Linden Lab to users: ‘Don’t Panic’

Linden Lab is working on a new virtual world, Linden Lab has confirmed, but urged users not to panic.

“Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that will be in the spirit of Second Life, an open world where users have incredible power to create anything they can imagine and content creators are king,” Linden Lab spokesman Peter Gray told Hypergrid Business.

The company is hiring new developers to help, he said.

“We believe that there is a massive opportunity ahead to carry on the spirit of Second Life while leveraging the significant technological advancements that have occurred since its creation, as well as our unparalleled experience as the provider of the most successful user-created virtual world ever,” he said.

The next generation world will go far beyond what is currently possible with Second Life, he added.

“We don’t want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you necessarily won’t be able to bring parts of your Second Life over, just that our priority in building the next generation platform is to create an incredible experience and enable stunningly high-quality creativity, rather than ensuring that everything could work seamlessly with everything created over Second Life’s 11 year history.”

don't panic

Will Linden Lab abandon Second Life for this new platform?

“Absolutely not,” Gray said. “It is thanks to the Second Life community that our virtual world today is without question the best there is, and after 11 years we certainly have no intention of abandoning our users nor the virtual world they continually fill with their astounding creativity.”

He said that Second Life still has many years ahead of it, and that the platform will continue to develop and evolve.

“In addition to improvements and new developments specifically for Second Life, we think that much of the work we do for the next generation project will also be beneficial for Second Life,” he said. “If we had one message to share with Second Life users about this new project at this point, it would be: don’t panic, get excited! Again, Second Life isn’t going away, nor are we ceasing our work to improve it. But, we’re also working on something that we think will truly fulfill the promise of virtual worlds that few people understand as well as Second Life users.”

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Wow, VWW1 (Virtual World War One) is really starting to heat up. This is great news. Hopefully this means mesh content will be easily portable, but I will live to see my dream of all those nasty sculpted abominations being put away for good. Huzzah!

    • I would also add that (if you cant tell already) I am resoundingly positive about this development. I have been reading the SLU thread and the tone is resoundingly negative. Though perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at that. lol.

      It does make me reconsider my land holdings in SL as while I am sure LL will do their best not to damage their flagship product, there will be a “huge sucking sound” in terms of creativity as I predict most content creators will have their work cut out with both HF and this new…..thingy.

  • Ebbe Linden seems to have joined the SLUniverse discussion, and is taking questions: http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/97035-linden-lab-working-next-gen-5.html

    “Hi all. A bit crazy here. I’ll try and answer questions here. The note that Jo posted above I hope will help settle things down. Go!”

    On moving platforms:

    “Making it easy for people to bring their identity and social connections along would obviously make a lot of sense to do.”

    On timeline:

    “Don’t wait on anything. It will take a long time and then you can choose where to spend your time and energy.”

    “Beta next year sometime.

    SL will be here for a long time until we see how people decide between these worlds. Nobody here has even thought of talking about some shut down plan. Too far out to know. But we obviously plan to make something so good ultimately that you will prefer to go there.

    I wasn’t really planning to talk about it at the TPV meeting but I’ve been talking to press this week where I do mention next gen platform, so I figured they might as well hear it from me…”

    Ebbe on freedom:

    “I’m for freedom. I don’t want to moderate or control it (beyond making sure things are legal). And we’ll probably have ratings (G, M, A) or something like that so one can be “safe” if one does not want some kind of content…again, we’re creating something in the spirit of SL, but just want to make it much better…”

    “Rather manage creative freedom rather than stifle it…and there’s too much to really pre-moderate in some way anyway…but maybe rules are different in different areas or depends on ratings of an area or…I don’t know yet, but we’re thinking of it to be similar to SL in that way…but better “

    • I think a fresh start to account for massive technology improvements and lessons learned could be a good thing.

      I hope its not a lego style blocky world like Minecraft 🙂

      A way to bring over and share avatars and appearance, and suitable generic and standards based content (Collada mesh and other standards based elements) ought to be included in be plan. What would be good might be an attempt to offer tools to assist in moving content from Second Life/OpenSim to a Next Gen VW to reassure the current user base that their efforts will not become isolated and unused in future. SLARs perhaps? Second Life Archives… conversion and warnings of what cannot be saved or exported due to permissions, and what will not make it in the Next Gen VW at that time.

