Press Release: Virtual World Campus for OpenSim
HOUSTON, TEXAS — FireSabre Consulting, a virtual world developer focused on educational clients, responded this week to the announcement by Linden Lab that the Teen Second Life virtual world product was to be discontinued. FireSabre has launched a program to help K-12 institutions migrate to open-source virtual world software as an alternative to Teen Second Life, which is expected to be discontinued no later than December 31, 2010. The announcement by Linden Lab was made at the 2010 Second Life Community Conference (SLCC) held August 13-15 in Boston.
FireSabre will be offering services to move educators from the Teen Second Life environment to the OpenSim platform. While open to all organizations affected by the Linden Lab announcement, the company will also be offering special discounts to those with which they have previously worked.
OpenSim is a server product used to create virtual environments (worlds) that are accessible over the Internet. Although it is compatible with Second Life based viewer software, it is open-source, able to be hosted by a variety of providers and can be extended by plug-ins.
“While the shutdown of Teen Second Life is unfortunate, I think it offers an opportunity,” said Fred Fuchs, the owner of FireSabre Consulting. “The new platform has many of the same capabilities, but it’s open standard, so educators will have a choice of providers to ensure they aren’t tied to a single company and will be able to control their own access to the virtual space — whether that’s age restricted logins, enrollment requirements or whatnot — rather than have a third-party decide for them.”
Although Second Life will be lowering the entry age for their main virtual world grid from 18 years of age to 16-years-old, Fuchs notes that such a change would not address the fact that this would still exclude many enrolled students.
The educational content migration service offered will include content transfer and adaptation for the new platform, 24 hour support, and hosting of the virtual spaces within an education-only grid. Upgrades to existing content will also be available as an optional part of the service. The consulting company further stated that they have committed to providing educational hosting plans under the current price tiers for server space on the Teen Second Life platform.
“We expect this product to be available in October,” said Fuchs. “This means we’ll have to move quickly, but we’ve done that before!”