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Whatever Happened To Second Life?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-blame-ralph dept.

Games 209

Barence writes "It's desolate, dirty, and sex is outcast to a separate island. In this article, PC Pro's Barry Collins returns to Second Life to find out what went wrong, and why it's raking in more cash than ever before. It's a follow-up to a feature written three years ago, in which Collins spent a week living inside Second Life to see what the huge fuss at the time was all about. The difference three years can make is eye-opening."

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That's easy (5, Funny)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653398)

Its users got a first life. Translation: They moved over to Warcraft.

Re:That's easy (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653454)

Warcraft isn't a SL replacement. I know that quite a few people have WoW accounts, but they still keep logging into SL.

Re:That's easy (1)

velja27 (1427879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653624)

Normally those people don't have real lives,the ones that manage to log in to the WoW and SL.

Re:That's easy (3, Funny)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654112)

Then there are the ones who find time to post on Slashdot.

Re:That's easy (1)

f0rk (1328921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653924)


Re:That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655772)

-5 for lack of ability to recognize Sarcasm.

Second Post! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653414)

Get a first life!

Anyone here? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653424)

I think they're all well into their third or fourth life.

Adult Content Island and verification. (4, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653450)

Second Life had little point beyond being a sex simulator and roleplaying simulator. You can't really play a real game in there. There isn't any real combat Physics built into Second Life. You walk around, you chat, if you can buy stuff and sell stuff that looks cool. You can own housing that serves no purpose. Turning actual money into Lindens was a waste of money.

At least in WoW you could fight enemies and make money, it could be pointless because the mobs respawn, but you could do it.

When they made it to where no one under 18 who was verified (and their verification process was extremely intrusive and I know many people who just decided to stop using second life entirely over it. It involves basicaly forking over Credit Card information, in some cases a Birth Certificate, and yuor home address.) they killed SL. Second Life was the one MMO, however crude that you could have sex in.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (2, Insightful)

Qlither (1614211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653484)

Sex makes the world go around, when they stopped sex, they stopped the game in effect. A virtual world (sand box game) are a penny a thousand, the only difference is the fact you could of had sex with "other living people" in theirs.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (3, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653512)

Second Life was the one MMO, however crude, that you could have sex in.

Unless you are a furry. []

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653596)

Yiff in hell, furfags

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655408)

Gladly. Hot lava makes all four of my nipples hard.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654052)

I tried that a little a fair while back, (I was bored and in the end trying it did not fix that).
I never came across any actual sex, but the yiffy section is certainly a damn sight more crowded than most of it (still most of them just stand around and do nothing, so pretty much like second life, except with even worse graphics and no money aspect).

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

Aklyon (1398879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654440)

Sociolotron is a 2nd one, its pretty much built around it.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (2, Insightful)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653682)

Second Life was the one MMO, however crude that you could have sex in.

I don't think we have the same definition for having sex. It's a computer game ! Where's the real flesh ?

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654014)

Need I remind you who you're talking to? Around here we don't need no stinkin' "real flesh" to "have sex".

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (2, Funny)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654178)

Yeah, just a Fleshlight(TM) and some interesting pixels.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (0, Troll)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653704)

I'm pleased to believe that I was a participant in the event that first uncovered the hypocrisy in the Lindens' operation of SL, ie the War of the Jesse Wall. Too long a story to tell here (you can google it) but their originally-stated goal was laudable: a lassaiz-faire (sp?) world with basic physics, to see how people would operate, including a truly free-for all zone called Jesse. The first culture to display their nascent fascism were the liberal peacniks, who objected to ardent patriotism of a number of players during the Iraq war. They tried to bottle up and hem in the pro-US players, who reacted violently (within the rules of the Jesse zone, where killing was possible).
This escalated to a full scale war which, when the peacniks (who'd been joined by socialists and other fellow travelers) begged the Lindens to intervene, and they did. Their actions to enforce 'peace' in some Left-Coast sort of utopian view directly contravened their own stated rules of non-intervention, and showed them for the hypocrites they are.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (3, Insightful)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654660)

I don't know if that's a story about the hypocrisy of Linden Labs, or a sad commentary on the nature of human beings.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654990)

After reading your post I did some searching and found this: War of the Jesse Wall [] . Rather long, but an interesting read.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (5, Informative)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655220)

I looked up the War of Jessie Wall and found that you mis-characterized it to justify your rant against liberals. Jessie was the zone where a bunch of players from WWII Online decided to set up shop, many of the players with a conservative bent. They weren't really interested in finding a spot and fitting in rather than carving out a section for themselves. You portray it more as "poor conservatives with pro-war views being harassed by the evil liberals". In the pieces I read, it seemed there were dicks on both sides of the fence who kept on ratcheting up the rhetoric. Jessie wasn't locked down because of views, it was locked down because LL didn't want player killing to spread beyond that zone.

