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Friday, March 16, 2012

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Vivienne Daguerre

What I like is that they are giving us tools to shape our own experience. I cannot wait for pathfinding and Linden Realm tools to go mainstream. They will make it possible to create many types of game experience, limited only by imagination. SL Residents have proven themselves to be very creative.

What makes SL stand out is that they place the creativity in our hands. I don't ever want to see that change. That is what keeps me in SL.

Ezra

Game companies have artists, musicians, writers and designers to craft content for their games. Activision, Blizzard, Zynga and any other namedropped game company isn't in the business of creating platforms that content creators produce the entirity of content ontop of.

Second Life is a platform where 99.9999% of the content is created by users. Some of that content is meant for gaming, but a majority of it isn't. Of the 30,000 regions there are, most have jack to do with gaming. The most active ones have nothing to do with gaming as evidenced by the charts this blog posts every month.

The definition of what a 'game' is doesn't have to be diluted to meaninglessly include everything from a casual conversation to spending real money just to have something to call Second Life. It isn't ambiguous what Second Life is, it's a platform. We build ontop of it. Each sim is what we make it, games and things not games. Simple as that.

Hamlet Au

"Game companies have artists, musicians, writers and designers to craft content for their games"

Linden Lab also has artists, writers (I was once one of them), and designers.

By comparison, game development studio Mojang, creator of Minecraft and one of the most successful indie studios out there, doesn't really have a designer in the traditional sense, because the game is so open-ended, and most of the world content is procedurally generated. (So no writer needed, either.) It didn't have an artist until relatively recently, that's why it looks so fricking blockie.

(Most game companies *don't* have musicians, by the way, they contract them out.)

SimonLeo

Are you aware that the current CEO of SL comes from the game industry?


About SL being a game:

The key components of a game are goals. SL has none other than the ones you create for yourself(just like RL) so it is NOT a game.

Unless you see RL as a game which some people do.

Ananda Sandgrain

I'll leave aside the question of whether SL is a game, it's not really the important thing here.

But I absolutely agree that a gaming company, with its eyes on presenting a fun experience to average users is far better suited to providing a good virtual world than, say, a company intent on making some sort of virtual conferencing product.

Hamlet Au

That's a very good way of putting it. And yes, it's not as important whether or not SL is a game; what's far more important is that most users *treat* it as such, in various ways. As Ms. Catnap said.

William Gide

That's a remarkably vicious phrasing of the argument that SL is a game. None of which — except for the prims, perhaps — has anything to do with what I do in SL. Which is further barely relevant to the question of whether a game company owning SL will be good or bad for it. At the very least, some of the big game companies are used to dealing with the social and community sides of their games, and that skill may translate very neatly to whatever it is one thinks SL is. This can be argued without condescending assertions that SL is something I barely recognize.

Ezra

@Hamlet

Linden Lab once paying you to blog doesn't make it a game company, sorry.

We the users create Second Life. Its a platform that differs from region to region, and there's room for those that want to create games of their regions and room for those that want to host art installations or classrooms or music venues or all the other things that actually compose Second Life different from games.

IdontKnowitAll

The only time I have heard people refer to SL as a game is when I am standing around infohubs talking to people and the newbs scream steadily "I don't understand this game!". Maybe because it isn't one?

Sure there are game-like aspects in role play and perhaps with Linden Realms, although marginally in my opinion. But as far as being a full fledged game, it never has felt like a game in the 5 or so years I've been traversing it.

Dressing up your avatar and socializing is not game-like. It's socializing and dressing up your avatar.

I know this Pussycat person has lots of opinions on things-I've seen the comments- but on this one , she misses the mark completely.

