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Monday, March 08, 2010

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John Branch

My response, which probably isn't what you were looking for: there's a new viewer in beta? I didn't know. I've been far too busy with personal things to keep up with SL or NWN lately. I went in over the weekend, checking out the Mont St. Michel sim you had mentioned among other things; that was my first visit in months.

Jovin

My response, which probably isn't what you were looking for either: there's a new viewer in beta and it's potentially exciting but not ready for full-time usage. I'll keep an eye on it but it's not going to change my overall time in-world.

Roblem Hogarth

Not sure why a new viewer, and a Beta one at that, would create more usage in general. While I don't have any particular lindens ear, isn't the new viewer only part of the overall SecondLife 2.0 push? My understanding is that the viewer is meant to fix that "first hour" issue new players have with the platform, by being more intuitive and simpler overall (for new players). Right now the viewer is Very Beta and has some pretty basic issues that need to get worked out. But the viewer aside, Secondlife 2.0 is also Linden Homes giving real value beyond tech support to a new paid account. (not even going to get into how ridiculous that was.) More important than all of that you "Go 2.0" for the marketing, both the actual marketing to get in new players, and to force Reporters to stop phoning in the same old SL story (ageplay, empty sims, yadda yadda) from 2 years ago. This is really an effect to be measured in months not days or weeks. Give it all a chance.

furroy

waaaay too early to think this viewer can have any sort of impact on the numbers.

most people already in SL don't even know it's out yet!

Scarp Godenot

OK, back up a bit. On what possible theory would the release of the beta viewer make any difference at all? The ONLY people using it are sl veterans who will be doing what they do anyway.

Newbies will not be introduced to this viewer for a while. And it will be after it is the default viewer and newbie retention rates are available, that any statistics with regard to it will be meaningful....

Enigma Bombay/Beryl Greenacre

Frankly, the only justification I can see for the changes made in Viewer 2 are for the sake of something 'new and shiny.' It's a pain in the butt to try to adjust to all the new stuff, and it would drive me away if it were my only option. I had several people ask me to do notices for them in groups we both belong to since they couldn't figure out how to use that feature in Viewer 2. The Lindens could have put 'web on a prim' into a slightly updated version of the old viewer. And, they still don't have the two features I use the most in Emerald: built-in radar and a pop-up menu for Torley's fabulous sky settings (on the far right in Emerald) for picture-taking purposes. I'm not switching from Emerald to Viewer 2.

Hamlet Au

"On what possible theory would the release of the beta viewer make any difference at all?"

There's a lot of SLers who are light users but still interested in the world, who don't usually figure into the daily/weekly stats -- my guess was they'd start trying out 2.0 as word got out. That doesn't seem to be the case, at least yet.

Vax Sirnah

My personal experience has been that most people who have heard about the viewer are people who were already using Second Life on a regular basis anyway. And most of the people I've talked to seem uninterested in switching until all the bugs are worked out - especially among the Emerald crowd.

I don't think we are going to see any upswing because of the viewer until the web-on-a-prim starts being used for some really incredible apps. Right now, it's just a curiosity.

brinda Allen

@Scarp Godenot ...Maybe take a look at the SL web site...
While 2.0 is listed as a beta new viewer, {which means it MAY have some bugs}.
(LL's description, not mine)...
It's prominently displayed on the join up site...1.23.5 is listed...in unobtrusive type face.
I work on almost a daily basis with residents sometimes seconds old... I have found 3 so far using 2.0... Their take on it?
It's not what will so dramitically improve that *first hour*.
When shown a screen shot of 1.23.5, two of three decided to log off, scrub 2.0, and load 1.23.5.

My personal experience with 2.0 is also not what the Lindens want to hear I'm sure.
I found it a lot less intuitive than all the viewers I've used since 1.15?.??.
So much is borked in 2.0...
It would appear to be cooked up by ppl interested in a giant 3D chat room...
PPl that have never spent an immersive time in Secondlife.

Ann Otoole

Why would a new UI that appears to mainly allow people to be even more geeky by watching their avatars watch youtube pull any new residents in?

First off the ludicrous pummeling of how great this new UI is in the face of a massive rejection by knowledgeable people is not unnoticed.

Second only an idiot thinks it is better to use a GPU burning interface to browse the web lol. So the actual effect is likely to be inverse of what is desired. People just are not that stupid. Sure web on a prim has uses but what is being showcased is not the actual value proposition for the technology. There has not been enough time for this technology to be exploited to showcase clever use cases yet. Too soon to gauge Shared Media (tm) effectiveness. Give it a year.