Here [] , have a read. Not as one sided as you portrayed it.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (4, Funny)

coopersnick (1574965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655290)

So the hippie beatnik leftist commies asked them to stop continually shouting "USA XOXOXOXO LOLZ!!11!!!ONE!!11!!!", and because of that the crap was beaten out of their characters? And then they complained? Goddam dirty hippies. They should learn to fire guns, eat red meat and go to church.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655330)

Wow, that brings back memories. The last time I was on there, part of the wall was actually still standing. One of the few instances where SL had any sense of history (with the way they have land set up, often whole areas will simply disappear with no indication of what once stood there).

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (3, Informative)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655546)

you can google it

And so I did []

The first culture to display their nascent fascism were the liberal peacniks, who objected to ardent patriotism of a number of players during the Iraq war. They tried to bottle up and hem in the pro-US players, who reacted violently (within the rules of the Jesse zone, where killing was possible).

I seriously doubt it was unprovoked and from what I've read, the picture isn't painted quite the same way in the article. Excerpt from: "WAR OF THE JESSIE WALL" ( the link above )

Nothing doing: WWIIOLers swooped down on the Outlands, loaded for bear, and used its longtime residents for live target practice, killing them again and again, and maybe yet again. Because most Residents, unsurprisingly, set their home point on their home property, many folks living in the Outlands were stuck in an infinite cycle of violence, to be shot on their land then resurrected and shot again, in perpetuity, until they logged off the game entirely, or their antagonist finally got bored. All of which was perfectly permissible by Linden Lab since, after all, this is precisely what the Outlands were designed for.

Permitted or not, griefing sucks and corpse camping is the pinnacle of griefing in any MMO.

"Their originally-stated goal was laudable: a lassaiz-faire (sp?) world with basic physics, to see how people would operate"

I think they came to the end of that experiment and concluded that some people are assholes.

Why are you surprised? (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655582)

In any society, a few people are sociopaths. They want to inflict harm on others for their own personal gain, and it makes no difference whether they are violent criminals or violent criminals who claim to kill people for "security" or "freedom."

In a proper civil society, sociopaths are separated from the rest of the population. Otherwise the people who are able to resolve their differences under the law are hamstrung by the juvenile minds who can't let go of their primitive impulses.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655972)

The difference between life and games is that games has rules. This is why people like them. There are trivially predictable outcomes from most situations. One can say that one is creating a laissez faire environment, but such a statement is at best naive. If a game is to function, rules still have to be entered, and as such will contain the assumptions of the people who write the rules. Since rules cannot be ignored, the rules themselves come attack, and changes get made to support the needs of the most powerful population. In this sense, the game does reflect laissez faire situations, but again not on the naive level of people who believe that such pure system are viable or useful.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653796)

"Second Life was the one MMO, however crude that you could have sex in."

Looks like someone's never made a character on the Moon Guard(US) server!

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655044)

. . . Second Life was the one MMO, however crude that you could have sex in.

I guess you haven't gone looking. You missed Sociolotron, wherein the sex is the theme of the game and an essential component for advancement.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655888)

..and their verification process was extremely intrusive and I know many people who just decided to stop using second life entirely over it. It involves basicaly forking over Credit Card information, in some cases a Birth Certificate, and yuor home address..

Totally wrong. Thanks to the relaxed privacy standards in the US of A, there's tons of readily available personal information in online databases that you can use to pass the age verification.

Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656018)

"It involves basicaly forking over Credit Card information, in some cases a Birth Certificate, and yuor home address.) "
Let's not forget what stopped me from playing the game. After refusal to give up CC info, the only other way to verify was to give them my address and my SSN. No thanks, I'll push on to Blue Mars [] to peddle my virtual warez.

It was a Fad (1, Insightful)

BobReturns (1424847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653464)

Second life was always just a silly fad. The money situation with it was just silly - it was just a bubble.

Re:It was a Fad (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653488)

What do you mean "was"?

It's still doing pretty nicely. Not growing so much anymore, but doesn't seem to be shrinking. I don't see any decrease in the areas I hang out at.

Re:It was a Fad (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653818)

Linden Labs claims Second Life has turned over more than $1 billion in its six-year history. Nor is it slowing down; quite the opposite in fact. Linden claims the in-world economy grew by a staggering 94% year-on-year from Q2 2008 to Q2 2009.

If that's not growing, I'd be happy to be in a flat economy.

Re:It was a Fad (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654116)

It took the author of TFA 3 years to realize it though. For that, we must applaud him. Next week, he's going to be writing about MySpace.

Fad (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653466)

Second Life was based on PR and hype. No one needs to hear old news or the same tired Second Life stories again.

Ignorant (5, Insightful)

rknop (240417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653470)

This article is pretty ignorant.

To be fair, two things are true. One, Second Life has a woefully steep learning curve. Two, it's hard to find the things you'd really want to find in Second Life. Two is connected to One.... There are lots of people doing lots of creative and interesting things in Second Life, but it takes a fair bit of experience, or somebody leading you around, to know how to find them.