Orca Flotta

SL isn't a game. It's a virtual world. That concept is obviously too scary for most, even for hardcore SL residents. Particularly since the definition of a virtual world eludes most of us.
Of course when I log in I "play" SL in lack of a better term but I don't play a game. I'm doing "my shit" which has nothing to do with gaming.
In fact for the most feeble minded people everything needs to be categorized and filed away under a certain level. And as far as software products go virtual worlds are most closely connected to online games. But what defines a game? This is much more easy to explain than a virtual world; a game mostly has a goal, it has levels, it has tasks, or quests or how you call it. SL is nothing like that. In fact if it were most of us wouldn't be here.
Why? Because as a game it's super lame. Because for a game it needs too many skills and doesn't offer any quick rewards. For a game the graphics are sub par, for a game it allows too much freedom and straying off course.

About Mrs Catnap: she's a very prolific forumist and blogger and often in the middle of the most heated discussions. She has a name for being very sharp minded and opinionated; and while that's quite nice it also carries the risk of being wrong every so often.

Deltango Vale

Second Life is not a game any more than Paris, Hong Kong or Brazil are games. People play games in Paris, Hong Kong and Brazil, but Paris, Hong Kong and Brazil are not games. Second Life will continue to stagnate as long as it is treated as 1) Disneyland, 2) 3D Facebook or 3) a game. Second Life (or, more likely, its successor) will only succeed when it is treated as a virtual world, a virtual country, a virtual political economy - a virtual Paris, Hong Kong or Brazil.

Ann Otoole InSL

LL can run SL just fine. LL might need some restructuring of staff/management. Since I don't work there this is simple speculation. rodvik has been there long enough to be making any needed changes.

But a game company? Not sure that would result in anything other than a report to the execs it is impossible to understand how the thing works (because they don't code using Magic++.net) and short of a total rewrite the most cost effective thing to do is delete SL and use the hardware for a game which they do understand and is in their comfort zone.

Again, pure speculation. One would have to work at LL to understand why some conditions exist.

Hamlet Au

"room for those that want to host art installations or classrooms or music venues or all the other things that actually compose Second Life different from games."

Many schools use World of Warcraft in their curriculum, LOTRO has tools so users can perform live music for each other, and many MMO users have conducted live theatrical performances for each other. Can you think of an example in which SL is truly different from these and other games?

Osprey

I've always wanted LL to understand that SL is a place, not a product. Any number of things go on, and people involved in A, B, or C may never cross paths; their surroundings as well as their activities may be entirely different. There is no shared baseline experience as there is in any other virtual world.

WoW users all know WoW when they see it. They know the game and they know its places. SL and its users deal with the infinite variety of life.

Shug Maitland

I understand what you and Pussycat are saying but
--- the difference in SL is that LL provides a framework, a set of tools, we decide what "game" we want to play and how we want to play it. In the world of computer gaming that is pretty unique, you will find elements of that in other games (the sims?); in SL it reaches the fullest expression I know of.

Orca Flotta

Zacly, Osprey. I think SL isn't even a virtual world; it is various virtual worlds. Many players only know their little part of SL, their sims, their activities. They almost never cross paths. Nobody in SL can claim they "know" SL. SL isn't based on the same geography or on the same timeline. Some residents spend most their time in victorian sims, others in postapocalyptic sims, others in space, others are travelling the whole grid, others do just shopping and dressing up, others run businesses and spend all their time either building or in their shops.
There is no common ground, no common wisdom, no shared experience for all residents.

And although it's nice that I could perform live music in WoW, I know exactly that my audience consists of barbarian warriors. They are all in the same game. In SL we aren't.

And for me, although I'm playing in SL I'm definately not gaming!

Ezra

@Hamlet

"Many schools use World of Warcraft in their curriculum, LOTRO has tools so users can perform live music for each other, and many MMO users have conducted live theatrical performances for each other. Can you think of an example in which SL is truly different from these and other games?"

WoW isn't a platform that you can build games ontop of, it's already a game. Second Life is a platform upon which we can build games, from WoW clones to flight simulators. And please, don't tell me just because you can fly dragons in WoW it can be a flight simulator; you can't add original programming, art, sound, dialogue and other game assets.

And the same with LOTRO; its a game with Turbine provided modeled instruments that fires off provided sound files as notes. This is something you don't get when you start Second Life but if you wanted, you could upload models and sounds and script similar functionality. Or you could use Shared Media on a prim to stream live video and sound into Second Life of an actual live music performance. Again, Second Life is a platform you can build game-type stuff ontop of or do more serious non-game related applications.

