I’ve started to run into people that are DEMANDING I answer whether they can transfer every bit of their inventory to the new SL-like virtual world (VW) the Lab is building. If the answer is no then the Lab is BAD and we all should stop spending and building today. They have to know today… Ciaran has an excellent article up on the new VW: Ebbe Altberg – “We Will Continue To Invest In SL And Keep Improving And Have No Plans For Any Shutdown.”
The people I am speaking with are horribly misinformed or hallucinating… it is hard to know which. The screams include: Linden Lab is ripping off the people… that sounds like a victim that has sucked up the class warfare propaganda of our day.
The Lab is building a new VW just as a number of other companies likely are doing, think Facebook. Are they too ripping off Second Life™ (SL) users? No… That is life in a free competitive world. Someone is always dreaming up a better mousetrap in free market countries.
But, with the Lab some seem to think it is different. I don’t. The Lab either makes a competitive world that can compete in the new realm of coming VW’s or possibly ceases operation and we see SL disappear. Then where will our inventory of purchased things be? …gone.
What about those renting land and running shops? In real life if you ran a shop and were in an older mall and someone came into town and started building a new mall would the new builders be ripping you off? No, they are doing their thing. And that thing may hurt your bottom line. But, we do not class that as theft. It is an aspect of the competition that improves life.
If the people you rent from decide they need to build a new more modern facility across the street are they ripping you off? No, they are trying to remain competitive with the new mall.
So, do you rent a shop and sell goods in the face of a new mall coming in 2016? If you want to sell something today, you rent a shop now.
Lease a region? If you know a newer cheaper rent mall in a state with higher sales tax rates is coming, your decision is likely based on your cash flow and the land cost. If you give up your current shop you lose those sales. So, if your sales from that land are paying the rent and making you money, you keep your land.
You are also going to want to know the land cost and tax rate at the new mall. What if you can’t get that information? You make a decision with a higher degree of uncertainly. I pointed out in a previous article that uncertainly usually leads to a much more conservative decisions and often total inaction by some part of the people, they go wait and see. So, not knowing is a problem. How many allow their selves to be paralyzed often tips the scales for the entire economy.
You do business today and keep an eye on the new mall and your current sales. When you get your answers you decide to move to the new mall or stay where you are. If you are making money in your current location, you probably keep it and try a new location also. It is how business grows. If the new location makes money, you did well. If a shop doesn’t make money you close the shop and move on.
Do People Keep Buying?
Well, Slink has the new Fitted Mesh replacement avatar body out. (I think today is the first day it’s out. I was sent a demo I have not tried yet.) We know that a proposal to provide a new avatar system for avatars has been submitted to the Lab and is under consideration. So, do you buy this new body in the face of the fact that it may someday soon be obsolete?
We don’t know if the new avatar system will be implemented if ever or when? But, I am seriously going to be looking at the body. I suspect they will sale well. Each of us will decide. Does the possibility of a new 2016 VW or even multiple VW’s deter me? Not really. Knowing that FB would likely be building a VW hasn’t. Nor did Blue Mars or Cloud Party. Some decided to move to those. How did that work out?
Are the things we make between now and 2016 going to be compatible with the new VW? We don’t know. But, how compatible were standard sizes with Fitted Mesh? Well, the stand size items I bought aren’t compatible. But, the ones I made I can easily adapt and sell as Fitted now. (OK, how easily is debatable, but it is doable.) I think everything we build in Blender, Maya, or 3D Max will be similarly compatible. I expect the same to be true of the template clothes we make in Photoshop. We’ll just need a new template.
Some of the merchants selling standard size items are providing Fitted versions at no cost. Those offers to do that were often made to promote sales of the std. size items back when we knew Fitted or Deformer Mesh was coming. Will merchants do the same for SL items in the face of a new VW? May be. We don’t know. We do know that type of thing has happened in the past.
Many seem to think SL will close the instant the new VW opens. I hear it all over. And I have people talking to me as if SL will close. That is starkly in contrast to what the Lab is consistently saying.
Is the Lab lying to cover the company position? I don’t think so. I think people that believe that are either doing projection because that is what they would do or have bought into the class warfare thing.
I remember when the JIRA was closed. Various disapproving Lindens reacted in their particular ways. As a good employee they did not bad mouth the company or management. But, one could often tell by what wan’t and what little was said they disagreed with the idea. By what Lindens are and aren’t saying now I would say they are excited and moving ahead on the SL we know. But, that is an opinion based on what little I know of the Lindens.
This new VW thing is not an all or nothing deal. We may see the Lab open multiple worlds to various audiences while keeping SL open as one of many worlds. That is popular recommendation in a few blogs and is an old idea and request from a number of bloggers over the years.
We may see a way for us to use the new VW as a development platform for games made by users. That was sort of the original idea. I know some of us from the Myst community used SL as a quick prototyping tool for things we wanted to build into Myst-Uru. (Most of those things, that I know about, are headed to the Unity or Unreal platforms.) The games made in the new VW may appear on Steam or Desura and be unassociated with Linden Lab in promotional way. They may well look like private worlds. Something like that has been tried in the past.
The VW’s may become much more like a series of web sites. If they can pull something off like that, imagine GM, Ford, or Toyota building a world where they can have people use an Oculus headset to see vehicles at a dealership that aren’t in stock. How many other companies would find a way to use the tech? That may flop, but people are working to make it succeed.
Will the Lab build a Hypergrid-like teleport among its new worlds where it can control IP ownership better than what we see in OpenSim? Will they link into SL with the new system? May be. We don’t know. It could be possible with the new avatar system currently being proposed.
Will all these possible worlds center around a Linden virtual stuff market place? OK… considering how the MP works now that may be reaching. But, you get the idea. Being able to use one MP and sell into numerous worlds is a hot idea.
There are possibilities. Those possibilities do not have to mean the end of the SL we know. The SL we know has been getting better the last couple of years as some level of planning and work for the new VW was in progress and will continue to for the foreseeable future while the new VW is built. If they decide to go the multiple world route that could be a long future.