The writer of this sloppy piece did a quick dash and look, almost willfully avoiding putting in the most minimal effort it would take to really find out what's there. It would be like somebody "trying to figure out what this web thing is all about" by starting at [] without knowing about sites like Google. Again, yes, the web is more mature and as such it's far easier to find what you're looking for... but that is how distorted the picture this article paints is.

Yes, the sorts of things you're interested in will often not be easily or readily found. But once you start figuring out how to find them, there's all kinds of great stuff going on.

Two things I'm involved with-- which, thus, are the sorts of things I'm interested in-- are science and theater. My theater group is at [] , and my science group is at [] If you want to see evidence of a whole bunch of people showing up at once at something that at least I consider interesting (although I'm extremely biased), check this out: []

Re:Ignorant (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653578)

> but it takes a fair bit of experience, or somebody leading you around, to know how to find them

While I haven't played it, that sounds like how most /.'s describe Eve. But as has been pointed out in other postings, Eve seems to combine that with things that sound like they're fun.

Re:Ignorant (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653612)

I have tried to check out your dark matter video but I got distracted by a huge tarantula sitting in the "audience"

Re:Ignorant (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653816)

One of the things I though that second life SHOULD have become but never did.... The fricking internet interface in a Avatar interface. There is no Google island where I can search Second life for something and zip there. 99% of Second life is just a timewaster you cant do anything in there. Even when Ira Flato did his Science Friday shows in Second life it was a joke. Oh boy, I can either listen on my pc and easily twitter my questions, or I can sit there in a difficult to use UI and act like I am listening... no thanks.

It had potential, but it never really went anywhere useful.

Re:Ignorant (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654264)

One of the cool things about the web is that it's easy to find things you're interested in. Second Life is just an incompetent, anthropomorphic version of the web, where it's hard to find stuff. It's hard to find things I'm interested in when I'm in meatspace, without the benefit of the internet. If Linden Labs were competent they would have found a way to make a second life that's easier and more convenient than the first one. Instead, they made a world where you have to make buildings oversized because otherwise avatars have inordinate trouble passing through doorways... and where, I suspect, it would be harder for me to build a house that looks like a house than it would to do it in the real world. (I've tried to use the building tools, which are either just fucking stupid or different for the sake of being different, in which case, it's just fucking stupid.)

Re:Ignorant (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654902)

> The writer of this sloppy piece did a quick dash and look, almost willfully avoiding putting in the most minimal effort it would take to really find out what's there

He "lived inside SL" for a week, albeit three years ago. You can hardly call that a quick dash and look.

The point of SL is... (0, Troll)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653476)

... being a refuge for people that do not dare to be themselves in RL.

Want to be a slut? Don't dare to step up to girls? Afraid to date someone or something? Maybe you are a transgender person not willing to act it out in RL? Etc...

In the end it's just for people that fail at RL because they are afraid to be happy and comfortable with themselves. It's also a breeding place for no-life-luser....

Re:The point of SL is... (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653832)

Consider that what you may want to be in fantasy is not what you think your parents would be all too comfortable with you actually being when you turn up for Christmas dinner.

If you see 2L as an escape for the fearful, you're too narrow minded. I consider (the adult portion at least) to be an extension of the fantasy world, not a replacement of the real one.

I don't "play" 2L, I just disagree with your point.

Re:The point of SL is... (1, Insightful)

umghhh (965931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654236)

extension or replacement - if t here are people for which 2L is their 1L that is fine too - I still prefer documentaries in my cellar but I can understand there are people that enjoy virtual sex in 2Las well as enjoying rubbing their real selves against other equally real bodies and even exchanging body fluids or do whatever they prefer to do. The point is looking from aside any of these three alternatives may be perceived as disturbing and I am sure there are places where majority of such activities are illegal, bottom line is however: there are people ready to invest money into such activities and they do not hurt anybody in a process so the service is maybe not up to everybody's liking but it certainly satisfies certain needs and generates profits in a process. I do not mind and I see not why should anybody be disturbed by this. Then again there are people putting other people in the prison only for smoking a joint - how sick is that compared to 2L? I think GP should take it easy and get some perspective - getting out of cellar and getting aforementioned date with real people may help but is not really necessary.

Re:The point of SL is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655174)

You miss the point entirely. If it's something you want to do occasionally -- a kink or fetish for example -- there's no need to put it in front of your parents at Christmas anyway. You already have the option of doing it part time IRL. And if it's not something you do occasionally, if it's something which defines you -- your gender or sexual orientation for example -- then hiding it from your parents is cowardly and deceptive.

Either way, you have the option of being, or doing, according to your nature. Grow a pair and give it a try.

Re:The point of SL is... (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654160)

Ah yes, let's list transgender people alongside failing at life. Perhaps the point of Slashdot is for people like you who want to throw insults, when you'd be too scared to do so in the real world, right?

I don't know what the point of Second Life is either, but the obvious comparison is to things like IRC. People make the same tired cliched criticisms of IRC as you did of SL, but I'd hope that generally any geek on Slashdot didn't fall for that.

