This is the tenth and final article in the series. In this one I touch on WHEN. The ideas I gleaned from Ebbe Altberg’s, Linden Lab CEO, speech at VWBRE 2015 that touched on aspects of the coming Next Generation Platform (NGP) and from what history I know of Second Life.
I started this series with these articles:
- Second Life: Educational Community Update 2015 March
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update 2015 – Coming Features
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-II 2015 – Platforms
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-III 2015 – Content Creation
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-IV 2015 – Internal Tools
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-V 2015 – User Types
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-VI 2015 – Content Changes
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-VII 2015 – Scripting
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-VIII 2015 – Access
When is NGP Coming?
First, no one knows, not even the Lindens. I am sure they have a timeline and are working to keep to it. But, this is cutting edge software development. The Lindens are the most experienced people in the business. No one else has as much experience with user created content in an MMOG as the Lindens. No one.
Still, they are trying for new measures of performance and 3D rendering. Plus there are new user interface issues for Oculus users. There are new input devices and display units. The entire industry is exploring what can be done with the new technology. Mistakes will be made and timelines will slide. We know things mostly take longer than planned.
But, as things progress milestones come into sight and arrival times can be reasonably predicted. So, on timing Ebbe is thinking that in nine months or so they will be asking selected testers into their alpha testing or maybe it is beta testing, I’m not sure. But, I would bet it is closed testing – mean NDA.
That nine months works out to about the end of 2015. I wouldn’t be surprised if that slides into 2016 and more than 9 months. However, I do think Ebbe is likely giving himself some room for the unexpected. So, don’t bet against that timeline.
Once they deal with the first round of problems discovered by these new testers they’ll start expanding the number of testers. We will see them inviting in more testers. Somewhere in time the process changes from a closed beta test to the open beta testing and many more people come in. I expect that open beta to be starting in 2016.
Ebbe seems to think we won’t see a retail Oculus Rift until very late 2015 or possibly early 2016. I won’t disagree. I would guess that if it is at all possible Ebbe will have, at least, NGP beta ready for the Oculus’ release.
There’s really a lot that has to happen for NGP to go open beta. That’s not a lot of time for all the things that have to happen to happen. I am not at sure it can be done. When developing software, things go wrong.
So, it may very well be at the Lab is planning to have Second Life improved to the point that it can carry the Oculus Rift users by the end of 2015. The idea would be to provide a good enough experience that people would want to hang around for NGP.
If that is the case, we may start to see promotional information about NGP. Grab those Oculus testers while they are looking. Let them know something better is coming. Tease, tease, tease…
I think this series of articles gives us some additional insights into what’s coming for NGP. While we don’t really have any color on the walls we are starting to be able to see some shape. We are also getting a more substantive proof that they seriously plan to keep Second Life around.
I know I tend to get jaded by politicians and company spokes-holes telling me what they think we want to hear or will believe. So, no matter how sincere they are at the moment, I fear they are parsing their statements and covering butt, if not out right lying.
Proof is in actions. We are seeing the Lab acting and talking in ways that denotes an underlying plan for Second Life’s continued existence. Their actions are backing up their previously spoken words.
NGP is more nebulous. It is out there in the fog. But, we have heard a bit more about it now. I’ve speculated like crazy from the bits I picked up. How much is my dream and really comes to be only time will tell. But, I think I have touched on the significant aspects of the Next Generation Platform, I often call SL 2.0.