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Friday, June 10, 2011


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Hiya Hamlet,

I agree with you here, "To succeed, SL must be less about having a "second life", and more about the fun and games to be had by people who are largely happy about who they already are." Perhaps SL is a media for young people to explore their identities, I don't see much of that in the places I frequent.

But it's more than fun and games, it's about the tool to imagine, create, and share spaces. It's a media to meet friends from all over the world in spaces that are as familiar as the local pub where joking and conversation are easy to find.

...and BTW, I am over 40 and HATE Farmville, and mostly turned off to Facebook for that kind of stuff.

Just tossing my 2 cents in.

Dizzy Banjo

I think the identity exploration side of virtual worlds is a fascinating feature, but I agree it is generally only desirable to a niche user group. I think identity exploration has definitely served SL well as a source of traffic over its lifetime.

From what I've heard, Hunter Walk was and is a great thinker, when he was part of Linden but also in his other projects afterwards - but maybe his legacy, in naming Second Life - hasn't been entirely positive in this case...

Hamlet Au

I've been wanting to ask Hunter about that!

Dale Innis

In response, I'll say this: To succeed, SL must be less about the kind of vapid "fun and games" that are already oversupplied by Farmville and friends, and more about exploring deeper and more fulfilling (if often still very "fun") aspects of life (whether "first" or "second").

There! We've both made strong sweeping statements backed up by no particular data. Watch the web hits rolls in!


I have to wonder about the notion that adults don't need identity exploration - that doesn't really make sense to me, based on most of the adults I've known in my life. There may be truth to the idea that some people are better at accepting what life gives them than others, and stop trying to understand themselves. More likely, though, is that virtual worlds are just not good places for career-minded identity making for most people, as mentioned in your previous threads about why *young* adults aren't going for it.

Ciaran Laval

Second Life doesn't need to lessen being about having a Second Life, users themselves can do that, indeed they do that when they're comfortable about it, which is what makes it stand out from the concept of Facebook where users are encouraged to reveal details in a way that isn't in the natural instinct of humans.

That conversations transpire in Second Life is not a surprise, I can stand around having conversations too, I can also be teleported somewhere and shown something new.

However it all boils down to what you do when you go to a place eventually, and whether that is enough to keep you returning, and that's an issue in RL as well as virtual worlds, I no longer frequent the pubs I did as a twentysomething, they are no longer appealing to me, but I do still frequent pubs.

The future of virtual worlds will about extended choice.

Senban Babii

Sorry Hamlet but Raph is attempting to dumb down the nature of a virtual world so that it appeals to the consumer cattle. He tried it with Metaplace and it failed hard and given that, his opinions as they relate to this should be taken with a giant pinch of salt. He's missing too many key points because he's more interested in trying to tell people what he wants them to be instead of paying attention to what they actually are.

Just out of interest but does Raph actually engage with Second Life and other virtual spaces on a regular basis and over an extended period or is this largely etic theorising? Because no disrespect intended but my instinct tells me it's the latter.

Arcadia Codesmith

I think it's insulting and condescending to conclude that people who utilize pseudonymity are not happy about who they are. Frankly, it pisses me off more than a little.

Galatea Gynoid

"...more about the fun and games..."


Hamlet Au

"I think it's insulting and condescending to conclude that people who utilize pseudonymity are not happy about who they are."

That wasn't my conclusion, Arcadia. Given Second Life's growth plateau after enormous media coverage, however, I think it's fair to say everyone interested in SL because they like the idea of having a "second life" are already here.

"Sorry Hamlet but Raph is attempting to dumb down the nature of a virtual world so that it appeals to the consumer cattle."

Senban, that's an interesting if fairly uncivil way to describe trying to gain mass user growth. ("Cattle"? Seriously?) And I'm not sure it's productive to speak of "the nature of the virtual world" when the only one you seem to be speaking about is Second Life, which is actually only a mid-sized virtual world, is amid a growth plateau, and has an unsustainable revenue base.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

@Seban, I've some data. I've run over 100 students through assignments in SL in the past four years, and I supported two other courses with 50 students.

What Raph says echoes what nearly every undergrad has told me about SL: make it and other time-consuming worlds such as WoW or Eve casual fun and less an "escape from your RL" if companies want more of them to stick around.

My explanation that SL does not require a ton of time goes nowhere. Maybe it's different on campuses with more gamers, but my students all report putting aside "serious" games in their teens, to better groom themselves for college and the workplace.

shockwave yareach

Virtual Reality -- even poor ones -- will attract anyone who wants to be able to do something they ordinarily cannot. It will attract gamers, builders, people struggling with addiction, people who are physically to infirm to do things most take for granted... The only limits are those we put upon ourselves rather than letting mr. Koster put limits upon us.

If it's only for the young, then why do so many much older people with the enormous moneys to own islands reside in SL?

1angelcares Writer

What Shockwave said!

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