Re:The point of SL is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654584)

Calm down a little bit. I'm transgender (still mostly closeted, which is why I'm posting AC) and I did use Second Life for a brief period of time to try to explore that. Then I found Morrowind, which was way more fun (and didn't connect me to the idiots in SL) and played that instead.

Re:The point of SL is... (2, Insightful)

wurble (1430179) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654384)

It can also be an escape from RL for the disabled. I know several disabled individuals that play SL on a regular basis. For them it makes real life a little easier to cope with knowing they have someplace they can go to where they aren't limited by their disabilities.

Re:The point of SL is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654518)

What's wrong with wanting to be something else than what you are for a while?

When I go to Second Life, I can be whatever I want to be, unlimited by physical restrictions (although SL imposes its own restrictions, of course). But that's not because I'm unhappy with what I actually am; it's simply because sometimes, it's fun to enter a fantasy.

Seriously, how is it different from playing other computer games, or watching movies, or reading books, especially science-fiction and fantasy?

The answer, of course, is that it isn't, and that doing the things you like, because you like them, without being constantly afraid of how others will view you and your actions is a good thing. People who do that and who always think about how others might perceive them with everything they do... well, I pity people like that.

Of course SL can be overdone, just like anything else, and those people who spend 14 hours per day there (if they actually exist) are overdoing it. But then, so are those surfing the Internet (perhaps reading Slashdot?) 14 hours a day, for instance; the problem isn't with the hobby but rather with overdoing it.

One MIGHT argue that Linden Labs actually has a vested interest in sucking people in and making them spend as much as possible of their life on SL, but I'm not sure if that's the case, and in any case, it's up to the user anyway.

Caveat gamer. YOU are in charge of your own life, as an adult, noone else, so if you overdo it, you have noone but yourself to blame. However, this also means that if you don't overdo things, there's nothing wrong with them. It's two sides of the same coin really.

Article summary (5, Informative)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653478)

Article Summary:

Linden labs shut down gambling, segregated all porn to its own island, and now 2nd life's "wholesome areas" are now ghost towns because everyone's hanging out in porn island and spending their money there for virtual kinkiness. Also, writer speculates that most of 2nd life's revenue is now from porn island.

Re:Article summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654754)

Probably worth noting that if you're UK based and you visit 'the island' some of the content sounds as if it is illegal under the recent UK 'extreme sex depictions' law.

Re:Article summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655750)

mods... why is this funny? I R'dTFA and that's exactly the summary...

Second Life died when it mimicked real life (4, Insightful)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653482)

Second Life was immensely popular with people from all walks of life. They could visit and become who and what they wanted. It was a jointly held fantasy. Want to be a bipedal tiger or cat? No problem. Want to have sex with anyone and anything? No problem. Want to go to a club with strippers and play the slots? No problem.

People went to Second Life to have a second life, to be free of all the rules and social restrictions that made their first life so mundane.

In forcing their laws onto the onto the Lindens, real-life governments effectively sent everyone back home to Kansas. After all, if you must follow the same rules as in real life, why bother with a second version of the same dull thing?

Re:Second Life died when it mimicked real life (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653516)

Er, it's not dead by any means yet. In fact load seems to be climbing still, just slower than it used to.

And you can still be a bipedal cat, have sex with anything, or go to a club with strippers. There a few more rules in place than there were some years ago, but none of what you mentioned except gambling went anywhere.

Now the thing about playing the slots is unfortunate US stupidity, but that's not SL's fault.

Re:Second Life died when it mimicked real life (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653538)

The Adult Content Island is barriered off and most users cannot access it.

Re:Second Life died when it mimicked real life (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653648)

It's long past its heyday. It will linger and wither.

Yes, it does have a tremendous number of player accounts register, but how many are active?

No, SL was fun while it ignored real life. Now? Not so much.

Re:Second Life died when it mimicked real life (1)

Webcommando (755831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654154)

Second Life was immensely popular with people from all walks of life. They could visit and become who and what they wanted. It was a jointly held fantasy.

There was unique quality of SL that attracted people who wanted to create a new reality. For those who wanted a cool 3D chat program, it probably has lost some of the appeal.

I noticed my oldest daughter likes to chat with people on IMVU. This environment seems to have as much rich avatar capability--clothes, body styles, create your own rooms, etc.-- but is definitely at the core a chat room. She can jump between different rooms quickly and play RP scenarios without any "MMO" trappings.

Just an opinion but I believe different niches of users have found other sites to cater to their needs and this has taken some of SL players.

For me? (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653500)

For me, I can tell you what happened to Second Life. They screwed up my account and their customer service is useless.

Long version: I had an OLD account that received the 500 L$ weekly allowance that used to be given to every account. Then they changed it so that new accounts don't get that allowance. I went on, made a few custom objects and was happen with my character... Until they got hacked. When they get hacked, they force everyone to change their passwords using the password retrieval system. No problem, it's an email that gives you a link. Everything was fine... And then they got hacked again. This time, my password link doesn't work... It just says there was 'an error'. After trying like 5 times over a couple days, I call them. Their machine hangs up on me without ANY voice prompt. Over the next 6 months to a year, I called over and over, but each time it hung up on me, or answered then hung up, or answered and told me to leave a message then told me the mailbox was full... One time it DID let me leave a message and their message promised me they'd contact me... Nothing. So I eventually just gave up. It's not worth the hassle, and I'm NOT going to make a new account and lose my allowance and the customizations to my character.

