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Monday, October 08, 2018


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This isn't a mystery at all.

SANSAR misses the point of social virtual worlds, and flies in the face of open world persistent spaces like Second Life in favor of localized spaces that focus on form over function. The overarching mechanic of this approach has been done to death and constantly flopped:

Worlds Inc
and many others

There is an underlying set of "givens" when dealing with this stuff, mostly derived from even the moderate and persistent successes of predecessors. Historically speaking there is plenty of precedent for this stagnation, but nobody wants to acknowledge it; Instead plowing ahead and constantly trying to dictate to the market what it wants so long as it's whatever it is these projects are offering while wholesale ignoring both history and precedent in the industry for what actually worked. Ultimately, it is entirely a tone deaf approach to virtual worlds on the whole.

It's the same reason that, despite smugly asking whether a vast, persistent, and contiguous open world model is something that the "market" wants, places like High Fidelity resort to effectively trying to bribe users to log in just to help them stress test their servers (Gift Cards) and still don't see those bigger numbers or interest.

So we have to ask the obvious question: Do we believe somebody's assertion that they are building a "true metaverse" and knows what the market wants when they have demonstrated in their own legacy a penchant for decidedly *not* knowing what the market wanted and failing to anticipate the needs/wants? To the alarming point whereby they are no longer the CEO of the company they founded and have moved on to another similar project assuring the public they know what they are doing this time and to entirely suspend disbelief because "Hey, it's me, Philip Rosedale... "

Similarly, while Ebbe is likely a wonderful individual and keen businessman (he seemed really nice when I met him), I am not entirely certain he knows what the market wants either, as evidenced with external focus on SANSAR and quietly keeping SL on life support.

Which, of course could be attributed to Rodvick "I worked at EA so clearly Linden Lab should be a video game company" Humble, and the legacy left behind to clean up after *his* departure.

As a juxtaposition, you see things like Dual Universe in pre-alpha where thousands of people are *paying them* to get in with an account to help them stress test.

When asked "who would possibly want such a contiguous universe?", I can answer that with a few numbers you can get off of Marketplace in SL.

Search for "Car" - 36954 matching items found.
Search for "Truck" - 20837 matching items found.
Search for "Airplane" - 6025 matching items found.
Search for "Ship" - 11812 matching items found.
Search for "Submarine" - 782 matching items found.
Search for "Motorcycle" - 27524 matching items found.
Search for "Space Ship" - 4190 matching items found.

There seems to be a massive market and precedence for wanting and needing a contiguous open space in which such vehicles become relevant and not just for show or highly constrained use. It's blatantly obvious what people want...

Sure these spaces look good, but it's not organic in any way. Users see it as a clinical experience at best, highly sanitized and pre-made.

Understanding what went right with Second Life, and addressing what went wrong (and understanding why) are the steps needed to move forward. Otherwise, all of these projects are just talking a big game in an echo chamber, while repeating history and willfully ignorant to that "market" they so love to pretend exists to justify their spectacularly lackluster forays into the industry.

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Wagner James Au
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