that is a closed garden ran by a company which has been doing exactly that for 14 years; and I can also see the appeal for high-end gamers with their homes furnished with all sort of VR gear, versus the social user who, at best, has a high-end laptop to log in. Both platforms will appeal to each kind of user in very different ways. Personally I think that both platforms will find their niche markets (around the 10-100K users), and there will be a lot of experimenting by the academic community on High Fidelity (because it's free and open-source), but Second Life will still remain a 'first choice' for the casual, social users.
That's why I still think that Linden Lab, at some point, will have no choice but to 'force' people to switch over to Sansar — maybe starting to find clever ways to port content, especially meshed content (which ought to actually be easier to move over) — merely from a business perspective: it might simply be too costly to keep two separate teams on two platforms at the same time, and enhancing SL will become harder and harder every day. They have been saying 'no' for quite a while now, but... for how long will they be able to keep that promise?
Provocative question for conversation this weekend! My own answer would go something like this:
If enough active Second Life users -- say 100,000 -- switch over to paying the $10 monthly Premium subscriber fee, that gives the company a solid revenue base of $12 million a year. That would be more than enough to weather the near-constant bleeding of their private sim revenue, keep SL operational, and still make a tidy profit. (Assuming about 100 employees work directly on Second Life, that's around $10 million just to keep them employed.)
However, to Gwyneth's point, if in 2-3 years not enough SLers have converted into Premium subscribers, and private sim revenue keeps sliding, yes: We should start seeing Linden Lab gently nudging and then more emphatically nudging Second Life users toward Sansar.