I've been told that the customer service is better now, but I no longer care.

Re:For me? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653508)

Edit: Actually, after thinking about it for a while, I think it was a $L50 allowance. But the actual amount wasn't the point.

Re:For me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653956)

you seriously need to get a RL, man

Bubble burst ?!? (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653502)

It would be interesting to study the distribution of active second-life users with time. I guess that some kind of well-known [] pattern will appear. Be ready to see the same fate to apply for twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc.

property (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653552)

Second Life resembles the real world too much, there's a commercial real estate bubble to.

Re:property (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653658)

I remember sometime ago I saw a documentary which had a part about Second Life and some guy that paid a lot of money (from a mortgage on his house) to build some sort of mall or club. Is this guy homeless yet?

So the web is for porn? (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653564)

Basically, the 5 page story ends up concluding that Second Life is for porn. Gosh, who could have guessed?

The simple fact is that SL was a hype based on the ancient idea of virtual/3d environments being useful. They ain't.

The reason? It is to bloody hard to do anything. When I am in the real world, moving about, turning my head, manipulating objects and chewing gum is so easy I don't actually know how to do it, I just do it. In second life, even just walking about is a pain in the ass. FPS solve this by simplifying the world and giving you limited interaction. You can just jump up any wall rather then having to climb it or put a chair in place to use as a ladder etc etc. In Dragon Age Origins I just click on a cocoon a few meters above me, without having to climb the tree it is hanging from. But in a virtual world ala Second Life they remove this simplified game element because they want something more.

And in the end, they end up with something less. Maybe it is the uncanny valley, the more real a virtual meeting room becomes, the more obvious it becomes that it isn't real. This doesn't matter in a game, because a game isn't real. But a meeting with real people I work with in a virtual world will just feel off. Because nobody but the most dedicated attendee will bother to fully animate his avatar. Smiling, body posture, they will all be pre-scripted (and what kind of person who needs to attend a virtual meeting hasthe time to sculpt his own avatar?) and not like the real person. And for what? So you can talk more easily? You are still staring at a screen, why not use video conferincing? You can interact with a 3D object? Only if that 3D object is fully realized in SL. And I can also see that 3D object in any other display where I can spin the camera and not have to manipulate a camera around a character with collision detection. There are far better purpose build tools for showing a 3D object. And where you new 3D design is NOT on someone elses server.

Oh, there are some useful scenario's, but they are so limited that SL doesn't deserve the hype. It would be like creating a hype for the Excell sheet viewer that MS has for people without Excell.

And so, as the story shows, porn is the only activity that is worthwhile. Same as the net. Just how much information do you need in a day? But you can always use more porn.

I find it intresting to see that the author says the hype has shifted to facebook and twitter. Indeed. Any predictions for how these will fair in 3 years time? MySpace has dropped a lot of its hype. Countless commercial blogs show current post as being several years old...

Part of it all I think is the problem CNN has. They don't have enough news to fill 24 hours and I think the web as a whole might not actually have enough content to fill it all. Twitter is the most obvious example of this, so I will use facebook. Intresting to keep track of old friends... BUT how much can you track? Say that you follow all your friends holiday pictures. Unless you got hundreds of friends, that will hardly keep you that busy will it? There simply ain't enough things people can put online to keep social sites full. Except of course porn. How much of MySpace/Facebook is naughty pics?

The problem is nothing new, it takes pixar 2 years to create a movie that takes us 2 hours to watch. Bioware spends a month on each hour of gameplay. A free news rag like metro is a day job for a whole office of workers and a global news network, and I am done with it in 20 minutes.

I can spend ages setting up a beautifull display in Second Life, as some have done, and then a user goes, he sees it and that is it... done. That is why porn rules, because it is so very very cheap to make and people will pay for a very similar girl in a very similar pose over and over again. Porn is an amazing business. Only the food industry matches it in being able to get people to pay for exactly the same stuff again and again.

Re:So the web is for porn? (1)

Mattskimo (1452429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654050)

I mostly use facebook for winding up people I used to go to school with. The more I use facebook the less there is to do the next day as people remove me as a friend. Oh well, I don'thave my home address listed and it's not like I was friends with the majority of them anyway. It's funny that I've actually reconnected with a few people due to their appreciation of my antics on facebook. Also if you name your 3rd child at age 21 "Mayson", expect some flak.

Recently announced SL expansion for felines: (5, Funny)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653582)

Tenth Life.

practical applications (2, Interesting)

sw33tjimmy (662009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653586)

Probably the most practical (non-sex) application of 2nd Life is its capacity for distance learning/education. Holding online courses in a virtual world... beats the hell out of the buggy web applet i was using back in the glory days of nortel.

