Where does that leave us? Are social/avatar virtual worlds doomed to business extinction? Is there any way services like Second Life can make it?
Read on for more . . .
. . . Second Life embodies several of the original lessons almost to a fault, specifically:
- Communications bandwidth is a scarce resource.
- The implementation platform is relatively unimportant.
- Detailed central planning is impossible; don't even try.
- And especially our Future Directions section which said to let the users create the content - both the world and objects.
However, Randy points out that all is not rosy, and discusses to his own experience in using SL:
I loved it when I was unemployed. It was nothing but fun and intellectual challenge to produce an invisible teleporting 100-round-per-minute auto-cannon that ripped havoc throughout the WWII online community that settled there. Creating a Blade Runner blimp that traveled the world and handed out teleport cards to the city of Little Tokyo meanwhile playing a custom Japanese audio track was the highlight of my citizenship.
But, as soon as I got a job, I stopped creating, and then I stopped playing.
Rand goes on to argue that content "consumers" aren't interested in consuming user-created content and that "experimenting with a bunch of user-generated experiences of varying quality is just too heavyweight for people who are used to Television, Instant Messaging and Email."
He concludes with:
Focusing on the problems at hand: Consumers want to be fed content, they may even pay for it and a good platform can enable many talented people to create content, it seems that the main missing components are a way to identify and promote the content the consumers want and a create way to deliver it to them with the least possible burden on the consumer's part.
If Second Life can accomplish this, they will be the first.
An excellent article that raises very important points that are very in-line with our current thinking -- why, why did you have to go to Yahoo, Randy :-)? -- and that echoes thoughts that I've raised as well.
More generally, it returns to the questions of how to create content that has appeal beyond the creator, to enable creators to build experiences rather than just items and to provide more experiences that don't require 15 hours to enjoy. The next few releases will be fun :-)!
(Oh, and to save Greg his usual disclosure post, I'm the VP of Product Development for Linden Lab and Randy Farmer did some great consulting work for us on Second Life's UI)