Third there is no incentive to join Second Life as a result of this new UI. None. Nada. Zip. This UI makes SL a third degree more complex due to the obvious UI design error of requiring 3 actions to do almost anything while the old UI only required 2. And we still do not have a MMO style UI with user configurable hot bars for most frequently used features (which varies from user to user)

Fourth there is still no noticeable marketing effort in progress. However the Washington Post article is interesting. It is reminiscent of the Anshe article that got a real surge going (subsequently killed in 2008/2009). The intent of this misleading article and it's shouting of clearly questionable user to user transactions clearly appears to be to appeal to those urgently searching for a quick return on a low investment. However the Fifth Element here may disrupt the plans as it is no longer unnoticeable.

Fifth: The perpetuation of the returns that is the draw of Second Life requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new residents to keep the economy going. Hope people understand what this means.

Now this user to user transaction number being bandied about as though it means something needs to have some light shed on it. A case in point is one content creator that makes $300 a month and pays $300 a month to a land baron for a region is still sending $300 a month to Linden Lab. Except that one instance of $300 is $600 in user to user transactions. And the initial $300 probably changed hands a few times before it got to the content seller. So in reality the actual cash floating around SL is nowhere near what is being reported. The only value I can see in user to user transactions would be the huge profit potential for LL were they to institute a 5% transaction fee on every transaction (which is what I would have done long ago). That is the only value in that metric.

So enjoy your advertising of this particular type of "activity". It will survive only as long as new resident "investors" arrive to input fresh cash. So LL better get busy and market this puppy before the tier bleeds the "system" dry.

New UI? What has that to do with anything lmao. It is harder and more confusing to new users than the old one. This new UI requires a year of changes after the owner decides to back off the statement it will not be changed and once it is refined back to no more than 2 actions for any function then we can see if it can be made easier for new users. So don't expect any changes because of this new UI for at least a year (assuming this "optional entertainment activity" manages to last that long in a worsening depression)

I see no reason for any expectation of any change in participation levels because of this new UI. The old UI had little effect on any decisions to leave SL. The real reason people leave in their first hour is because of being assaulted and insulted when they are unlucky enough to arrive in a psychopath infested welcome area. LL needs to clean up their welcome areas and make the new arrivals feel welcome instead of leaving them to the thugs.

But when people cancel their accounts is "assaulted and insulted in the welcome area" listed as a exit survey option? Or is all that gets presented is a few options one of which is the easiest option to pick to escape and leave: "User Interface is too hard". Statistics are only as good as the person writing the survey.

The thing that will increase participation is LL turning around the effect they are having on their existing customers and revenue streams. Word of mouth means everything in this business.

Nisei

I like the new fresh style in the new viewer but i have been trying it and i back to emerald in about 15 minutes because I'm content creator and i was loosing to many time looking for tools, editing prims, i find some problems to receive invitations to groups , ... i will try again when i didn't need to work... :)

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

We had SL 2 users reporting constant nudity last week...I think I'll wait until the "Naked Life" bug vanishes.

Might be a hot topic in Zindra...

Metacam Oh

Ann, I agree with most of everything you said, except I do see a use in shared media (When its fixed of course. Even activating the shared media and looking at webpages takes massive resources on my computer.) When and IF shared media is ever rendered properly it could be an amazing thing. However, Second Life is same beast under the new viewer, what is the phrase, "You can put lipstick on a pig....?"

Until the lag, bugs etc etc etc go away whats the point in increasing concurrency or whatever this early when nothing has changed, or even if SL could handle the influx. You prematurely start this new marketing campaign saying SL 2.0 is here when its really not, you'll just alienate more people who may have stayed in the future when SL is finally operational (I guess thats a big if) I still cant cross a sim, I still cant move when 40 people are in an area.

Loraan Fierrens

I think it's way too soon to be trying to see if this client has an impact on use. After spending some time with it, though, I've got to think it's going to have a negative impact, if any. There are a couple of nice features in it: the search seems to work nicely (at least for the kind of stuff I care about), and I think that shared media has good potential (although I have to agree with Ann that current showcases are hardly compelling). As for the rest? Frankly, I find the UI to be pretty clunky and not at all intuitive. Maybe that's because I'm so used to the old one, but it still strikes me as being pretty oddly laid out.

