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Monday, November 04, 2019

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Medhue

Inworld building tools. Oh please! ROFL

I really don't think that is the issue.

Essence Lumin

All of those job offers seem to be for the Sansar group as they all begin with the statement:

Linden Lab, a pioneer in the creation of virtual worlds, is poised for the public launch of “Sansar”, a social virtual reality platform that will democratize the creation of VR experiences. Linden Lab has been in business since 2003 and is best known for “Second Life”, the world’s largest user-generated economy.

Wagner James Au

> All of those job offers seem to be for the Sansar group

Yes, though I'm told LL is still hiring for SL development. That should be reflected in the job board soon-ish.

Mondy

The last time I looked in the Sansar Discord chat the discussion was all about the focus being on gaming instead of exploration. I loved exploring Sansar and when they started making me log into the Nexus everytime and trying to make me do "Quests" that was the point I felt I no longer wanted to be there. Even if I went to my own space to try a new outfit for some privacy, I'd get returned back to the Nexus again immediately after! No thank you.

Clara Seller

This development seems to scream for some new blood at the top. Promote an interim CEO, from within, and use this time to think long and hard about what is going to bring sanity to the table.

This is about the least shocking news I can imagine. Finish the job.

Concerned Person

"Sansar has steadfastly refused to grow its user numbers"

Any reason you didn't use the more obvious (and accurate) "failed" as the verb here?

Ghelf

In other news, ski season is almost here!

Luther Weymann

I’m an old geezer now, retired for the past seven years. But for 28 years starting in 1985 with Apple applications and ending in 2013 with 900 employees and internet-based legal and law enforcement products, I owned three software companies. And yes, SecondLife has been a hobby of mine for 16 years now. So I know a little about the software business. With my success in the software business and also learning from making many bad decisions and mistakes in the software business, I have never understood why Linden Research with over forty-million registered users who have tried and used SecondLife decided to make Sansar. The complete rewrite of SecondLife and the reintroduction of SecondLife to the marketing list of current and former users would have been my choice. Or at least being in SecondLife and knowing you could teleport to the entrance of a portal that took your SecondLife avatar into a new world, a new product would have been perhaps an option. But the cash cow of SecondLife, the product that pays for everything seems like it has never had a full rewrite into something new, and that completely befuddles me. I can’t think of a successful software company with the main product not getting a complete rewrite or a considerable upgrade every 3-5 years. And by an update, I mean all those things we all complain about in SecondLife getting redone and made better major upgrade after significant upgrade. Forty million people have tried SecondLife. To me, that represented such a huge marketing opportunity that has now crossed a line I don’t think Linden Research can go back and redo. Why this happened the way it did, why SecondLife paid for everything but never became what it was capable of, why forty million sales prospects were left to blow in the wind, why decisions like these were made, I do not think we will ever know the answers. If the decision had been mine to make, Linden Research would have poured its Sansar financial capital into attempting to claw back 5% of those forty million former users with a brand new exciting SecondLife. That would have made the cash cow happy.

Joey1058

@Luther Weymann: My personal opinion is corporate greed. Keep the business small and manageable by top execs. If SL was allowed to run it's course naturally, with those 3 to 5 year upgrades, it would have grown to the point where LL would have to cede partial control to the SL employees and users. Default world metropolises have this same conundrum. Ever notice the way some describe themselves as "incorporated" on such and such a date? They're the ones who describe their structure honestly, at least. Cities would be wildly successful if they allowed more control to the citizens.

TD Gunner

I am sorry for those that lost their jobs. At least the job market is robust at this time; but still it is a hard shock and a big transition for those affected.

I think Sansar is a dead product and should just die. With hundreds of concurrent users it will not stand alone and survive. I will admit that I have not logged into it in 6 months so maybe there have been improvements but the reason I have not logged in is that my experience led me to conclude it was worthless and empty.

Let's face it Sansar was a major fail and Ebbie owns most of this.