  • Here is the full two-hour video of Ebbe Linden’s meeting with the third party viewer developers today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S-hoXupxXw

  • lmpierce

    I don’t understand the cynicism here. Surely if Second Life closes at some point, people will be sorely disappointed. But for years now, Linden Lab has made it clear that Second Life is a place to be leased, not owned. And every user knows this and the topic has been written about and debated a great deal.

    Like renting a place to live, or paying for a day at Disneyland, or paying for a subscription of any kind, our received value is in the moment – no capital investment with a claim to permanence and future returns is taking place. Within those terms, some participants have managed to construct businesses that create income, but without the promise of a “tomorrow”.

    We all invest real world dollars in things every day that we don’t actually own or get to keep, or do with as we please. And if Linden Lab can create a more advanced platform, it will be appealing for its advancements, walled garden or not. But as with all technologies, every participant should only invest what they feel they can afford to lose, or put another way, every participant should only invest to the point that the short-term return is still satisfactory. Understanding the applicable risks is part of the ‘game’ of technology.

    I just don’t see how we can expect any current or near-term virtual world platform to have the permanence we traditionally expect in the real world. At least not yet.

    • Han Held

      “I just don’t see how we can expect any current or near-term virtual
      world platform to have the permanence we traditionally expect in the
      real world. At least not yet.”

      The transistion from “ownership” to “permanent rental” is a fundamental assault on our basic rights -ownership is a fundamental right in and of itself, and needs to be stood up for for its’ own sake. This is the true importance of oars and iar and why they should be unrestricted.

      The move from personal possesion of hard copy (cd) to mp3 to streaming, from vhs to streaming, from hard disks to “the cloud” is an inherently anti-consumer movement which needs to be resisted by everyone, right down the line.

      From a consumer perspective -the loss of permanence, the “everything is on perpetual lease” is a mindset that doesn’t do any of us any favors.

      • lmpierce

        Hi Han,

        I’m not sure how much to address the merits of ownership versus permanent rental because my comment was not about the merits of those two (and more) choices. Rather, I was thinking of our expectations as participants in virtual worlds.

        By permanence, I was thinking of the difference between virtual real estate and physical real estate. In the physical world, land is usually permanent and rises in value over time – the land doesn’t go away if an owner loses interest and decides to move on. Likewise, if I sign a contract for a 10 year lease in a shopping center, I have legal reasons to expect I can stay there 10 years and invest in my business. I think, therefore, that some of the angst over virtual worlds, and Second Life in particular, has been that while ‘ownership’ of goods and ‘land’ purchases appear by analogy to work in a manner not unlike their physical world counterparts, there is only a superficial correlation.

        It seems to me that if future systems require building content outside of the system, there will be implicit maintenance of backups so that content loss will just be the responsibility of the participant, not the platform provider. This is how websites work – if my ISP fails tomorrow, I simply upload my site to another service – the site is always on my personal system (under my control) because that is where it was built. While that addresses some of the ownership and locus of control questions, I recognize virtual worlds are more complex because we also buy each other’s creations, whereas we don’t buy parts of each other’s websites.

        As for use rights, ownership and so on, I also feel we all need to be mindful of the TOS with any service we use, and take responsibility for our choices. In other words, we have a responsibility to refuse participation when we find the terms unacceptable.

        So, as to my original reason for my initial comment, which was a response to the comment by Lani, user expectations are often not in keeping with the original service offer. While that leads to frustration and anger, it doesn’t mean the service provider is guilty of wrongdoing per se. They could be guilty of wrongdoing for other reasons, and they may even be contemptible on principle. However, I think debates on principles are a different debate than whether a company is out of line with common business practices. In that sense, Linden Lab offers rental versus ownership, which is similar to your comparison with streaming services versus owning a hard copy. So, that’s what I mean by common business practices. However, I’m not endorsing that method of delivery, I’m simply recognizing it for what it is.

  • I and a few others can remember when VRML 97 was the “end all, be all” tech for virtual reality. And yet a majority of users went to platforms like SL. That didn’t mean that VRML went away. It is still a viable tech in its current incarnation as X3D. Likewise, I don’t see SL going the way of the Dodo bird. Just as select users still favor VRML 97/X3D, there will be those entrenched in Second Life for a good many years to come.

  • Haw Haw

    I should try this LL approach on my current girlfriend. “Honey, I’m just going to hang out with this new, more beautiful woman but, don’t panic, I’m not leaving you, EVER!”