Re:practical applications (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653860)

There is ZERO worth for 2nd life distance learning. Having content available on the site for the students, videoconferenceing and teleconferencing is 90000% more effective than doing a animated barbie doll classroom on the screen.

This is so much more effective it's why ALL schools use it instead of second life and it's horribly clunky interface with a steep learning curve. Even a non educated computer user can easily learn from a webcam enabled laptop with a videoconference flash link.

Re:practical applications (2, Interesting)

sw33tjimmy (662009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654328)

not sure where you get your info, but not ALL schools exclude second life from DE. You'd probably be surprised how many actually have campuses in second life and pay big bucks for researching/developing SL as a platform. I'm not going to argue the effectiveness of it (and I'm certainly not going to defend it, either), but I will say this much: Bell's first phone looked nothing like an iPhone. Just like 2nd life looks nothing like the Matrix.

Re:practical applications (1)

Mattskimo (1452429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654094)

Well I'm starting a part time degree with the OU and there is an induction in second life tomorrow. I'm going to go along and try to give it the benefit of the doubt. I made an avatar purely for the purpose of my OU studies (distance learning, but SL is not integral to the course, all SL activities are optional) and the interface feels very clunky. Their island is interesting and I will do some mroe exploring but I doubt I'll be spending any substantial amount of time in there.

Re:practical applications (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654678)

There must be hundreds of apps for distance learning, some of them with dedicated interfaces, video / audio chat, file exchange, presentation, white boarding. About the only SL brings to the table is chat. I doubt is any use at all for the other things.

Sex built the internet (0)

w3irdizum (1537733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653590)

So what that there is sex in SL. No matter what you think, one thing is true “Sex built the internet”.... it was the first thing that started to make money and make the internet viable. With out porn in the early days the web would still be a sterile place full of academics and I call liar on anyone that says they never did a search for porn.

Re:Sex built the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653804)

Sex REALLY DID build the internet, ..., you, me, civilisation, ..., my neighbour's cat.

Ghost town effect (3, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653594)

SL has some impressive tech, running a user-scriptable 3D world with user generated content. The idea was great, tried it for a while...

But the problem was that the server grid doesn't have enough power to allow a realistic amount of people anywhere. Whenever I was somewhere with over ten people things started lagging bad. So what you end up with are (often beautiful and extravagant) ghost towns. The concept of an open world seems like a great idea, but in practice a lot of areas are off limits due to security measures. And with little communal planning every server is more or less it's own little island.

I still love the concept, but like communism, a working implementation seems to elude us still.

Re:Ghost town effect (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655948)

This, my computer ran Crysis better than SL

SL does have some legit uses... (3, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653716)

I'm still convinced virtual worlds have a fascinating future in our lives -- Second Life may be a bit ahead of its time and needs more technology however.

There are also useful things going on there. For example, Cape Town Housing Project [] .

Here some students from Delaware, USA designed and built virtual homes for the townships around Cape Town. The designs were critiqued by an organization that handles this stuff in Cape Town in real-life. The students got some valuable experience. For example, designing a house with multiple bathrooms. Ah, no. Or using materials not readily available in South Africa.

I can see with time and technological advances that students won't have to truck into their local university, they'll be able to learn within virtual classrooms.

Greed (1, Redundant)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653728)

Linden Lab got greedy. That's what happened. They do all kinds of things to drive their revenue higher and higher, on th expense of the users, and i don't mean just their wallets, but enjoyability.

And yes, it's become quite desolent place, empty and eerie due to that. Nevermind, technically it's not very good work either ...

Re:Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654012)

Skal Tura is probably confusing Second Life with First Life. If mom is yelling at you to pick up your shoes, it is probably the latter.

BBC asked the same question (3, Informative)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653812)

BBC asked the same question a few months ago. Their investigation was a bit more comprehensive: []

There are two kinds of people... (1, Insightful)

ozbird (127571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653876)

... those that "get" Second Life, and those that begrudge them for it.

Re:There are two kinds of people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30653932)

I hate to say this but...mod parent up! Seriously, every time an article about second life comes up I can't tell whether I'm reading slashdot, or encyclopediadramatica. The line's blurred even more with the 4chanesque 'yiff in hell' comment earlier.

I'm not sure what the basis for the irrational hatred is. And it mostly is irrational, the only valid critiques I've seen fault the fact that doing regular things is more tedious in SL than the same task in RL, and the fact that the hype around SL was essentially a bubble. Those don't explain the irrational "get a first life" (get a life? from a slashdotter? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?) and other vitriol.

I'm not sure if you're right or not, but it's the most reasonable explanation for the venom that I can see....

Re:There are two kinds of people... (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654278)

I think it's the get-off-my-lawn luddism applied to old school Internet users. Anything to do with blogs or social networking gets the same treatment.

Only three stories earlier to this one, do we have an Eve Online story, with none of these criticisms. Of course, it's fair to say that a game is more fun than something that isn't a game, but the SL criticisms aren't about that. The "get a first life" style comments would apply to any online environment, be it IRC, Eve Online, or indeed amusingly, posting on Slashdot, as you point out.