Ai Austin

This was my wish list for the "new virtual world" before Sansar was launched... I think they did not do ANY of the things I would have expected... and certainly not the "travelling suitcase" to allow Second Life avatars to go over and visit r set up their initial home from home.

https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2014/08/04/wishlist-for-next-gen-virtual-world/

See
Migrate to the New World – Pack your Trunk
Travel to Other Virtual Spaces – Pack your Suitcase
People, People, People, …

irihapeti

the promise was that Sansar was going to be like Second Life but better

and it turn out to be nothing like Second Life. Whether Sansar is better or not better was never the issue. That it was going to like Second Life was the issue

i think spinning Sansar into another company, or spinning Second Life into its own company, is the way to go. Sansar and Second Life are not complementary products. They are competing products for the same audience. The business idea/strategy was that Sansar would cannabilise the Second Life user base, and from this userbase go on to a growth trajectory

which brings the problem/issue full circle. The cannabilisation never happened because Sansar is not like Second Life

Ebbe Linden has to own this I think. I also think that when a spinoff does occur then Ebbe should continue to lead Sansar, in whichever spinoff form it takes. A while ago, Hamlet, you did a interview with Ebbe. In the first part of the interview talking about Second Life, Ebbe's body language and vocals were defensive, non-committal and in some instances portrayed disinterest. When the interview moved to discussing Sansar, Ebbe's whole demeanour changed. He sparkled. Sansar is where he wants to be and I think the Linden board should let him

if I had to appoint a CEO for a Second Life only company then if was me I would appoint Oz Linden. And for the No.2 I would appoint Patch Linden. These two people love Second Life. They eat it, they sleep it, they dream it

vwfan

I think irihapeti is right. I too get the sense from Ebbe that he doesn't have the real passion for SL like others do. And hoping for SL users to make the move to Sansar... that alone suggests an attempt to find a way to cannibalize SL. Imagine the potential job losses that would come from that after role transitioning occurs. As irihapeti suggest, SL and Sansar should be split apart. Regardless of how you stir Sansar, it's currently using income gathered from SL that could be well spent back into SL.

If I had to pick a CEO for SL, I would find someone like Ton Roosendaal from Blender Foundation.

Theanine3D

@Luther Weymann - if your scenario had come to pass, Second Life would have ceased to exist. Because those "upgrades" you're asking for every 3-5 years would have broken past content. THAT is why Sansar exists. That is why LL had to create a clean slate. Because SL is their baby, their cash cow, and they couldn't risk pissing off their users by turning SL into something else entirely.

If SLers would just get over their blind premature hatred for Sansar they'd realize Sansar was actually what would have ensured SL's continued existence, not a threat to it. With Sansar, LL is able to experiment and break things as they need to without impacting or affecting the 2 decades worth of content in SL. It's not possible to upgrade SL in a meaningful way without breaking content. That's reality. It's an OLD engine, created in a very different era. Content creation methods, tools, and pipelines have changed significantly since. Retrofitting new tech into SL is not as easy as you make it sound.

Sansar was LL's method to avoid pissing off the SL userbase. Content breaking every few years would have caused people to leave in droves. SL would NOT have survived that, nor would have LL. Then neither SL, Sansar, or LL would exist today.

tankgirl

Don't you dare blame the SL community for this fuckup. They came to help, hoping for SL 2.0. But where lied too. No adult content, ridiculous control over what and how they could sell in the store, heavy censorship over what was allowed in slack and discord, trolls everywhere and no protection, a female avatar that looks like a little girl, 60% of our profits would go to LL, pure slave-driving, blatant abuse of artists. Because Ebbe wanted more important partners than that dirty SL community he hates so much. He wanted men like him, professional men, companies, spoiled rich white boys like his sons that could afford the VR gear. Ebbe created a horrible, sexist sick world where abuse was the norm. Ebbe is to blame. Ebbe and his old boys' network. He should go.