You can go on forever naming game mechanics that can be replicated in SL if someone chose to create them, but the fact remains that Second Life has no inherent gameplay. You can take the Pussycat approach and try to demean things like L$ as little more than gameplay mechanics, but I dare you, take that stance and believe you can open say, a Zynga Poker using L$ as the gambling currency and see just how much Linden Lab agrees with you that its just a game.

There's no need to frustrate yourself trying to convince everyone Second Life is just 1 thing; be it a game, music venue, chat program, virtual classroom, product prototype environment or any single one other thing. It's a platform all those things and more can be built ontop of.

And the thing is you're 100% aware of this. I find it telling that you find it necessary to bring up LOTRO and WoW as proof of any argument that Second Life is a game, when your blog posts are usually about topics like Bryn's art museum or that space shuttle recreation museum; non-game related content in Second Life that you can't find in games like WoW or LOTRO.

You actually don't blog about gaming in SL much at all. infact you just dismissed Mass Effect armor in SL as little more than parody. How do your arguments in those posts about that whole situation hold up if Iris is 'gaming' in her N7 armor rather than cosplaying as she described it? Come on. Your entire blog is counter-evidence to these occasional randomly insistences that Second Life is just a game.

Dizzy Banjo

Whoa, seems like Hamlet and Pussycat have busted open a can of 'IS IT A GAME' discussion rather than a dialogue about the more interesting point - "should Linden Lab manage the experience in a game design like way?"

I would say that even though SL has many characteristics that are not like a game at all - the world of SL does contain UGC games ( and LR ).

I think providing tools for creators within SL to manage those games much better is a great start. The pathfinding and HUD stuff is just a small start along this path.

However the entire experience of SL, game or not, could benefit from much more careful and motivational user experience design.

I dont think this design would necessarily have to be making it more game like. I hope that Rod and the current Linden staff will learn from all the great ways many different types of games guide new users through the experience. However I think this alone wont deal with new user drop off, I think the performance of the architecture itself is a fundamental problem relative to general user expectations of 3d content.

Alazarin

Second Life is a virtual world. I lean more towards Orca and Deltango's views. You can certainly play games in SL. Many do just that and there are many game-oriented communities in SL. But as in RL, you can do much more besides. SL may look a bit clunky in comparison to professional MMO's because the content in SL is user-generated mostly by amateurs and hobbyists, an aspect that makes SL quite unique.

Joey1058

It's becoming an argument of not "if" but "when" LL will incorporate gaming methods into SL. I'm just hoping that they don't run it like Electronic Arts does their titles. After something drops below a certain percentage, they have no qualms about taking it offline. And right now, Zinga's methods of income are too lucrative to ignore in favor of the user base. Not "residents". Not "content creators". Not "in world businesses". We're a user base. Users equal numbers. Numbers equal eyeballs. Eyeballs equal investors. Investors equal cash. Cash makes server farms operate. And so on.

Metacam Oh

I never understand this obsession with classifying Second Life. SL is not a game, you rez in the world without a point. It can be used as a game platform, but it can be used for all sorts of uses. Its a platform, a world. If you use it for gaming it doesnt mean it is in itself, a game. If you think SL is a game then you are severely lacking in imagination of other uses.

Srass

It's a dessert topping! It's a floor wax!

The fact that this debate even exists is very telling. Anyone who claimed that World of Warcraft wasn't a game would be seen as every bit as crazy as someone who tried to insist that IRC was a game. There aren't too many more things out there that are so ambiguous.

I'm personally with the "it's a platform" crowd. It's not a game, it's *some* games, and it's a social place as well. With the advent of the new game-oriented tools, it's become obvious to me that the gaming potential of SL has been neglected for a while, and fortunately, they're working on this. There are indeed games on SL, and they're fun, but they are relatively primitive by modern standards.