I think there are several reasons Second Life isn't more mainstream, but I really don't think the client UI is a significant factor. 90% of the time I'm in Second Life, I'm wandering around without any widgets up at all (except maybe an IM window). In so far as there are technical reasons people stay away, I think it has more to do with the lag and that god-awful sim-crossing problem (oh... my avatar is still flying... I guess I should get a cup of tea and wait for it to re-synch). Work really needs to be done to smooth the rough edges on the environment. It's not about window dressing but about performance and reliability. Frankly, the first impression I get when I log in and have to wait an age for all the textures to load (or whatever) is "unprofessional." I know the reasons for the rough edges that bother me and am willing to overlook much of it... but a new person (especially one from an established MMO) is going to look at it and say "WTF is wrong with this dump?"

If we must have Lindens tinkering with the client, how about this: do a REALLY simple default UI (how about we start with Snow Globe, which is actually pretty decent, in my opinion) and provide an addon system for customizing the client (again, as Ann mentioned). One thing that's become clear to me reading all this SL 2.0 stuff on the forums is that it's seriously horking off a lot of vocal users. One vision of how the client should work is not going to work for everyone. So, how about building a client that people can tailor to their particular needs? You want to take a lesson from WoW? Forget the click-to-move horse hockey (I know no one in WoW who uses that, by the way, and I play that damned game way too much) and latch onto add-ons.

Ann Otoole

Oh I'm just saying what people are showing off with Shared Media (tm) is not good for attracting anything lol. Revisit this in a year after Shared Media (tm) has been fully exploited and meshed into the experience and then we will have something to showcase. but the pictures of avatars watching youtube need to go. That is nothing but Daily Show fodder and will have the opposite effect on attracting interest. Unless there is a large fetish base of people that get off on watching toons watch porn or something. And that is still not the right image to put forth lmao.

Much to be seen with Shared Media (tm) (Have I mentioned how much I hate having to stick that (tm) on that phrase?)

Hitomi Tiponi

Those stats show absolutely nothing. They show too short a timescale to show anything interesting other than the decline between April and December 2009 which seemed like an unusual event. Or you could always interpret it that between January and March sl usage figures always rise - which is true, but statistically not significant.

On Viewer 2 - have been writing tweaks and a new skin for it - it now looks like a toad with a prettier hat on, but it is still a toad!

@Ann - just call it 'web on a prim' and tell them where to put their trademarks.

Chenin Anabuki

I like the viewer 2.0. But, we are waiting for the full release before using on a regular basis and as replacement for the old client. When trying it out, we found some bugs in IM chat and communications that would make it more prudent to wait. But even after switching viewers, I anticipate that our in-world activity will remain mostly the same. And even if the new viewer and its shared media functions does change behaviour of users in-world, it will most likely be a switch to more of one and less of another activity.

Roblem Hogarth

Meh.

Flashing Merlin

I never download a new version viewer until I'm required to. Reasons: 1. Why suffer bugs needlessly? 2. Why suffer a learning curve, if I don't have to? Maybe I'll be able to skip this version, and wait for the next. 3. Why build using features that people using the dominant viewer can't see yet? Shared media isn't going to be shared by people who can't see it.

What I predict will have an immediate impact on the number of users is allowing people to select their own names. A lot of people drop out of registration when they can't find a name they can live with. Eliminate that issue, and immediately there will be an increase in the number of people who join.

The "first hour" problem will never be solved by a re-design of the viewer. What the Lindens need to do is hire enough staff to personally greet each newbie and answer their questions. Sounds like a huge expense, but that's the way to win a mass following, and by now most people are used to tech support personnel speaking in a foreign accent, so the Lindens can probably find such a staff among people willing to work for Linden dollars.

brinda Allen


Two things in the above comments I feel bear repeating...these are things I see on almost a daily basis when working with those nooblets just arriving.
****

@Ann Otoole...

"The real reason people leave in their first hour is because of being assaulted and insulted when they are unlucky enough to arrive in a psychopath infested welcome area. LL needs to clean up their welcome areas and make the new arrivals feel welcome instead of leaving them to the thugs."
Amen...I NEVER EVER offer a LM to a *Welcome Area*. Not to anyone !
****

@Flashing Merlin...

"The "first hour" problem will never be solved by a re-design of the viewer. What the Lindens need to do is hire enough staff to personally greet each newbie and answer their questions. Sounds like a huge expense, but that's the way to win a mass following, and by now most people are used to tech support personnel speaking in a foreign accent, so the Lindens can probably find such a staff among people willing to work for Linden dollars."

ABSOLUTELY!
While that option would likely be cost probitive...or end up being abused.

brinda Allen

Sorry ..prohibitive..{I can to spel}

LittleLostLinden


At least the bots and campers are happy. There is an abundance of them all the time.

Lalo Telling

Installed it, ran it for 8 continuous hours, hated it.

http://lalotelling.blogspot.com/2010/02/viewer-two-point-ohhhh-sh.html

Went back to using Emerald, and uninstalled 2.0 (after copying the logs, settings, etc. out of their 'AppData' location so as not to lose them during the uninstall).

