Asking about Project Sansar

Hamlet pointed us toward the Lab Chat thread: Lab Chat Returns January 21st, 2016 with Linden Lab CEO – Ebbe Altberg. The thread is about 5 pages long as I write this, if you use the linear layout. (The setting for that is in My Settings->Preferences->Display.) There are the repeated questions everyone asks over and over, the totally uninformed ones (What is Sansar?), and some interesting new ones. I’ll look at some of the ones I find interesting.

Arctic Leopard

Arctic Leopard

Several people are wanting more information on what basic beginner building tools will be like. I suspect these questions will continue until they can experience the process. Painting a word picture is likely to be too imprecise to satisfy most people. 

Harlow Joubert asks, “Will there be large land based communities in Sansar? Is Sansar a place to “live” or more of a day trip amusement park?”

I find these questions interesting. My thinking is Ebbe is creating a Virtual World platform, a tool for building online virtual worlds (VW). It will be up to content creators to create the worlds. The gray area where it is confusing is contrasting the large Second Life (SL) community and world that SL became in contrast to the small game developer communities of WordPress, Unreal, Unity, Cry, and others.

SL started out as a platform for building and rapid testing of game ideas. It changed but in 2007 Philip Rosedale, then CEO, was still talking about SL as a ‘platform’. (reference) With the advent of Project Sansar we are hearing more talk of a platform for content creators with comparisons to WordPress.

If we look at game developer communities and WordPress users we don’t find huge WordPress communities where people login just to talk about WordPress and meet other WordPress users. While game development communities do evolve for talking about game design related subjects, they aren’t really about meeting people. My point is they do not have a diverse world built on their platforms where people come to play. That is a unique SL activity, community.

Will the Lab provide a large world we can work in? Or will they provide a platform where lots of people build worlds and we’ll choose our world from them? It’s unclear where the Lindens are going. So, we keep hearing the question of whether the Lab will build a central world.

Prokofy Neva asks an interesting question which I’ll paraphrase and twist a bit. First understand the economy of SL has many RL aspects. People do the same things with their virtual money as they do their RL money for many of the same reasons. It’s a human nature thing. Some think the Linden dollar is devaluing as people start to cash out before the imagined collapse of Second Life. It would make sense if SL is to collapse. There is no assurance that will happen. So, can these two economies, Sansar and SL, co-exist? And will Sansar drive down the value of the Linden currency?

This is interesting on a number of levels. In RL we have a number of economies that co-exist; communism, socialism, and various levels of the free market. So, my thinking is that a Sansar and SL economy can co-exist.

We see the currencies of countries with communist, socialist, other centralized economies, and corrupt democracies consistently devaluing. One can provide lots of esoteric reasons and theories for why that it is. I think it boils down to the nature of humans and how they foresee the future of the system. In a free market small actions by LARGE numbers of free citizens always overwhelms government attempts at control. Controlled markets require massive repressive central government efforts. The Lindens provide a benevolent monarchy that leaves residents mostly free to exercise their will… do what they want.

A unique aspect of the L$ is that it will be used in both Sansar and SL. In a way that is like using the US$ in San Antonio, Texas and Detroit, Michigan. Detroit, once a major economic engine of the world, has collapsed. San Antonio has a booming economy. The dollar has the same value in both cities. Those in Detroit are not shorting their dollars nor are the citizens of San Antonio purchasing dollars.

The value of the dollar is affected by what other countries do, China is affecting many currencies this week. A comparison for SL and the Linden dollar might be World of Warcraft. The effect is from outside forces, not internal ones. While some SL members may decide to unload Linden currency others may bet on Sansar and accumulate Linden Currency. Will it balance out? For now it looks like there is a tiny, 1 or 2 L$, depression in the value of L$.

I am pretty sure no one knows what will happen. The result is really dependent on how many people join and/or leave Sansar and SL, something we can only speculate about. In RL currency speculators make their living predicting what people will do that drives up or down a currency’s value. As long as Linden Lab is solvent there is little to drive its price up or down against RL currencies.

So, what will or can Ebbe say?

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