But I would argue that a company focused on thinking of SL as a game platform to the exclusion of its social potential would do just as much damage as neglecting the gaming potential has done. SL does need a more game-focused company to run it, but not just *any* game company. A lot of them out there would just not get it.

Both the gaming and non-gaming aspects of SL need to be nurtured. This combination is one of the things that make it unique.

Ezra

Linden Lab has kept Second Life running for almost 10 years now (or longer?). Second Life is profitable, stable in that uptime seems to be 99% and some 9s of decimal spaces, and secure in the sense none of us go to bed wondering if our L$, prims and land will still be present and of value the next day. The company is independent and not seeking an IPO, or any other one time liquidity event which has become hallmark of Silicon Valley companies nowadays.

There's a lot to be impressed about with Linden Lab and a lot of reasons not to want any other company running Second Life. Forget the "failure to go mass market" crap, its synonymous with success of finding a defined, niche market, which any sensible business knows the value of.

Not every company on the internet can or should be pursuing users in the tens and hundreds of millions, forsaking everything including profit, longevity and stability for metrics good for nothing except blogging about and ballooning prospects of acquisition and large IPO.

Linden Lab is of good focus right now. They still make a lot of missteps but at least they're a profitable, stable, product-focused company beholden to no parent company or distractions like making it on TechCrunch. There's VCs and a board but any that'd let Rod place Will Wright on the board seems a-ok to me.

Henri Beauchamp

SL is not a video game because:
* There is no goal.
* There is no preset scenario.
* There is no hard-coded rules that would prevent your avatar to perform certain actions in certain circumstances (no gaming rules).
* There is no pre-determined paths your avatar would have to go through to progress in the game.
* There is no such things as characteristics (strength, intelligence, charisma, etc for avatars, physics limitations for vehicles depending on their type, etc...).
* There is no score neither any competition between "players" (residents), neither any "level" system.

and the list goes on and on...

SL is a 3D virtual *world*, not a game. However, you can (and most do) play in SL, and you can even create a video game-like experience within SL (like what happens in RPG sims).

Seymore Steamweaver

Life's a game. Second Life, doubly so.

Pussycat Catnap

I always find it funny that people, as soon as they take their hobby seriously, desperately want labels they thing make it trivial removed from them.

You can find gamblers and athletes that will decry what they do is not a game. I've seen D&D folks claim its not a game. I've seen others claim anything less than D&D is not a game (Henri's post, where he wants to label a game as only things super-structured).

"SL is srs bsns" is the mantra of too many SLers. So they are desperate to not seem trivial. When the reality I would wager is that we need to stop decrying that a game is trivial.

Spend 5 minutes mentioning SL to a series of random people on the street, and I suspect the majority will come back seeing it as a game.

If its not a game, neither is any of the things you play on Facebook.

BUT, even if not a game, so much of it is so similar, that a game company is still the ideal organization to run it.

All about community - and that's what game companies do best. Being as I'm actually sitting in Vegas as I type this, and looking at those Casinos - they manage to handle community for their 'game product' amazingly well.

All about understanding letting people have their play space to make their dreams come true.

Games and game companies are not about structured rules, but social and community play or relaxation. Some folks work in SL, but I would wager the majority socialize and relax.

Oh, and nice choice of photo from my stream - a recent one I'm fond of. :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6964404335/in/photostream

Pussycat Catnap

"I understand what you and Pussycat are saying but
--- the difference in SL is that LL provides a framework, a set of tools, we decide what "game" we want to play and how we want to play it. In the world of computer gaming that is pretty unique, you will find elements of that in other games (the sims?); in SL it reaches the fullest expression I know of."

But is that not all the more reason why an organization that 'gets it' with the value of those tools and how they are being used by the majority of the users should be managing things? i.e., a game company?

It seems LLs partly agrees here, they got themselves a game company CEO. That's very much a 'rather than sell ourselves off, lets change enough to thrive' answer. My criticism of them then lies in that they only seem to have done this transformation at a surface level - they still don't seem to understand game-community development.

Look up the old MUSHes from the 80s and pre-web 90s. SL is nothing but a MUSH with pictures.

