Is Second Life’s Sky Falling?

I suppose in a digital world whether or not the sky can fall is a programming choice. Whether you believe the sky is falling in a metaphorical sense is another matter and a personal choice. Canary Beck has published a list of 10 things that are causing some SL’ers anxiety. See: Are Second Life residents anxious about Project Sansar?

White Fantasy Christmas

White Fantasy Christmas

I disagree with lots of things Canary thinks. That doesn’t make her wrong and I’m not necessary correct. But, our different viewpoints should prompt readers to think. 

The list of anxieties she has comes from Second Life™ users. So, one can’t debate whether these are issues for some of us in SL or not. Canary is kind enough to point her readers to my articles on Second Life: Sansar Fargmentation Anxiety and Second Life: Sansar Separation Anxiety. You can find most all my Sansar writing tagged as Sansar and/or SL 2.0.

Canary doesn’t say if the anxieties on her list are in the order of most to least worrying. While I suspect they are, I don’t know.

Fear is often described as an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real. I find that to be accurate in most cases. But, fear is a built in reaction to the unknown, something we all experience at some time. We also have a ‘fear’ reaction to things we know, like a dropping hammer is going to hurt if it hits a toe. So, fear of some things is also a learned reaction. Some fears are foolish and others protective. Whether fear is good or bad thing depends on what we do with it.

The first fear is Second Life will be replaced by the new Sansar world. Well, SL is going to be replaced at some point. That is a fact of life in the game world. The Lab thinks Second Life will be technologically outdated at some point, if not already. That is why they are building Sansar. But, SL is going to be around for years after Sansar leaves Beta.

I think everything we know about games and computers has taught us this ‘replacement’ is a thing to come. That people fear ‘replacement’ is probably miss identifying the fear. Dreading or fearing a known coming event is usually about how we imagine the event will play out and how it will affect us. In other words its the impacts from a replacement that concern us. How the replacement is going to affect us is an expectation. It is way too soon to know if our expectations about what ‘replacement’ will mean are real or false.

But, what if Sansar is really way better? Wouldn’t it be smart to just wait and see? The Lindens are hedging their bets. They plan to keep SL going while they see if people like Sansar. What happens if the Lab sees Sansar failing? Do they throw more effort into updating SL? Do they start changing Sansar? Both? No one can possibly know. It may take years for anyone to know.

There is also the possibility that some user made applications/games will be better suited to SL than they are to Sansar. The opposite is true too. So, it is conceivable that SL will be around and have a good sized user base for some time to come. At this point we can’t know.

Once upon a time we thought Blue Mars might replace Second Life. Some thought Cloud Party would be a replacement for Second Life. My point is we can’t know what will happen with Sansar and SL.

But, if you want to worry… enjoy anxiety… or like drama… it is a free country and so little is known about what is to come there is plenty of room for speculation. But, it might be better to think of what positive changes are possible and live in state of hope and excitement. After all there is just as much or lack of as much proof for both sets of beliefs; negative and positive.

2 thoughts on “Is Second Life’s Sky Falling?

  1. I’m not of the belief that SL lives past the first year of Sansar’s Full Release, unless it is sold off, or combined in some way with Sansar in a last ditch effort to save the company itself.

    Right now, I would hazard to guess that about 90% of LL’s investment capital is going toward Sansar…and once it is launched that percentage will increase. With that much of their budget on Sansar they have little choice but to fully commit themselves to it and keep their fingers crossed. Their hope is for a rapid adoption of Sansar to save the company finances and hopefully ditch SL altogether.

    Don’t believe me ? Look at their history with so-called side projects…which in the opinion of some were good ideas simply in need of more time and development…they didn’t hesitate to shut down those projects and convert the resouces they were spending on them back towards Sansar, along with dedicating even more of the resources they were spending on SL back towards Sansar…so, do you really think they will keep SL going once Sansar is fully launched ?

    Sansar may very well be so highly linked to LL’s finances and resource allocations that it truly is a make it or break it moment for the survival of LL itself, let alone SL.

    • I pretty much disagree with most of what you have said. You do relate a scenario that has played out a number of times in the software and gaming worlds. But, it is not the ONLY scenario in those fields. Also, I’ll concede all of what you wrote is reasonable and plausible. You might be right.

      There is considerable venture capital moving into VR startups. No lack of funding. There is nothing to indicate the Lab is consuming 90% of available capital. All we ever hear is the Lab is profitable. It is reasonable to assume the profit margin has decreased as more personnel have been and are being hired. But, we have nothing to suggest they are running at a loss.

      Whether a significant portion of the user base of SL moves to Sansar or not is a big question. But, it is still a case of users moving within Linden Lab properties. We don’t have enough information to know how such a shift would change the Lab’s income, if at all.

      As I’ve written elsewhere in the series (Scary truth about Project Sansar?) there are factors that likely will bring more people into SL and certainly Sansar. But, historically we know a high percentage of new users leave SL. Will the gateways into SL change that? There is a chance, but I understand pessimism in this regard. However, learning to retain users is an ongoing project. They may figure it out.

      It is to the Lab’s financial advantage to keep SL running as long as it turns a profit. So, I believe they will do that. If Sansar is just so awesome 90% of SL users move to it and SL begins operating at a financial loss, it will be closed.

      SL is highly profitable. Users took million out and the Lab made millions. If Sansar does start to capture users it is likely to be more profitable than SL. If I were designing Sansar I would design in that possibility. Plus the costs of Sansar development will be lifted from SL as Sansar starts to finance it self. It seems reasonable to assume the actual cost of operating SL can be carried by far fewer users than we have now. How few is a big question. So, I see it as much more likely that SL will continue for several years after Sansar opens. Time will tell.

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