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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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Cypress Rosewood (Tony Gerber)

I feel that Second Life peaked at the beginning of last year. I am coming from the perspective of the artists and musicians of Second Life and there may be other factions of SL that are in a big growth that I am unaware of. I feel that there is something new, probably in the virtual world realm, but that Second Life is running off and drying out all of it's creative content creators. They have done nothing to support and embrace the people making the content in their virtual world. As usual, the corporate world (numbers people) descend on the company and they lose site of the original vision. I for one, am no longer inspired like I once was in Second Life. I am on the lookout for something more rewarding for the artist/musician. I really hope I am not correct, but I operate on my intuition and my intuition is saying the heyday of SL is in the past.

regretfully responding,

Cypress Rosewood

Adeon Writer

I honestly believe everything is holding out on collada mesh release. Mesh's reception by the community will either bring the virtual world back to mainstream, or be the final nail in the coffin.... it all depends on how soon it's released, how it's perceived, and wither or not people can get it running on the older 1.x style viewers...

brinda allen

Mesh or not.... (sculptys were the new mesh a few years ago).... There really seems to be know way to know. I suspect that Steller Sunshine never expected Secondlife to still be here just short of 9 years later.

Yes, I've a "lifeboat" ready to continue Inworldz....but my plan is to remain until the last server is turned off.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Hamlet, Hamlet Hamlet, you've always been a sucker for buzz-word technologies. :-)

The Cloud is a solution in search of a problem, it might help out getting SAHM's to be able run Blue Mars though.

As for Kinect? It's an updated Eyetoy, big deal. My guess is that it and similar technologies will see some use for console based virtual worlds, but not for desktop ones.

The real truth is, that most of the people who have any interest in virtual worlds...are already in them. I do expect some small growth. Perhaps 900000 active u sers by year end. I'm seeing planty of active 6 - 8 monthers, that's a good sign....if they can make it past the year hump. And there are always new newbies. I see day old newbies practically every login. And certain oldbies are becoming more active again, also a good sign.

A more important thing is getting those <= 1 year old folks to spend money on the Lindex. Once they do, that increases their "connection" to SL, they're more likely to settle down...get a 512, form groups, join groups, become active in varous communities and most importantly buy stuffs from content creators.

The "Freebie Hunter economy" isn't helping much, though the people who spent L$ in the past continue to do so. They're the ones sustaining the SL economy...they're mostly oldbies for darn sure.

It would also help if a certain Virtual World pundit focused a little less on the buzzwords on more on the actual virtual world that has survived all comers.

What do those year old folks think, the six monthers, the month old folks...anyone talking to them? Are they reading NWN? Probably not. NWN's readership is oldbie heavy, which is a weakness IMHO.


Hamlet Au

"it might help out getting SAHM's to be able run Blue Mars though"

CCC, that's exactly who comprise the majority of casual social gamers -- stay at home moms! The cloud will also help them access SL of course.

"most of the people who have any interest in virtual worlds...are already in them."

I'm very skeptical about that premise -- roughly 15 million people have installed and tried to play Second Life. Unless you think they were able to give SL a fair try and just didn't like the category in general, that's a large market of people who can be won back. Beyond that, web-based virtual worlds are extremely large, and social games larger still, and many of those replicate virtual worlds in most of the important ways.

Wayfinder

Second Life won't stagnate during 2011. It is ALREADY stagnating... and far worse. During 2009-2010 concurrency dropped 30%. Second Life lost some 5,200+ sims during the OpenSpace Sim bait-and-switch fiasco, thousands of Premium members and tens of thousands of Basic members. That one act alone put OpenSim on the map. Second Life sim count is decreasing, not increasing. Linden Lab was goofy enough to put an end to the Educational discount-- in the middle of the fiscal year when most schools can't possibly obtain funds to keep their sims open. Result: they stand to lose up to 8% of their total sim count over that one issue alone. Their sim count is decreasing so badly they've removed all stats from both their spash page and website. This is a company that has plenty to hide.

Second Life isn't just stagnating-- it's tanking. Merchant sales are severely down. SL Marketplace is leeching in-world sales, land is devaluing to near-worthless, and people are abandoning the platform for far-less-expensive Inworldz.

So not to burst anyone's bubble... but we don't have to wait until the end of 2011. At this point unless Rod pulls some sort of near-miraculous rabbit out of the hat, we may discover which of the multitudinous possibilities will actually blow SL out of the water. Major lawsuit? Competition eating their lunch? Destruction from within? Management taking the money and running? Someone significant jailed for blatantly criminal activity?

One thing we can be sure of: 2011 is going to be "interesting times". Face it: Linden Lab hasn't had a single "up" moment since October 2008.

Arcadia Codesmith

Hope and Fear...