The only difference between a MUSH and its cousin MUD, was that one had critters to kill, and the other was people sexting. LPMUD made this even more obvious, when it provided the tools for the players to make their own critters and places full of them to wander off and kill.

People who think SL is original should go back and play those things, if you can find them.

It'll make it that much more obvious the line between SL/Farmville/YoVille and an MMO.

Pussycat Catnap

"This can be argued without condescending assertions that SL is something I barely recognize."

I always wonder why people find the label of 'game' condescending.

To me, and if you want to understand where I come from with that post - its a great compliment to be a game. Its a way of saying you have a product for enjoyment, fulfilling dreams, providing escapism, letting people be their real inner selves - if you ever played with dolls, this is what you do. And SL is playing with dolls for the majority of its users. Look at all the fashion blogs. :)

Being a game, that's good. Not condescending.

Modern times have moved beyond the idea that games are for kids.

Ezra

Pussycat, no one trivialized games. You shouldn't find it so offensive that Second Life is inclusive of more than just game building and playing. If all you do personally in Second Life is game, fine, but using Second Life comes with an understanding that no one has to use it the exact same way as you.

Even if your argument was an equally off-base "Second Life is an mp3 player", just because some sims are entirely devoted to music events and streams, you'd still be selling the platform short and failing at describing what Second Life is at its most basic for all users; a platform to build and experience whatever the tools will allow.

Defining Second Life for others not you and mocking while doing so is unnecessary. It shouldn't matter if a fellow user considers Second Life "srs bsns", as you put it, some beautiful things come from the "srs bsns" like the hundreds of thousands pulled in every year for different charities, and memorials like the one for VA Tech shooting victims.

Recognizing that Second Life is a platform we build ontop of isn't at conflict with the reality that some gaming goes on within it. Believing Second Life is just a game however is at conflict with the reality that users are doing a lot more than just gaming.

Second Life as a platform is a simpler idea to push, Second Life as a game requires inflating the definition of 'game' to the point its a worthless word. If anything trivializes what a game is, its a dismissive attitude towards all the common traits Henri listed off.

Shockwave Yareach

I think a better definition can be created here. Since so many people get hung up on word "game", let's try again to explain what SL is and is not without using that particular word.

Most people use Second Life for RECREATIONAL and SOCIAL activities.

Whatever you care to describe SL as being -- game or platform or floorwax -- the overall usage of the system is for recreation and socialization. Not business. Not research. Not education. Not small scale emulation of the economy of Budapest. Recreation.

SL is, in my opinion, similar to a cable system. It is many different things, depending on where you go to and what you are looking for. There are games here; some even have goals and objectives, though that's a rather simplestic definition. There are ways to interact and visit with folks, throwing vast distances between friends aside. There are serious applications, business applications, artistic uses. Just like a cable system with its variety of channels and subjects.

You can no more say that cable is simply about Oprah than you can say that SL is simply about games. But SL and Cable TV are much alike in that even though a business aspect exists in the creation of the content in order to make money, the wide mass audience which consumes said content is present SOLELY to enjoy themselves.

ReneErlanger

Ask Ahnse Chung when investing 100's of thousands of USD in purchasing Sims...whether it was just in a Game!

William Gide

@Pussycat:

"I always wonder why people find the label of 'game' condescending."

That's not what I found condescending. I'm not particularly worried if SL counts as a "game" or a platform or whatever. What I was objecting to is your sly rhetorical identification of the "not a game!" crowd as 40-something drama queens who maybe need to grow up.

Osprey

I think sometimes we rail against those who like to classify SL as a video game because that makes it sound like something about which LL can make decisions with no responsibility for anything but the bottom line. Having created a world and invited us to buy in to the concept of spending part of our lives inside it, LL has gone beyond making a trivial activity and instead made a unique place. Indeed they should watch their bottom line but there is much else that needs consideration, too.
As far as the bickering goes, I think some people enjoy arguing, others try to trivialise something that has hurt them,some wish to have the activity sound important, and still others label the whole shebang by their own experiences and needs.

