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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


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Viorel Daviau

Something I forgot to mention at gigaom last night.

When voice was introduced, residents were informed that once voice moves out of beta, there would be a charge for land owners if they wanted voice usage available.

I'm not sure if that has changed, but if LL does in fact charge for voice service, expect the numbers to drop drastically. With Skype being the most attractive (free) choice across multiple platforms (scrapping Teamspeak & other paid services), adding a fee would bury those figures (above) in the ground.

I'm afraid if the Lab wants to keep solid figures, they'll have to bite the bullet with this one.


I don't think they'll ever wind up charging for basic voice use, including SLim. What they probably will charge for is things of more use to businesses such as SLim conference calls, voicemail, etc. Skype charges for voicemail and to have a phone number associated with the skype account. My feeling is that those are the sorts of things that will get charged for.

Ann Otoole

"100K simultaneous in-world conversations active every 15 minutes (one sim can have dozens of parallel sessions)"

Amazing since there has never been that many concurrent logins in the history of Second Life.
Sounds to me like it is computed as the number of people with voice on in range of others with voice on multiplied by number of people with voice on in range of others with voice on.


And we will have to pay extra for the phone service in the future. I'll pass. I have a phone. Some will like it and use it though. Some people have iphones even though they will never use all the features. Gadget aficionados will probably gobble up sl phone service just to have another cool gadget. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I go around with voice on frequently. The only time I ever encounter public voice convos is in welcome areas and those are usually pre teen sounding voices. I'm sure they will rush to buy voice fonts when available. If they offer Darth Vader I might buy it.

Must be a lot of phone sex going on in private calls.

I would prefer LL work on it's core competencies related to the 3D aspects. Seems they are doing nothing but crippling everything and introducing experience killing defects at an alarmingly increasing rate.

And then there is a lot of promises they never delivered on.

Whatever. The big takeaway I see is LL becomes part of the telco club which is political in a major way.

Iggy O

"For educators and enterprise users, "virtually 100% are using voice"

True...but its not on all the time...though at conferences it's now the norm.

Voice gets used once per month at our SL Education Round Table, when we have special guests.

The consensus of the SLER participants for our other discussions, however, is that text chat works best for big groups...in either case we provide transcripts so those not present can read what occurred.

For voice meetings, however, we employ voice-to-text transcribers. It's a tough job!

AJ Brooks deserves a lot of credit for not only hosting the meetings but also mustering the troops: a chat-logger (usually me), a voice-support person, a photographer with a Flickr photostream, at least two transcribers, and a backup logger in case I crash! That's the same level of support you'd have at a RL academic meeting.

I almost always use voice for small-group meetings on campus, except with students, who tend not to have mics or forget them as they do everything else not glued or tattooed to their bodies :)


The fact that 52% of Residents have Voice enabled does not actually mean they use it. Voice defaults to the 'on' position and I've encountered plenty of new users who are absolutely unaware that they have it enabled.

Arcadia Codesmith

If your voice sounds like a middle-aged male from Oxford, people will react to you much differently than if you sound like a young woman from Oklahoma... even if you're expressing exactly the same ideas.

In an academic or corporate setting, the literal "voice of authority" serves to reinforce the social hierarchy of that particular context.

Absent any pressing need for such a context, text is a democratizing influence. People contribute much more readily to a discussion if they're not self-conscious about the way they sound to other participants.

That's especially true for people from non-English speaking countries, who may be significantly more fluent with text than they are with spoken English.

I don't begrudge voice chat to people who find it useful, as long as they respect my decision not to use it.


Maybe eBay can buy SL for a billion dollars. :o


There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. And sometimes there are also press releases.

Looking at that LL press release it seems to be clearly aimed at lazy journalists with no idea of SL and who are not going to do any checking beyond cutting and pasting.

Do these quotes sound reasonable to you?

..."With 700,000 unique users consuming more than a billion minutes a month, voice has become an integral component of the Second Life experience."...

That billion is a nice suspiciously round and impressive number isnt it?

..."total usage, unique users and concurrency increasing exponentially every month"...

I'm sorry - concurrency is increasing exponentially every month? This must be some strange usage of the word 'exponentially' that I wasn't previously aware of. These things are aren't even doubling each month let alone growing exponentially!

But the really scary things in that press release were these:

..."provide unique monetization opportunities."...

..."voice is also a key component of Linden Lab's business model and strategy moving forward."...

..."expects this rapid adoption to continue while also adding several new revenue streams for the company"...

..."will be an important revenue driver moving forward"...

So can someone explain who will be paying LL for what please?

Henri Beauchamp

I am among the people who have got voice turned off permanently, and should the viewer have voice disabled by default instead of the other way around, my guess is that we would be 50% with voice turned off in SL...

As always, it is easy to make statistics lie, and counting the people who are only listening (among whom are "voyeurs" without even a microphone connected to their computer) is quite dishonest: only people who actually *speak* should be counted and then the figures would be much less favourable to voice.

Same thing for parcel with voice activated: this is the default on parcels, so quoting a 97% figure for it is a non-sense !

Voice in SL is actually quite a turn off for role-players like me, for whom SL is entirely disconnected from RL and a world where they live their fantasy. Introducing a RL element such as the voice of the players completely ruins the role-playing experience, thus why true role-players will have voice turned off permanently.

Nexus Burbclave

When voice defaults to on, the take-away should not be that just over 50% of residents use voice. The take-away should be that nearly half of SL's residents go out of their way to disable voice. Perhaps they should be asking themselves why that is, instead of patting themselves on the back for the just over half of their residents that didn't disable the feature.

Voice has its uses, but there are many reasons why text is still king including:

1. An international community - It is easy to find text translators from and to most of the widely used languages in SL. Automatic voice translation has not been solved inside or outside of SL.

2. Logging - you can log text. while there are ways to record voice, none are as convenient as having a direct log of the text chat.

3. RP - Many people participate in RP communities with characters that differ greatly from the person behind them. Hearing the voice of the person breaks the illusion I'm not just talking about gender here either. Everything from regional/fantasy accents to differences of tone are easier to handle over text.

Arahan Claveau

Just tested AvaLine which works really well, I got a recorded message delivered to my email, a useful feature as IM's are often missed or not delivered. Of course friends and family etc. can call me at my home but this could have some practical applications.

I always have voice enabled and prefer it to text chat. Some people don't want to use it for different reasons e.g roleplay, pretending you're a different gender, privacy etc, or maybe you're just extremely shy, have a speech impediment or disability, then of course it's understandable why you wouldn't want to use voice, but for many of us it is pretty much essential.

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