irihapeti

@vwfan - i think that the next CEO of Second Life when/if ever that was to happen should come from within the company. Since Philip left there have been 3 CEOs who came in from outside. All of them M, Rodvik and currently Ebbe were/are really good and capable people, who know their business stuff, and brought fresh eyes to the company. The issue I think was that the Linden board brought them in to discover a breakout big-leap moment for the company

i think a thing is that there is no breakout moment for Second Life. Its on a long curve of tiny incremental steps. And to do this then whats needed in a CEO, is that they are a grinder. To grind on the long curve requires someone with endless patience and determination, and who loves the world in and of itself for itself

i suggested Oz and Patch as candidates, because they love the world and know it intimately, and because of this are proven grinders on the long curve

there are others currently in senior Linden positions who have the same attributes as these two, who could also fulfill the CEO role were this to happen

i just think that the Linden board should focus on what does actually make money for them, grinding in incremental steps the money mill which is Second Life. Rather than bring in another person, for a 4th time, to somehow discover some breakout big-leap moment where insofar as Second Life goes, none exists in my view


irihapeti

@Theanine3D - i don't think anybody really hates Sansar. In the same way nobody really hates OpenSim, Hi Fidelity, the Unity based worlds or even Roblox or Minecraft

the worst emotion/feeling I think that could be ascribed to Second Life users is that they are maybe indifferent to these other worlds. Indifferent in the sense that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love

like: Do you love Minecraft. Yes! Do you hate Second Life? No! Are you indifferent to Second Life? Yes!. Do you ever think about Second Life? No!. Why not? Dunno, I just love playing Minecraft

vwfan

@irihapeti - I wasn't suggesting Ton be that person to take over but rather someone "like" Ton. SL needs someone who can see the potential for a content creation platform because it's seriously lacking at the moment no matter how you spin it. But yes, I agree with you about someone who knows the SL's history and has deep experience with it. Perhaps one who actually uses SL and sees its strength and weaknesses.

You suggested Oz, but Oz has been known to drop ideas like mirror reflections support when asked in TPV meetings. People jokingly harass him about it. Is that because Oz's strings are being pulled by higher-ups or is it because he thinks deep down mirror reflections are a worthless idea? If the latter then I would not support him because that sort of thinking - mirrors aside - will just lead to other great ideas being tossed aside. We need a leader to take risks and serious action to push innovation (in my opinion) or SL will continue to be a stagnant platform.

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

I don't remember Sansar being promised as "to be like Second Life but better". I remember "like WordPress for virtual reality". I also don't remember any desire for SL residents to migrate to Sansar. I remember that speech about looking for the new mass market coming with VR headsets.

Regardless, Ebbe put his full energy into Sansar and left SL in the watchful hands of others. He pretty much spelled that out.

So........ who really needs him now? His heart isn't in SL, never was, and his big dream is up in smoke. I'm sure he has other big dreams to explore and big speeches to make elsewhere. SL hasn't changed. It has the same problem customers and is the same "pinhole in a walled garden" that wasn't worth his future for years now. I'm sure he's too proud to take money from it feeling this way.

He made his resignation speeches from SL a long time ago. The future's here and the dreams are over the dam. Best of luck in your continued career goals.

irihapeti

@It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

it was Ebbe Linden who did say like Second Life but better

it was said back in 2015 when Ebbe was explaining to Second Life residents why Linden was going to make Sansar. In those explanatory discussions Ebbe also did say that unless decided differently going forward, he envisaged that Second Life resident identities would be transferable between Sansar and Second Life. Some thought would also be given to transferable L$ balances. And also that some Second Life inventory, as some residents were asking about, may be reusable in Sansar. With the caveat that Sansar being a different render engine, it may not be possible for many SL inventory items. Which many thought ok thats a reasonable reason

none of what was envisaged happened. It was decided differently. Instead of there being an identity transition path from Second Life to Sansar, which would have enabled the gradual cannabilisation, there was and is none

in this respect Sansar from the user's playable pov is no different to any other alternative 3D world. There is always some loyalty from SL residents toward Linden Reasearch the company because of Second Life. But as has been shown so far, loyalty to a company (any company) beause of a product, doesn't always translate to loyalty to a different product offered by the same company

this all said, it could be turned around. Provide an account identity transistion path from Second Life to Sansar. Make Sansar$ and Linden$ inter-tradable on the LindeX as part of this beginning. If Linden choose to not do this then is ok. Is for the Linden board to decide these matters

as was speculated on this blog some time ago, if the Linden board sees no future in there being a connection between Second Life and Sansar (as is currently the case) then from an development/investment pov then is better to spin Second Life out into a subsidiary with its own Executive who can focus solely on Second Life, grinding out incremental improvements so to not break stuff. Allowing Linden Research to continue with Sansar and do what a Lab does - move fast and break stuff