Orca Flotta

Seymour mused:
Life's a game. Second Life, doubly so.
-----------------

Sorry but that easily falls into the top ten of the most stupid things I've ever heard.

Wanna tell the starving kids in Africa or mistreated women in Afghanistan or Saudi-Arabia, or jobless automotive workers in Detroit or the earthquake victims in Japan that life's just a game?
Wanna tell a crack baby life's just a game? Or tell his mother?

Compared to RL SL is indeed a game, child's play; compared to real online games it isn't!

WING

CHAT ROOM/THE SIMS/SANDBOX/MINI GAMES

When i think of SL this is what i picture.

a chat room is not a game but found in games.
The sims is a game.
a sandbox is not a game
mini games well are games.

seems like SL is more like the PC or say PS3 you put your game into.

some sorta virtual platform. This does not mean how ever that its not relying on key game like components.

maybe SL is a tool
maybe its a game
maybe its a business

you cant define SL as anyone thing
for some reason i picture mario running across the ground all the holes removed and enemies too. There is no end to the level either. could u call it a game without the goal there?

Arcadia Codesmith

A virtual world is a virtual world. Ultima Online is a virtual world. LegendMud is a virtual world. World of Warcraft is a virtual world. The Old Republic is a virtual world. And Second Life is a virtual world.

Within the category of virtual worlds, we have a continuum, an axis that runs from "sandbox" on one end to "theme park" on the other, depending on how directed the experience is.

Second Life is the ultimate sandbox. The player is presented a blank slate and challenged to make something of it. You don't have to make anything of it; you can spend your whole virtual existance seeing what other people have done with their blank slates. But the whole of the game is player-directed.

On the other side of the spectrum are game worlds like World of Warcraft, where the world is pre-built, player content is strongly constrained, and the path you are expected to take is painted in florescent pink and lined with signs saying "this way to the next quest".

In the middle are games with both elements. City of Heroes and Star Trek Online both have editors that allow players to craft their own questlines. Minecraft and Wurm Online give you great flexibility in building and manipulating terrain. Ultima Online allows you to create a wide variety of structures (there is a McDonalds clone on the Baja shard).

So even through Second Life is at the far end of the sandbox scale, it is unquestionably within the same category as all the others. Whether you want to call them "games" or "virtual worlds" or "rutabegas" is hugely immaterial.

Now, all that aside; most gaming companies, especially those on the theme park side of the scale, don't have a single bloody clue about how to build a functional user community. They don't know the difference between a community and a raiding guild. The true communities that exist around a game like World of Warcraft arise despite the developers, not because of them.

The more sandboxy a game is, the more control players have over creation and placement of venues, towns, cities and nations, the more likely you're going to get a strong, dynamic and deeply invested player community. Games that don't allow players to build and create are digging their own graves.

Damia Silvercloud

http://ius.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2gcc0EXgI50ESck

Anyone who is a Second Life player, age 18 or older is invited to take my Second Life survey. This is for a psychology class and there is no personal information collected. Thanx :)

Pussycat Catnap

"What I was objecting to is your sly rhetorical identification of the "not a game!" crowd as 40-something drama queens who maybe need to grow up."

Log in to SL sometime, and go read random profiles all over the social hubs of the grid.

That kind of profile is not made up, and is very common. Right down to the misspellings of the 'b' word, and the "I'm so tough" stuff.

If you find it condescending that people use SL for that kind of play, don't push that on me. :)
- Like it or not, that is exactly the sort of RP that is a very heavy use for SL.

And it drives a -LOT- of fashion and SL home sales.

Pussycat Catnap

"Ask Ahnse Chung when investing 100's of thousands of USD in purchasing Sims...whether it was just in a Game!"

So, because Blizzard makes millions off of World of Warcraft, that is not a game? :)

SL is social play with cartoon dolls, and people logging in with cartoon dolls who make toys to use with those cartoons.

Game companies run communities. SL is a Community.

While we can argue about definitions forever - the important part of all of this is that bit about who can best run communities.