@Metacam: "lipstick on a pig," indeed!

Jack Abraham

I found the new viewer impossible to work with. Perhaps when it's out of beta it'll be usable, but as it is now it competes with the in-world experience rather than enhancing it.

t linden

Great thread guys - and thanks for all of the feedback (good and bad).

We support resident choice in terms of viewers - that's why we made the viewer 2 source available the same day as the public beta.

@hamlet - as others note above, we wouldn't expect the public beta to have an impact on the user numbers until it goes into the default download path for new users. Not there yet!

@Ann O Toole and Flashing Merlin - For sure the viewer is only one piece of the new user puzzle. But it's a first step. There is a lot more to be done to enable new users.

@Hamlet - the increase in users in jan/feb is a result of our affiliate and marketing efforts. As we ready the new user experience, we're testing a few things here and there to see what the levers are.

@everyone - we believe more users in SL is a good thing for everyone. A more diverse, populous, and engaged Resident base is good for Second Life, and good for Residents.

Hope that helps!

Ann Otoole

Oh believe me when Shared Media (tm) is "mainstream in SL" I have a serious use case for it lol. The fact I don't have to carve up a parcel to add various types of media to an art installation is huge.

But it has to be "mainstream in SL" before that can be realized. I can't have people staring at a white prim wondering wtf?

Seriously give this some time. It means so much more than youtube on a prim.

@t: Showcase the artists in SL. They don't want to move to your artist gulag. They want to stay where they are. You seriously need to get more talent in house around public awareness that means something and less focus on turning SL into ebay power seller drama. Split the effort or something. Make the showcase more prominent. It doesn't matter what anyone yes mans here. The fact is there is less and less to do in SL because everyone is trying to be a store. The entertainment and arts aspect of SL is fading away. In 2007 there were dozens if not hundreds of places to go where you would find 40 or more actual people having fun. That is gone pal. Last night I found 25 M or A events under nightlife at 10pm and of the ones I checked out most were just a couple of "staff" and a few more obvious bots idling on dance balls. All I can say is LL is totally out of touch with what made SL popular "back in the day". What you are doing now isn't attracting anyone. SL was all about entertainment. When you killed that you ripped the soul from SL. People made money because of the entertainment factor. People wanted to be part of the entertainment. Trying to change SL into a shopping mall is an error IMHO.

Good luck. You'll need it at this point.

Sioban McMahon

"The "first hour" problem will never be solved by a re-design of the viewer. What the Lindens need to do is hire enough staff to personally greet each newbie and answer their questions. Sounds like a huge expense, but that's the way to win a mass following, and by now most people are used to tech support personnel speaking in a foreign accent, so the Lindens can probably find such a staff among people willing to work for Linden dollars."


They sort of try to do this by steering new residents toward those gateway or destination communities, who have promised to have staff or greeters on their sims 24/7. A quick tour, though, shows that too many people have clicked that button promising to keep the area staff but then don't actually do it. LL should do a little review of some of the sims/communities in that program.

Metacam Oh

I just personally can't understand trying to get new users when the platform can't handle it? How many people would it take for the grid to collapse, how many on a sim before people are unable to move and load anything and crash. What if millions do come to SL? The experience would be horrific unless these server issues are fixed.

soror nishi

@t linden... sorry, but from my conversations : the increase in visitor numbers in Jan and Feb had a lot more to do with the release of the movie Avatar than anything LL has done.

The first hour experience remains a disgrace.

brinda Allen

A former Secondlife Mentor of many years offered me a place at one of the "Gateways".
I went... I joined the group... I left after a couple days when:
"A", most of the group mentor chat was asking for info that you would expect from new residents.
{symtomatic of *just find bodies to staff this Gateway*}

"B", The entire experience seemed to be designed to take advantage of the inexperience of new residents and to *steer* then into either a sales situation, or in some cases a Secondlife lifestyle.

I realize this is a little off the original post about 2.0... but one of the premises of 2.0 is that it will improve that first hour percentage..(15%?)

Gat Hax

@t linden:
More users is great, but you need to make SL stable first. It's already overburdened, why are you throwing more wood on the fire?

Maybe LL should be concentrating ALOT more on user retention instead of user influx.

Tateru Nino

@Sioban So, enough to individually greet more than 10,000 people per day (which is what we get at the moment)? That's a whole lot of staff you're talking about there.

Tateru Nino

@brinda I think the first hour percentage is <10%, and could be as low as 1%

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