Pulsar

It's true that Linden Lab considered some compatibility at first, although they said it wasn't going to be SL2, and eventually it turned out to be just yet another virtual word... in search of a purpose.
I don't think they wanted any cannibalization though. Not unless Sansar worked, at least. As far as I recall, for Ebbe Altberg, Second Life just sort of works and isn't an huge success (he was looking for 10s of million monthly users and even more). But if Sansar was going to take many creators and people away from SL (some SL creator went to create there indeed), there was a concrete risk of damaging SL, the SL market, lowering the concurrency furthermore, more region loss, eventually killing their current cash cow. But Sansar was a bet, it could have killed SL, without becoming an huge success meanwhile (it was setup for those million users to be profitable). At that point Linden Lab, instead of one product that sort of works, would have ended up with two failed products: SL dead and Sansar nor profitable. RIP Linden Lab.

Therefore, be glad that Sansar has been an almost complete failure and not mildly popular.

However, if Linden Lab or another one creates a true metaverse (or one close enough, a Sim World, not another lever-loader, but neither with region crossings) and it is creative, immersive and socially engaging... well, my luggage is ready for the new boat.

LongTime Resident

get rid of Ebbe before he ruins SL too.

sadly with his arrogance, it's happening. i HOPE someone replaces him before it's too late.

AqParavane

Simply put, if you look at all the failed virtual worlds, they had one thing in common - Windows only. If Sansar had been cross platform from the start, as Second Life was, it might have had a chance. 2019 and it's still Windows only and therefore utterly irrelevant to a large proportion of Second Life users.

Dusky J.

Ebbe did say that Sansar would be like SL but better. He quoted that sentiment exactly on the SLUniverse forums back in 2014. LL CEOs will have the same bosses, the Board of Directors (investors). Switching up CEOs will always bring fresh ideas, but with the same disappointing direction by the board.

I know that I would gladly sacrifice all of my old broken content for a brand new metaverse, that I can remote work a real life job in, play however I want to, and socialize in.

LL is a continuous sad story about book smart people without any common sense. My sympathies to those who were laid off.

pixels always sideways

Truly sorry for those getting laid off. Why do companies always do layoffs when the big holidays season is about to begin? I remember getting laid off at the studio I had worked at for 8 years a week before Thanksgiving and it truly sucked and made the entire holiday season super awful.

I'm not surprised this happened re Sansar.

Sansar was not well thought out and its success was based on expecting SL residents to migrate over to a platform that is vastly different, requires higher end expensive equipment and was totes cocked up on LL not making some kind of deal with Apple before launching into it.

When you create an entire VR game platform that shuts out Mac users, that's a significant oversight as well as knowing that many of your devoted PC users of your existing platform can not afford to upgrade their equipment to access the platform.

The idea of making a better, higher res, uniformly optimized VR world platform that utilizes true VR equipment - goggles & hand controllers - is a good evolution but not if it locks out a lot of your base nor takes into account some of the features that make your original platform unique and fun like contiguous land/sims and in-world building/creation tools.

I hope LL figures out how to fix these issues with Sansar or if they decide to keep it as a separate unrelated entity to SL, they at least put more energy and time into improving SL - especially issues that have been lingering on Jira for years. It also says something about SL management when 3rd party viewers offer better features than their own like common sense things such as sim wide object search and copy/paste functions in the building tools window.

Meanwhile, I hope LL realizes that stripping SL of LEA was a HUGE mistake and meddling in events like SLBDay and kicking the volunteers who managed it for years to the curb further cements LL's reputation for fucking good shit up.

vwfan

@pixels - Well, VR Chat is Windows only (according to their system requirements) and has done well. The system requirements between VR Chat and Sansar are practically similar except for the double RAM and internet bandwidth for Sansar. There's also High Fidelity which supports Windows and Mac, but apparently it didn't work out so well and eventually changed its focus to what looks more like team workspaces and VR enthusiasts. So, I don't think it has to do with platform so much. Something else is going or maybe several factors are at play.

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