Nothing happened to it (3, Insightful)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653898)

I had a gander in there a month or so back, seems pretty much the same to me (but much bigger).

The article asks "why it’s raking in more cash than ever before" - erm, this must be some new meaning of the phrase "went wrong" that I wasn't previously aware of!

The issue perhaps is that it's highly commercial now and there's a LOT of competition, and also there has been insane expansion during the land boom. So whilst you're probably the only one browsing a shop, there are loads and loads and loads of them. But whilst you have to look on the map for the green dots to see where the actual people are, there are still tens of thousands of them! They're not exactly difficult to find!

The biggest problem it has, is that it's become *too* full and 99.9% of it is crap. So you try to find an interesting event and all you see are pages and pages of yard sales and "money chair" non-events, and so it's a lot more effort trying to find someone or something that isn't about selling you stuff. But 'quiet' or 'empty' are certainly not words I'd used to describe that place. It's just not a media fad any more, but the population itself is right where it's always been.

Re:Nothing happened to it (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654190)

I concur, been on for most of a year, and while most of it is empty, there are areas of constant activity. I think a lot of the marketing tie ins are empty because they are like a commercial, they are all fancy and such but after a few minutes its all just the same from then on. Like a good web portal you have to maintain it to keep interest.

If the author had looked for an interest topic and searched around for related sims he'd probably end up on one that is active.

A lot of people interested in design are in SL as it does provide a easy 3d editing/preview environment.

I've noticed, many people with disabilities of one form or another enjoy SL as they can blend in with the crowd. Also as an educational tool it has lots of merits, for doing 3-D simulations, virtual re-creations and virtual personal experiences.

And for me, SL is excellent as a mini vacation, I go there I leave RL and I also leave my human form behind, there are a lot of non-human Avatars in SL.


argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654500)

The article asks "why it's raking in more cash than ever before" - erm, this must be some new meaning of the phrase "went wrong" that I wasn't previously aware of!

+1 Funny.

Hope its a fad (0)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30653976)

Second Life is not a new concept. TinyMUD did more or less the same thing in text form 20 years ago. Users could create content and visitors could look at that content.

Whether graphical or text what these player created realms have in common is that for the most part you are wallowing in a sea of shit looking for the odd gem. The majority of the place is a boring, inconsistent wasteland of geometric shapes and broken scripts. And since there is no fundamental purpose to the place the places that are populated are used like glorified chat rooms.

Where Linden have introduced a novel twist is by allowing players to exchange real money for imaginary money and vice versa. I'm sure it's very profitable for Linden. They get to rake currency exchanges, to sell land, to set the exchange rate and of course manage / benefit from all the real money while people play with the L$ counterpart. However it means Second Life has been home to all kinds of scams - gambling, ponzi, MLM, dubious "banks" etc. and the place has a mercenary streak throughout. It's really quite seedy even before exploring some of the more adult themed aspects.

So I wouldn't be concerned if the thing crashed and burned. It's probably overdue if it is a fad.

IRC... Mmm... (1)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654026)

I dunno about you guys, but, generally (unless I'm at work), I'm a console geek... There are only naim & irc clients here... No "Second Life" for you! Bad Monkey! --Stak

...heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654036)

The meta-verse, in this case Second Life is a development platform. It is not a chatroom, or a rock stage, or a strip club or any of those things. It is a 3D multi-user dynamically programmable environment and anyone who doesn't see it for that probably also had a hard time understanding what the web was when in it's infancy. Now, granted, I want to right away start throwing shit at Linden for just how craptastic product they ended up but when I think about it for more than two seconds the immense complexity of such a project and the countless technical challenges that I've heard of (and haven't I'm sure) really amount to one of the hardest pieces of software to write - so I ultimately give credit to anyone tackling those problems.

A lot of people turned the web into a porn filled chatroom too. Just wait until they figure out how to get first-class languages working. And the clients to go faster than 10 fps. When it becomes trivial to drop into SecondLife (or competing Metaverse) and write some public procedural art. Or throw some game development ideas between friends by actually trying them out in realtime. With LindenScript or whatever bastardized language SecondLife is stuck with, it'll never take to the potential of the idea. (Metaverses).

Second Life is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654136)

Relax, SL is just an IRC chat on steroids. It got hyped and Linden are shooting themself in the foot because of greed, but people have always loved to chat on the internet so it will still be around for a while.

I went there for a bit (0)

pugugly (152978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654196)

It's interesting, but

A) I run a fairly decent machine, not sota, but fairly spiffy, and it was neither pretty, nor fast. I could handle either or, but ugly *and* slow?
B) there was no depth to it (when I was there at least). There were some museums online that were neat, some other stuff, but it was most faux-sex(y) and rpg games that weren't quite on par with the more consistent feel of even a reasonably well run mudlike (But with bad graphics!).
C) The rules were entirely by fiat either by Linden or by the local landowner. Soooo - if you don't own a space you are a serf at the whim of the local lord. To be fair, some of those people at least got their nigh-absolute power in their domain by being talented people that came in early on, but as near as I can tell most of them simply had money to lease land and setup shop. Being a traveler with no real goals, home ground, or inherent worth is more like the setup for a Kafka novel, not a game I want to play. I'm not without any talent, time, or money, but not so much so that I want to invest either in a system like Second Life, just to be moderately less obviously under someone else's rules.

