Second Life: Ebbe Altberg Interview

I’ve seen several people blogging about this week old interview. I finally got around to reading the interview. There isn’t much new in it. I did not expect there would be. If you’ve been following Ebbe and Second Life, you know most of what he said. But, there are a few new things that are interesting and probably new details that I’ll touch on. Mostly interesting is the insight into what Ebbe is thinking.

The interview is here: Linden Lab explores VR for its next-generation virtual world (interview)


Blood Letters Murder Scene

Blood Letters Murder Scene

We know the Lab has been hiring software engineers for SL2. But, did you know they plan to hire 30 or 40 more? They currently have 190 employees. Ebbe says the number of employees has remained flat as they hired and dropped employees from projects they dropped. They plan to grow to 220±.

I think it safe to say some of the staff from released projects probably transferred  over to SL2. He makes it clear they have taken people from the Lab’s various projects and focused them on SL2. 

The last weekend (Nov 16) marked the end of the 5th month they have been working full out on SL2. Prior to that they had a couple of people working on core networking issues for SL2.

We find that while Ebbe thought some of the dropped projects, like Versu, had potential he had to decide where they could afford to spend the Lab’s resources. They did work to make sure Versu lived on.

When it comes to monthly unique logins there isn’t much news that the Lab lets out. Ebbe says we are a bit below a million users per month. He points out that at its peak Second Life only had a little over a million users per month.

With the release of mesh how people participate in SL changed. We’ve heard that story for a time now. But, I know I spend more time in Blender working on projects destined for Second Life. That is time I used to spend in SL. So, it may be true, and I believe it is, that we have almost as many unique logins per month as always and still I see lower concurrent user counts.

Ebbe points out that they are working on removing the constraints they believe held Second Life back. He lists those as; performance, scale, graphical quality, ease of use, and multiplatform. He says, “It’ll be a great companion to new tech, like Oculus, where you need to have a tremendous frame rate, times two.”

We can see that Oz is using more and more performance improving tech in Second Life. I suppose these could be tests of what to do with tech in SL2 and a way to gather data on what they can expect from it in SL2. I believe there are still parts of the system in SL1 that just can’t be adapted fully. But, they are probably gathering a wealth of data and ideas for SL2 where they won’t be limited by SL1 constraints.

We have heard that in the middle of 2015 they expect to have something to show, may be just in Closed Beta, but it doesn’t sound that way in this interview:

That’s where we are. We’ll probably start revealing the beginning of this thing toward the middle of next year sometime. That’s what we’re shooting for. That beginning will not be as feature rich or enable all the use cases that Second Life offers, but for some of the simpler use cases, we’ll be able to do something that’s going to make Second Life jealous.

While I am not envisioning a grand opening in 2015, I am now thinking something beyond a closed beta for designers. We’ll have to wait and see what we get.

In regard to the Oculus, Ebbe is not expecting SL1 to ever be that great. He says, “You’re not going to get the frame rate you need for it to be a consumer-grade perfect fit. But we’re learning a ton. We’re going to apply all these learnings [sic] to the next-generation platform.”

I suspect Oz may think otherwise and be working to prove SL1 can handle Oculus and provide a decent ‘retail’ experience. But, we’ll have to wait and see on this one too.

Ebbe mentions Jo Yardley and her 1920’s Berlin and the emotional experience she had the first time she was in Berlin with an Oculus Rift. Yay Jo!

In the last page of the interview Ebbe tells us they have 400,000 users for Blocksworld. From it they are learning how to simplify the learning process and work with kids. He also is thinking that Blocksworld may eventually have a market place and allow kids to earn money.


We don’t get much new information. But, we do get some insight into what Ebbe is envisioning for SL2 and Blocksworld. I think we can see the SL1 model extended in both of these Linden creations. In any event it is going to be interesting.

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