And I will disagree with a few above posters there - game companies -ARE- in the business of running communities and the best of them thrive precisely because they manage their communities well.

William Gide

@Pussycat

"Log in to SL sometime, and go read random profiles all over the social hubs of the grid."

So? It doesn't matter. The question is, "is SL a game?" After your somewhat impressionistic riff on the idea, you move on to mock the idea because of some group of people that apparently hold the idea. There's a nice, old label for this style of argument — ad hominem.

Hamlet Au

"So even through Second Life is at the far end of the sandbox scale, it is unquestionably within the same category as all the others. Whether you want to call them 'games' or 'virtual worlds' or 'rutabegas' is hugely immaterial."

That's a good way of putting it, Arcadia. My concern is when people insist that Second Life is in a *totally different category* than games, even though some games have *all* the features of SL, and no one can come up with a true uniquely distinguishing feature. SL is not even the only open-ended sandbox game without over-arching rules.

Also, most people here missed the fine distinction Ms. Catnap made: SL is treated *as a game* by most SL users. That's a different argument from saying SL itself is a game.

Arcadia Codesmith

If there were an existing studio or company equipped to deal with a property like Second Life, they would already have a property like Second Life.

Instead, we've got a series of failed SL-like projects that folded because the major (and minor) studios just didn't "get it". All of them excluded or delayed aspects of SL that they found problematic, only to find that those aspects were more important to the whole experience than they'd imagined.

It's not impossible that somebody else could do it, but it's unlikely that any of the established players would be willing to take the risk... and less likely I'd trust them to undertake it without messing it up beyond all recognition.

Ezra

"Also, most people here missed the fine distinction Ms. Catnap made: SL is treated *as a game* by most SL users. That's a different argument from saying SL itself is a game."

Where's the proof "SL is treated as a game by most SL users"? Just declaring as much doesn't make it so. Infact that interview with Rod Humble you linked recently states:

"At present, creation is the third most popular activity behind socialising and listening to music in the various bars and nightclubs"

Gaming isn't even a top 3 activity, evidenced by statements such as this and the top 50 sims you post every now and then.

Of course you can make the meaning of the word 'game' less meaningful by stripping it of common traits such pursuing objectives and chasing win conditions, and say socializing and music listening alone somehow counts as gaming, but then the word becomes useful to describe Skype and Spotify as well. The word 'game' becomes pretty useless.


"My concern is when people insist that Second Life is in a *totally different category* than games, even though some games have *all* the features of SL, and no one can come up with a true uniquely distinguishing feature. SL is not even the only open-ended sandbox game without over-arching rules."

Name one 'game' where 99% of the textures, sounds and geometry are user-imported and not created by the company behind the product.

Second Life is a sandbox in the sense everyone brings their own granules, or otherwise there'd be no sand. Usually when something is called a sandbox, like Minecraft, the expectation is that everything one needs to create is already there. This would be true of Second Life if it was entirely ruth avatars and basic prim geometry either opaquely colored or textured with Linden provided textures. Of course that isn't the Second Life we know however. The one we know is but a platform most assets are imported into so all sorts of sims can be built for a variety of purposes; gaming and other.

Trace

"even though some games have *all* the features of SL"

I don't know any other game that I can cash out rl money every week?

shockwave yareach

@Trace - it's easy to find people auctioning off Mega weapons in WoW for real money. Just look around some. All that's missing is that the person didn't make the sword or whatever himself.

Hamlet Au

Yes, exactly. IMVU also has a cash-out option for content creators, for example.

Ezra, when people socialize in SL, they're doing so through avatars, which requires that they engage in some level of roleplaying (pretending to be another person, usually stylized or fanciful, in an alternate, fantastic world), which is a kind of game, and when people listen to music in SL, they're also doing so through avatars (pretending to be another person, usually stylized or fanciful, in an alternate fantastic world), which is also a kind of game.