Fear: Linden Lab has an uncanny knack for alienating its existing user base in pursuit of new opportunities, while displaying a truly astonishing ineptitude at identifying and exploiting those opportunities. This could be the year when those incredible boomerang torpedos finally sink the ship.

Hope: Second Life is filled with people taking this sad-looking, half-deflated ball and running it towards the goal with every ounce of energy, brains and heart that they've got. With the right tools and support, the users have the capability to transform this world into the biggest viral sensation ever.

But to pull that off, we need to have the Lab stop looking at the residents as clueless end-users who don't know their DVD drive from a cupholder, and start viewing us as committed, deeply invested, and highly-talented partners in the development process who want desperately for this joint venture of ours to succeed.

But if Linden Lab won't give us that respect, there are plenty of smaller, leaner, hungrier competitors who will. (And if they don't deliver, hell, I might just put together a business plan for Arcadia Online and start shopping it out to venture capital).

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Game OVAH for educators.

While participants at our recent "special guest" Roundtable were divided, it was bracing to hear Ken Hudson, whose Canadian Border Crossing Project attracted some good press and showed such strong results, declare SL done.

He advised us to move on to other worlds.

Many of us have. More will this year.

MachineSin

My experience with SL has been getting better evry year. I think SL has a great future. I've not been alienated with anything the Lab has done. My spending has increased a lot since I first joined - moving from owning no land for about 3 years to now owning a homestead sim.

I think SL has too much of a depressed and negative user base that the company would be better off without.

Negative energy is not a good thing. Almost every SL forum I go on I get the impression that a lot of people using SL would be better off with Prozac. Like I always said to such people and will continue to say, "Please take you negativity elsewhere."

Failed Inventor

I think to analyze this intelligently you need to look at much more than what is going on rather than focusing only on LL's + or - decision making.

We have seen them continually shoot them self in the foot in the past, and they still haven't bleed to death yet.

A big determining factor will be, RL economics, effects of mesh, moves and development of alternative grids such as InWorldz.

To many look at the egg basket and who is carrying it, when they should be looking at what obstacles the egg carrier is hopping over.

Linden Labs faces several challenges this year, teens on adult grid, yet another change in mgt. ( new ceo ), linden layoffs ( will there be more? ) etc. etc....

those are all internal...

But also they face, competitors such as new grids, new mmo's, new platforms ( unity 3D , global economic conditions, fashion trends, and tech advancements and innovations. They are really taking it from every angle.

But one of the oldest sayings is still true to this day...

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

While I personally don't see SL on the chopping block this year, I don't have any expectations of home run hits in growth.

I will be looking to expanding to fresh new markets and platforms for 2011, while maintaining my brands presence in SL.

Cheers,

Failed Inventor, (Cody Rauh, CEO of F.E. Energy, LLC )

Gwyneth Llewelyn

If MachineSin is right, this will mean that more and more "negativity" people will leave SL in 2011. The result is that the remaining of us will continue to remain moderately optimistic :)

Hmm. I never thought about that, but perhaps the reason why SL continues to remain around is because all negativists are leaving :)

Jokes beside, I don't expect *massive* growth in SL this year, although I have noticed a very strange phenomenon since early December: long-lost oldbies from 2004-2006 are all of the sudden coming back to SL, they'e full of energy, incredibly enthusiastic about all the cool new features that SL now has (if you left in 2006 and came back five years later, you'll be shocked at how amazingly good SL actually is!), are restablishing their old contacts and forging new ones, and launching new projects. I went "wow" when noticing this, and I have no explanation why it's happening, and why it's happening *now*. Will it make a difference? No. SL in 2004 only had 5,000 users. Even if all came back, that wouldn't make a difference in *numbers*, although the *sheer enthusiasm* might certainly move a few things into the limelight...

On the other hand, in the past, every new technological breakthrough that allowed for enhanced avatars always brought a huge rise in merchant activity and flurry of new creative talent to be output and sold on the shops. That's one of the reasons why I'm quite curious about the overall impact of meshes. Also, it will save a huge amount of polygons (not prims; polygons) to be rendered, and this might substantially reduce client-side lag in some circumstances. Put both together and maybe, maybe 2011 still has a few surprises up its sleeves...

It'll be also interesting if a Unity3D-based viewer for SL will really be launched in 2011; the company doing this has failed to contact me back, but, nevertheless, if they can deliver, this will mean that from the perspective of organisations trying to decide among the two technologies, they can just grab the Unity3D viewer for SL and have both. This will make a *huge* difference in some decision processes...

But a massive growth in 2011? By no means. I disagree with you, Hamlet, SL has attracted pretty much everybody who likes user-generated content, social virtual worlds, plus or minus 10%. Those 10% are the "negativists" and the ones tired of the lack of performance of SL or of LL's whims and bad PR. So, my best, most optimistic prediction would be a 10% growth in 2011; the worst-case scenario would be a 10% contraction; in either case, it won't substantially make a huge difference.

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