Just some thoughts. For me at least, it just didn't work - Pug

Re:I went there for a bit (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655754)

I tried second life as well, and discovered the same thing. However I think the slowness was because it was still downloading all of its crap. I'm pretty sure that second life actually brings new meaning to the word 'bloat'

Superceded (2, Informative)

GrubLord (1662041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654344)

Perhaps Second Life has simply been killed off by the far superior offering that is Sony's "Home".
... hahahahaha! :D

Had you going there, didn't I? Yeah, it's still awful.

Incidentally, though, it would seem that Sony's Home is also plagued by sex fiends [] . Maybe it is shaping up to become a worthy successor?

Second Hype (1)

Kylere (846597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654470)

I have never in my entire life (and I am a serious online geek, married to a Tucows geek) actually met ANYONE who was part of this MUSH. I still think it was press hype and PR rather than actual data.

Two Reasons (1, Insightful)

Hasai (131313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654644)

First, this twit of a journalist logs in at 1200 GMT, which equates to 0400 SLT(PST). The first country that I can find that falls into 'prime time' for that period is Nepal.

Second, SL has installed your typical Ivy League bean-counter as their new CEO. That is invariably the beginning of the end.

Second Life had Promise (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654724)

Second Life had magnificient promise in academia. I used to love exploring the International Space Museum, NASA's virtual home there, and the garden of Physics demonstrations, and the NOAA's island of activities.

Then I tried to bring my class of high school aged kids into Second Life to go on a virtual field trip to these places... only to be thwarted by Linden Labs policy of not allowing more than five people to log into the world from the same location. I looked online, and people told me to call Linden Labs and request an exception be made, but by that time it was too late to attempt the field trip.

Why ban multiple users from the same location? Greed. That has always been Second Life's main detraction. Unlike the World Wide Web, where anyone with a server can plug in and host content, Linden Labs has total control over their world. A virtual world will not work unless it is completely open so that anyone can plug into it and host content themselves. Second Life is just a fantastic ghost town now, filled with amazing creations by people who ultimately do not own what they have built... it's like the Roman ruins.

Their so-called claim of raking money in... (0)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655026)

That can easily be pointed at the increase in sim and server fees they tacked on shortly after their realization of the major loss of income when they axed the gambling industry.

This can easily be seen in their money market if you roll the scale back several years. They have yet to recover back to those levels. Trust me, when I say that this was not imposed by the Lindens on their own, the US and several countries were on SL's neck regarding RL cash being made out of the gambling parlors, and there was! SL blocked gambling outright, then tapered back the restrictions once they realized there were some forms that were not regulated, or flat out ignored. But the damage was already done to their financial structure.

These days, they tiered their sim fees, added on a couple more levels of land ownership (which costs more in the long run for less land, go figure) and started to get mean with the porn industry.

The creature biting its own hand in spite of it being full of food. SL won't last much longer with that kind of behavior, especially in this recession.

Stereotypes come true (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655472)

My sister is a home care nurse and last week she had to visit a patient who just had some surgery. The patient's 40-50 year old son lived in the same house to take care of his mom. While my sister was trying to take care of the patient, the guy kept asking if she used computers much.. then he kept talking about how he is always playing Second Life. Then he told my sister that she should try it out and look him up in game...

I figure the guy was probably just an extreme introvert, though it really creeped out my sister (who is in her 20s). Now that I've read this article I think he was trying to lure her to the sex island. I'll have to forward this article on and tell her she got cyber hit on in real second life....

Content (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655540)

There are some real gems in SL, such as the NASA museum.

I would love to use it to prototype architectural stuff. However, the engine is pretty old and not really compatible with models you could build in Blender or other 3D editor software. You need to do a lot of stuff in the SL editor itself, which is pretty nice, but I don't really want my creations locked away in their proprietary format. I've been looking at using the UnReal engine or the Valve Source engine instead (though I'll probably just end up cheesing out and using Blender's built-in game engine), which should produce better visual results and ultimately give me more control of my creations.

I think people like me who want to create things are waiting for something a bit more open, and, well, modern :/ SL was a pretty good first attempt at creating a 3D web with interaction features, though, considering how many real companies made an effort to establish storefronts and virtual conference rooms, though. Hopefully that effort will be preserved and brought into future metaverses.

Dead or not. . . (1)

DancesWithRobots (903395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655876)

You know. . .People will do what they please for fun. For some it's wandering around a virtual world chatting with friends, and making homes, gadgets, vehicles and clothing for fun and/or profit. For others it's reading articles on a news blog and arguing about it. *shrug* Takes all kind's I guess.
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