Ezra

"Ezra, when people socialize in SL, they're doing so through avatars, which requires that they engage in some level of roleplaying (pretending to be another person, usually stylized or fanciful, in an alternate, fantastic world)"

So you pretend to be another person when you're logged into Second Life as Hamlet? You aren't infact...yourself? If that's how Second Life is to you, more power to you, but myself and everyone I know in Second Life don't communicate through proxy identities. We're the same to each other in Second Life as we are on Skype.

In my opinion, a 3D avatar is no more significant a separate embodiment of one's self than a text handle or username is. In fact, a lot of us are a lot more close with our pseudonyms and nicknames online than we are our Second Life avatars, but that doesn't mean we're roleplaying.

I'm betting Wagner was Hamlet before Hamlet was an avatar for example. If not, I bet if Second Life ended tomorrow 'Hamlet' would still exist without 3D avatar. And I highly doubt communicating with you in world comes with the condition that just because you're in Second Life, you're pretending and gaming so no one should make the mistake that they're speaking to Wagner.

I understand some people do immerse themselves greatly in Second Life for escapism. Some people do take their Second Life tab much more serious than their First Life tab, but I don't think we should throw around "most" and "many" while ignoring our own usage of Second Life. You've found ways to use Second Life that differ from gaming; you're chiefly a blogger on in-world matters. That's a usage that neither exceeds or is inferior to gaming, but is different. Have the benefit of the doubt that of the 50,000 connected at a time, more than you have figured out how to use Second Life for purposes other than pretending to be someone else and gaming.

Ann Otoole InSL

I have said this before and will say it again.

Secondlife is entertainment. Secondlife is Earth's largest stage with an international show running 24*7 for nearly a decade. Everyone in SL is an actor playing their chosen role.

Trace

@shockwave on a weekly basis though? I was meaning cashing out regularly.

@Hamlet. That's good to know! I'm not sure that I agree IMVU is a game (although you can play it as a game I guess). I would say it's an embellished chat room, Skype with pictures would not make Skype a game.

Hamlet Au

"[A] 3D avatar is no more significant a separate embodiment of one's self than a text handle or username is."

It's actually been proven scientifically that that's *not* the case -- in fact, controlling an idealized avatar changes one's behavior. That's one of the things that makes Second Life and other virtual world/game experiences special and quite different from Facebook/Skype/etc. Check it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_effect

RobsterRawb Jaxxon

Given everything in sl is made users its a sandbox platform, I mean a platform sandbox, I mean a platform with sandboxes! Regardless im excited to see linden lab working on tools for creators to make tangilble things to do icn secondlife! I cant wait too see what we can do for simball with this!

Cindy Bolero


Secondlife and and other virtual worlds are the 3D WWW. Plain and simple!

We are doing the same things we've done with the 2D Web, only with more spatiality and pseudo face time. And for now, its the ultimate and most affordable collaboration platform for education, corporations, science, technology research, health management support, etc.

A game? hardly. There may be games inside SL, but gosh, in five years as an avatar, the only games I've been involved in, or hosted on were "events". Like rodeos, poker runs, and Easter basket hunts.

Yes we have RP on our sims too, but those are real life firefighters sharing their knowledge and experience with real life first responder students and other people who can use the acquired skills in real life.

And the RL/SL conferences and events I support? I could go on and on about the significance of adding a virtual component to a large-scale real life event.

My RL multicamera video crew has produced or supported many mixed reality conferences and events streamed LIVE to Secondlife. Besides streaming from real life nightclubs, meeting rooms and homes, we've streamed NASA conferences, The Tech Museum gallery launches, A California motorcycle rally, an California air show, just to name a few.

Do I use SL to hang out with friends, go shopping, roleplay, or date and dance? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I log in and work on ongoing projects every day supporting many other attemping or succeeding at practical use of virtual worlds.

Game schmame. Look around. Barbies, social circles, and RPers are not the only thing going on in Secondlife.

Grendel Footman

i don't get why some people act offended when SL is called a game, it is a game, even if there's no set defined goals, there's no set defined goals outside 'survive' with minecraft, and that's a game. you want to build moria? go for it, want to build a working computer out of blocks of TNT? it's there, want to just roam and kill skeletons? do it. SL is the same way

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