Here's an epic, behind-the-scenes blog post from Andromeda Media Group's Will Burns, whose in-person visit to Linden Lab's San Francisco headquarters and meeting with CEO Ebbe Altberg I blogged about last week. Will's also Vice-Chair for IEEE's Virtual Worlds Standard Group, so there's lots of meaty analysis of Second Life and Sansar in relation to other MMOs, along with tantalizing hints of updates to both. Two takeaways stand out most for me:
Linden Lab's cultural shift away from a Second Life focus:
Why Linden Lab is so hellbent on pushing Sansar while effectively ignoring Second Life, or treating it like the wicked red-headed step-child internally, is anybody’s guess... while I was at Linden Lab, I definitely got the feeling that Sansar was the main focus with a near total avoidance of discussing Second Life or its future. It’s technology evangelism at it’s peak. As far as Ebbe is concerned, he’s all-in for Sansar while Second Life is… somewhere in the basement level with the engineers. On one side of the equation I can see why Ebbe would be all-in for Sansar. I’d assume Linden Lab spent a stupid amount of money developing it and couldn’t afford to pull the plug, and so he was likely told to produce an ROI come hell or high water.
Will cites a Glassdoor review from a recently departed Linden Lab employee who says more or less the same.
"Here's the vibe I get," Will tells me. "When I was there, Ebbe was of course wearing the Sansar hoodie, and keen to steer conversation back to Sansar whenever possible. Whenever I did bring up Second Life related things, I got the vibe that he was politely listening and waiting to go back to Sansar discussion and show it off." Which is quite understandable for the reasons Will mentions. And to be sure, Linden Lab is still actively updating Second Life, even moving it completely to the cloud. But the overall shift in corporate cultural focus, away from Second Life and toward Sansar, seems undeniable.
The other point worth highlighting here: According to Will, hints that Linden Lab may soon change the pricing of SL land caused a mild freakout among some Second Life "land barons" who make money by subletting their property: