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Coldwell Banker To Sell Second Life Properties

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the piece-of-the-rock dept.

Businesses 175

Dekortage sends news of what may be a new development in the attempted mainstreaming of Second Life. We've seen plenty of examples of real-world news media, politicos, and PR campaigns setting up in SL. But so far most of this action has been about first-life organizations trying to gain real-world publicity by their forays into SL. CNN is reporting that the real estate firm Coldwell Banker is moving into SL for the purpose of selling and renting in-world properties. From the article: "Coldwell Banker has bought extensive tracts of property on the central 'mainland' of Second Life. (Most companies own 'islands' scattered all over.) It subdivided this digital land into 520 individual houses and living units, half of which it will sell and half it will rent... 'A small number of land barons mostly control real estate in Second Life, and we thought we could bring real estate to the masses,' [a VP explained]."

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Supply and demand (5, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475885)

Has Linden guaranteed in writing that they will never expand the world? If not, then Coldwell Banker buyers are idiots.

What is to keep Linden from increasing the amount of land? ( They did it back in 2003, IIRC ) Not only would this give them more space for more players, but it decreases the power of land barons. And having a 'new world' to explore would add more interest to the game. Anyone want to be Magellan? Or Columbus? There seems to be no downside for Linden to increase the ammount of land.
There definitely is a downside to NOT increasing the ammount of land: competition. If SL gets too crowded, that just helps up-and-coming competitors.

As supply increases, price decreases. There is not even the real-world parallel of "location, location, and location" to uphold property value in Second Life because of teleportation.

I predict that Coldwell Banker will lose their shirts on this one.

Re:Supply and demand (4, Insightful)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475899)

I think CW's buying the initial land in order to get the ball rolling on getting themselves involved in the transactional business of real estate on SL. Long after the current stuff is sold off, they want to be the agents you buy virtual real estate from later.

Re:Supply and demand (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475941)

I don't know much about SL, it strikes me as a world where most people have more money than sense.

Re:Supply and demand (5, Funny)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475949)

Hey that reminds me of another world I know.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Orpheus Liar (157914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475961)

Then you already know all, my friend.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478011)

Why do you say that? You say you dont know much about SL then you disparage it.

SL is not for everyone but it certainly for some. I enjoy doing things in SL that, for whatever reason, I found myself unable or unwilling to do in RL, sometimes for financial reasons (sailboat racing for example) and other times for more obscure reasons (I'm finally attempting to be an artist in SL, something I've always wanted to do in RL but never did)

Have I spent much mony there? No. Time? Yes.

Re:Supply and demand (2, Funny)

victortyt (1013495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476657)

buy virtual real estate
So, is the estate virtual or real?

Re:Supply and demand (2, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477675)

It's complex, duh!

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475969)

Linden seem to be masters of manipulating the media to the point where major companies think its smart to be involved in a game that actaully has very few players relative to other MMOs. I don't even know anyone who plays Second Life or has ever played it.

An interesting read on the subject:

Here [valleywag.com]

The article basically points out that when Linden says they have 4 million "residents" they mean 4 million avatars have been created. This number isn't even directly related to the number of people who regularly play the game in any measurable way -- but its a safe bet that the actual number of regular users is probably in the hundreds of thousands at the most. That may be bigger than some games, but compared to a monster like World of Warcraft, which easily musters 20 times as many regular users, it's really not that many.

WTF is the point of this game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476041)

and why does anyone care to set up news outlets, political campaigns, & real estate offices? It all seems rather lame to me.

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (2, Insightful)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476133)

Because when they do, the real world press writes about it.

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (4, Insightful)

I_Love_Pocky! (751171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476401)

I'm convinced that the only people "playing" second life are the people writing these articles. I think that technology columnists are fascinated with the idea of second life, and love to write about it. I can't fault them for that, because the idea does have interesting implications, but I think they do us all a disservice by continually giving attention to a "phenomenon" that no one actually cares about.

After reading countless articles about this wonderful new world of second life, I decided to check it out. What a piece of bloated crap-ware. I don't think the idea behind second life is worthless, but it's current incarnation is a joke.

I don't have a PS3, and have no plans currently to purchase one, but I think their new "Home" has a better chance of becoming popular than second life ever will.

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477013)

I think that technology columnists are fascinated with the idea of second life, and love to write about it.
Reminds me of the days of LamdaMOO.

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477155)

The issues really are.

1. You need a good machine with good graphics card.
2. You need a good internet connection.
3. You need to be on the grid at the right time of the day.
4. You need to know where the right places are.

Your correct, if your starting off for private tour to figure out what is going on, depending on when you enter the grid can make the place look like crap.

Do a bit of exploring. Some of the stuff is very impressive. Some of the places I found cool (in relation to design, neat).

Lost gardens of apollo: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Apollo/125/221/24 [slurl.com]
IBM: http://slurl.com/secondlife/IBM/104/3/601 [slurl.com]
Cisco: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cisco%20Systems%202/12 6/128/601 [slurl.com]
Ivory Tower (teaches coding): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Natoma/189/164/26 [slurl.com]
Wolf Mountain Ski resort: http://slurl.com/secondlife/PeachTree%20Resort/62/ 43/29 [slurl.com]
Dublin city center: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dublin/126/189/25 [slurl.com]
Little Seoul (still being built): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Korea2/13/0/27 [slurl.com]
Nexus Prime (gibson CyberPunk): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Gibson/128/128/0 [slurl.com]

There are many more but still exploring. :)

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (1)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478023)

I'll toot my own horn and reccomend that you visit http://www.secondseeker.com/ [secondseeker.com] a google ad supported but otherwise free Second Life review site. The above list is good, but there is a lot more.

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477583)

I'm sure some people go there, but anectodally, I don't know a single person who does. I know a lot of people. It's certainly not gamers who are 'playing' there for the most part.

The analogy to LambdaMOO in another response to you is probably an apt one.

Re:WTF is the point of this game? (1)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478037)

It's certainly not gamers who are 'playing' there for the most part.
And how is this is a problem? SL isn't for everyone. I guess the real reason is that it isn't about playing at all. It is about interacting, creating, or doing, or some combination of those.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475995)

The whole idea of virtual land is stupid anyway. They can let the space moderate itself; just let people decide who gets to have a 'door' into their space, and then the highly connected nodes are 'valuable', and it might even be worth owning land next to some that was highly connected, but probably not, connections are pretty cheap in lots of ways.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476265)

I predict that Coldwell Banker will lose their shirts on this one.

You missed one big thing - publicity.

What is the advertising value?

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476423)

The only people who will remember this stunt are us geeks and I'm not sure that targetting people who all too often live with their parents is that great of a decision for a real estate company.

Re:Supply and demand (5, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476277)

As supply increases, price decreases. There is not even the real-world parallel of "location, location, and location" to uphold property value in Second Life because of teleportation.

Well, not quite true: it helps to have e.g. a lot of merchants together in one place, as it's a pain to teleport 30 times to look at everyone's goods. So new merchants are going to want to be where the merchants already are. Although I agree you can't use the whole "They ain't makin' any more land" line here, as LL certainly can do that.

Still, I have to ask, WTF? Don't people play SL to get away from assholes who add no value but take your money ... such as real estate agents?

Re:Supply and demand (3, Funny)

rubberchickenboy (1044950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476281)

I predict that Coldwell Banker will lose their shirts on this one.

Maybe, but they're only virtual shirts, and they can just rez others.

Re:Supply and demand (2, Interesting)

paladinrocks (1079717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476299)

Am I the only person who doesn't get this? This must be the point in time when I must call myself old. I played MUD games (text-based) online games twenty years ago. I don't understand how a real company buys up land in a world that doesn't even exist, except in an online gaming forum?

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477441)

Reification > value creation > marketing
Your MUD probably had some powerful items,which only elite did have(Virtual items,Reification)
They are very useful in the context of the MUD (Value creation)
Imagine that someone offered you that items for measly 10$(Marketing)?

Re:Supply and demand (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477899)

I don't see what's strange about that, lots of people pay for things that don't exist physically. Insurance, for one. SL land is just like paying for space on a webserver.

I witnessed land increase just 1 month ago (or so) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476499)

So after playing SL on and off for almost 2 months, I decided to buy a property and see how I feel being an owner.

First thing I noticed was that the so called "First Land" is nothing but a legend.

So I cruise around and I find a nice spot located at the edge of the world. I think that's cool. It's nice because the edge of the world is water and I get a nice sunset with no buildings in the way. Also, it's private in one direction.

I buy the land from an online real-estate professional for around L$10K.

Two weeks later guess what happened? Huge swath of land just showed up. It was split in 64K m2 parcels. After a week or so of being there doing nothing (maybe it was still being worked on), it went on sale at auction. So much for first land.

I was hoping to buy some and do some real-estate myself, but it seems that the people who are good at it know all about how it works. All the land was quickly acquired by the same real-estates pros we see advertiseing everywhere. I hear they work with bots to buy the land.

Moral of the story? I don't think there is any. There is no moral in that game anyway. But a lot of people are very nice, so it's still fun to hang out there for that. It's also fun to just fly around and see what people create and do. There's a lot of diversity.

Re:Supply and demand (3, Funny)

John Hurliman (152784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476575)

In 2003? They increase the amount of land all the time. Every time someone buys a new island the amount of real estate in-world is increased, and the Linden-owned mainland continent grows all the time as well. Around a month ago over 100 new sims were added, and these sims the Coldwell Bankers bought were auctioned off meaning it was fresh mainland additions.

It's like when a company sells more shares, and all those idiot investors lose their shirts. You should probably get on the phone and tell Coldwell why they are idiots, and how if you were in charge you could save the company. They'll probably hire you on the spot.

Serious question (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476819)

How much did Coldwell actually spend on this?

Re:Supply and demand (3, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476647)

Has Linden guaranteed in writing that they will never expand the world? If not, then Coldwell Banker buyers are idiots.

Indeed. This is what happened with domain names. They went sky high, then lots of businesses crashed and they increased the number of TLDs, so people who had invested in the land grab didn't always win.

The other thing is that any theory of scarcity presupposes that Linden will be the only, or at least the winning, item in this area. If someone came along and offered an alternate space, it wouldn't even matter if Linden had put a guarantee in writing... the value could still drop due to ordinary competition. No one has guaranteed Linden a monopoly.

Cyberspace is big... There's really no reason for there to be a scarcity of real estate. It isn't, after all, real estate. It's contrived. And if the prices go too high, that simple fact should invite competition. A key defining characteristic of real estate is supposed to be that they're not making more of it.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476731)

The key thing that remains like the real world, though, is location. Proximity to the "good neighborhoods", the center of the mainland, etc. When they add land, they do it at the edges of the mainland, or in islands (as I understand, I've never played). But if there's a viable "commercial district", owning land in it will actually make a difference. Just like in Stephenson's "Snow Crash", there's essentially unlimited space to expand on the outskirts, but all the old clubs, cool stores, events, and "in crowd" people are located much closer together.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#18476937)

Just like in Stephenson's "Snow Crash", there's essentially unlimited space to expand on the outskirts, but all the old clubs, cool stores, events, and "in crowd" people are located much closer together.

And the furthest reaches of the 'world' contain a secret government lab building WMD's?

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477661)

But if there's a viable "commercial district", owning land in it will actually make a difference.

Why should i care for "physical" location if I can teleport wherever I want?

Re:Supply and demand (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477935)

Convenience.

For example, people in SL often try to buy land next to their friends' land. Sure you can teleport, but teleporting isn't completely instant, and teleporting has to be an intentional action. If you have your friends near your location then you don't need to specifically visit them, you'll see them when they're there.

This is why despite teleporting SL still has large stores with products from many vendors. When you're looking for something (or nothing particular at all) it's easier to just walk around one large shop than to teleport from one to another.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478003)

I see, thanks for the explanation - I don't play SL (as you noticed). However, it seems to me that these reasons call for SL being fixed to overcome these silly limitations they needlessly inherited from the real world. But that's just me I guess.

Re:Supply and demand (2, Interesting)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478071)

Well, it's something that will probably stay.

Imagine you could teleport instantly anywhere. No downsides. You could live in a cabin in the mountains, and instantly appear on a chair in the office. But even then I don't think people would just go live in a random place. If there's nothing but strangers around, you can't look of the window and say "Howdy, neighbour!". Teleporting would still take a conscious action, and suddenly appearing at somebody's house would be a disruptive way of trying to start a conversation (that's something you can do in SL, and which many people hate). Simply seeing somebody nearby is a perfect excuse to start talking, without being disruptive.

There's also the problem (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477133)

Of what happens if people stop giving a shit about a given game or perhaps "virtual universe" if you prefer. In the real world, while certain areas may experience a net loss in people, population keeps growing so overall there's more people who are in the market.

Well games, that's not the case. The player base can leave. UO and EQ are two examples of that happening. Once both were major players, and were able to claim more people playing them than any MMORPG before. Both now have dwindled to be minor players (about 1% marketshare in the case of UO). Thus if one had gotten in at the peak and banked on them continuing to grow, you'd have lost out. WoW is now the big dog by far, shattering every record before it and still growing, but for how long? At some point it will probably be supplanted by something else.

Thus speculation in game markets doesn't make sense in the same was as real markets. Expansion aside, people can simply move on, and if they do it isn't like they move to a new part of the world, they move to a completely different world (or worlds) with different rules.

Then, of course, there's always the question of what happens if the company pulls the plug. The servers go off, all of a sudden your investments are worth precisely zero.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477101)

Thought I would respond to this (and one of your responses) in one go.

If Linden Labs increase the land size it will have no real effect on the people with the houses.

As it stands now lets say you have the premium account (about $72 a year). That allows you to buy up to 512m3 without incurring extra costs. However the price to do that is about $1600 then a couple of $100 a month on top of that. Once you have land you can lease land for cheaper (works around $30 for three months) but you incur extra costs on top of that.

Even if you have the land you have to pay for prims (objects like walls, etc). If you want a good job of it you normally pay someone to build your houses/landscape.

But if you own land you can make money from it, mainly because there are people in the world who can't afford the initial prices. A price of say $9-$10 a month where you have a fixed abode to put your own items down is reasonable for a lot of people. I pay more then that for playing Eve. Apart from buying stuff in game, a lot of people use it as a kind of paypal.

It is also possible to earn money in the world, of course the better pay requires more work but if it is just general spending money you can find places like that too. Lots of places will have "camping spots". You basically sit down and do something for a set time and they pay you (more people in the zone bumps them up the searches). But some stores will actually pay people to act as store staff.

As to why do people play the "game". You need to change that mindset. It is not a game. It is a virtual world. There is no leveling/no high score. Lots of areas fall into sex related or shops but there are huge sections of the grid that put some of the current games in shame to the level of detail (eg "Lost Gardens of Apollo"). There are game areas, for example Toxican (vampire city) or Dune worlds. If thats what you are in to.

SL is probably not the future (IMHO their hardware can't handle it) but it gives a good idea of what the future could be. I've been using it for holding meetings with other team members around the world, as well as studying some coding from real world apps into/out of SL.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477769)

As it stands now lets say you have the premium account (about $72 a year). That allows you to buy up to 512m3 without incurring extra costs. However the price to do that is about $1600 then a couple of $100 a month on top of that. Once you have land you can lease land for cheaper (works around $30 for three months) but you incur extra costs on top of that.

As an ex-AD&D player, although I have absolutely no interest in World Of Warcraft myself, I can see the appeal of pretending to be a psionic goblin (or whatever) and running around in a pretend world with lots of other psionic goblins.

But playing around with *REAL ESTATE*??? Sheesh, you people SURE know how to have a GOOD TIME!!!

As to why do people play the "game". You need to change that mindset. It is not a game. It is a virtual world.

Thanks for that definition and for your sacrifice for the benefit of all. Because those of us who were thought of by others as being slightly "sad" for playing the occasional game of Counter-Strike or Doom (especially middle-agers like me) have absolutely nothing on you people.

Lots of areas fall into sex related

You really ought to try the real thing in a loving monogamous relationship as it's much nicer when there's at least two people involved in it. On-line sex always factors down to the same thing - someone sat in front of a keyboard trying to type with one hand...

Re:Supply and demand (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477995)

> I can see the appeal of pretending to be a psionic goblin (or whatever)
> and running around in a pretend world with lots of other psionic goblins.
> But playing around with *REAL ESTATE*??? Sheesh, you people SURE know
> how to have a GOOD TIME!!!

Even a Psionic Goblin needs to relax at home sometime. Been a few years since I played D&D but I recal real estate was also in it. :p

> Thanks for that definition and for your sacrifice for the benefit of all.

*shrug* The issue that most people find it crap is that they expect a game like WOW, UO. It isn't. It is a basically a 3D medium to do what you want in the same way Web pages are a 2D medium. Just because you think its nerdy is your issue not mine.

> You really ought to try the real thing in a loving monogamous relationship

Thanks but I already am. I was just describing what some areas of SL are like.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477721)

If a comet hits the SL data center, they're going to lose their shirts.

This has got to be the most spectacular example of foolishness ever. This is not real estate, it's virtual estate, and CW will be made to understand that the hard way.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478103)

Well, since the land is sold at set prices by LL, supply and demand doesn't really matter. As long as there's free land, it's gonna cost the same amount. Doesn't matter how much of it there is.

I wonder... (3, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475901)

If I can get one of those 30 year, first 5 years interest-only subprime mortgages here? Maybe this is the way to "save" the sub-primes - virtual property! After all, it seems that "virtual" clients didn't work to well...

Re:I wonder... (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476029)

Buy now or be priced out forever!

ouch........ (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475933)

Somehow this news made my brain urinate a little. No, I don't understand how that's physically possible, but nevertheless.

oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475997)

Damn.! What is wrong with you people?! Jesus.

Whoa Cowboy! (0, Flamebait)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476057)

OK, I have never played SL. I take it that SL is just some VR game? So, people actually pay real money so the can get a better "life" in SL? Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Can anyone say...... loser?

So now there is a real company selling _make_pretend_assets? You have got to be kidding me? So what happens if I create a person in SL, have this make pretend person go and get/buy a gun. Next I have this make pretend person go and shoot someone. Does that mean that in _real_life_ I get arrested for murder?

Please, I am not trolling here. I have never played these type of "life" games. I am an old-school dude that played D&D games like Secret of the Silver Blades (dang, I loved that one).

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476093)

you sure went to a lot of formatting effort to ask stupid questions and generally look like a shithead

why did you use the bold tag but not the underline tag

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476221)

Huh? Your comment doesn't even make sense. Oh, an why are you posting as an AC? Seriously.

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (2, Funny)

tm2b (42473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476111)

You don't understand...

When you die in New Jersey, you die in real life !

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (2, Interesting)

Asztal_ (914605) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476147)

No, but you could have your account warned/suspended for abuse(shooting someone can send them flying quite far, depending on how the weapon is made). You can't kill someone, by the way - even if you trapped them in a box or whatever, they can teleport out.

(PS. If you ever go into the sandboxes in Second Life, you'll see all sorts of other types of abuse too - floating batman cubes/bananaphones which follow you around playing an annoying/catchy* loop, hundreds of stupidly high-detail models just left lying around by their long-gone creators, bendy penises which follow people around annoying them, thousands of physics objects which attempt to waste the simulator's resources, etc.)
*delete where appropriate

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (2, Insightful)

rubberchickenboy (1044950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476297)

Can anyone say...... loser?

The five million people who spend varying amounts of time in Second Life have probably heard the word before. Has it never been applied to you for playing D&D? Well, OK then...

So what happens if I create a person in SL, have this make pretend person go and get/buy a gun. Next I have this make pretend person go and shoot someone. Does that mean that in _real_life_ I get arrested for murder?

If you're in areas of Second Life that allow people to be killed (most of the areas don't). So, no, there's no ramifications for killing someone in SL. That doesn't mean there won't be someday. I could see a time where SL avatars' real life owners are sued for the equivalent of Denial of Service attacks.

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476349)

I'd mod you up, but I'm a coward.

SecondLifers need to first get out and improve their first one.

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (4, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476453)

I take it that SL is just some VR game?

Some VR game with, apparently, the BEST PRESS AGENT EVAR!

Seriously, they're in the news every damned day with stories like this. And yet the only people who actually play Second Life are furry pedophile rapists. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but that's the reputation the game has. How the hell do they get all this press? Sexual favors?

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (1)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477951)

VIRTUAL sex favors at the virtual strip club.

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476773)

So, people actually pay real money so the can get a better "life" in SL? Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Can anyone say...... loser?

Well quite a lot of people also subscribe to slashdot. Why? Ask them.

Re:Whoa Cowboy! (0, Flamebait)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477581)

"OK, I have never played SL. I take it that SL is just some VR game? So, people actually pay real money so the can get a better "life" in SL? Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Can anyone say...... loser? " Real life already has the same concept in place: It's called Religion. I suggest you go enlighten them aswell.

Bringing real estate to the masses, in SL... (1)

NewToNix (668737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476069)

and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and other important issues...

More or less likely to use CB for a real house? (1)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476119)

Does this make people more or less likely to use Coldwell Banker for real (ie., meatspace) houses? Or does it matter?

Re:More or less likely to use CB for a real house? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476175)

well, John Edwards (the fraud lawyer, not the fraud psychic) set up a second life campaign headquarters. He also has a second life wife with second life cancer.

Re:More or less likely to use CB for a real house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476635)

Awful yet hilarious.

hmmmm (1)

Spookticus (985296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476163)

I wonder how much they would sell me Badlands for...actually all I would rather have is just Uldaman, I could easily turn all of them dark iron guys into my minions and just like invade the rest of badlands, maybe setup a post in Loch Modan. I hear its nice there in spring.

The appropriate tag is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476165)

"whocares".

I mean, really, people can see where this stuff is going and why there is a market for it but, honestly, beyond that who cares?

Blurring the line between real and virtual (2, Insightful)

2Bits (167227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476231)

When people are too addictive to games such that the line between reality and virtuality is blurred, it starts to get into a dangerous point. Life suddenly becomes all about speculation, nothing is real and no productivity is gained for human societies as a whole.

It's the worst kind of speculation we can have, worse than speculating on the stock or commodity market. If you buy a bunch of stocks on a company, and if the market crashes, you still own bits of that company, and the company may be just doing well, making a profit every year. If you buy the so-called lands in SL, and if SL were to die, what are you left up with?

I think this is where gamings are dangerous. And this is an area where I support legislative control. We already have regulations on stock markets, on currency trading, on casino, on auction, on the general trading, etc, we might as well have regulations on the worst kind of speculation: speculation on nothing.

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476603)

A fool and his money will soon part ways; there is no way to legislate against foolishness.

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (2, Insightful)

MaelstromX (739241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476611)

Your comment makes no sense. Any number of other commodities would lose all their value if suddenly they had no use to people anymore, and it's not a scenario that's unique to imaginary assets. If Second Life "dies" you are left with a valueless property, the same way that an exodus of people and businesses or an environmental disaster might leave real life property worthless.

A smart investor will not put his money in something that has the risk of becoming valueless. Evidently, Linden has made many people very confident that their world will be not just up and functioning but thriving for a long time to come, and therefore its land has legitimate value in the same way that anything else might.

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477201)

A smart investor will not put his money in something that has the risk of becoming valueless.

not true. no one would invest in start up companies if this was true and private equity would be almost non existent. and then, mortgages wouldn't be written in Florida for a primary house(because in bankruptcy court, you can't take someone's primary residence in the state(I know its a simplification, but assuming no other assets that the court can force to be liquidated...). The rule is simple, the bigger the downside risk(probability weighted , that is), the more upside you need to accept it. Its not a question of there being some downside breaking point, it just requires a raising of the upside bar(or simply lowering the current price to bring it all back to equilibrium).

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477383)

"A smart investor will not put his money in something that has the risk of becoming valueless"

you mean like the futures market?
I disagree, its a matter of risk.

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (2, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478051)

If Second Life "dies" you are left with a valueless property, the same way that an exodus of people and businesses or an environmental disaster might leave real life property worthless.

The only problem there is that real physical property always has some level of intrinsic value simply because it physically exists. Sure, it might not have any people living near it, and it may be somehow polluted or wrecked by natural disaster, but there is always intrinsic value in matter because it is, well, matter.

This is significantly different than what "virtual property" is, which is really an embodiment of human effort. Basically, I think all "virtual goods" need to be treated as a service, because they are really the result of creative effort or time spent by individuals; there is no other value associated with the virtual items.

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476805)

I think trying to create an economy that allows for proper speculation while at the same time being completely under another company's control, it like asking water not to be wet. While there's clearly a monetary value to virtual items (like selling MMORPG-equipment on ebay), it's temporary. They could change the rules at any time, but that'd destory gameplay so you can be fairly sure the powerful sword you bought today is a powerful sword tomorrow. That predictability is the only thing that gives it value. It's not just a matter of regulating the content itself, SL could do all sorts of tricks like making TARDIS-like housing, choking the amount of new users which would force a price drop, rearrange the map/view/default starting locations to make the "center" be somewhere else, anything and everything. By the time you have it regulated in well enough, it'll be about as fun as investing in the stock market. Take it for what it is, it's basicly an e-penis. As long as you pay more than Joe Average (both for starters and in upkeep), you'll have this fancy thing to show off to your friends. This speculation is in that SL will be the next big e-penis thing and that it'll somehow be a status symbol to show how much money you've wasted on this. How can you possibly regulate the value of a SL property when the only value it has is perception? Might as well try to regulate the market for pet rocks.

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476821)

It's the worst kind of speculation we can have, worse than speculating on the stock or commodity market. If you buy a bunch of stocks on a company, and if the market crashes, you still own bits of that company, and the company may be just doing well, making a profit every year.


Not if they've gone bankrupt. They you are left with nothing. In the real world.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:Blurring the line between real and virtual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18477517)

There's already a couple words for that nothing. Sad thing is that they're what makes up most of our so-called economy these days. "Intellectual Property". Also known as "useless bullshit". It's really time for the people to wake up and for governments to repeal the laws that protect this global scam.

The real question is . . . (4, Insightful)

GeneralAntilles (571325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476235)

Who the hell actually plays Second Life? I seed tons of stories on /. and digg about it, but out of all the incredibly geeky people I know, none of them plays Second Life (or at least they wont admit to it).

Re:The real question is . . . (1)

darth_fishy (1067640) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477125)

I think that's the issue with SL. From my limited experience with it its mostly non-geeky, but computer literate people who play SL. You're graphc designer with a good grip on Photoshop but not your typical alpha-geek.

It appears, entirely from anecdotal evidence, that it's more the artistic types that prefer SL. This might explain why it's such a weird place for us hard-core geeks (for any given value of hard-core).

Re:The real question is . . . (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477139)

I used to. Actually, I was in the beta, and I got back into it about a year after it went free.

Eventually I just got bored with it.

wow... (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476311)

i actually don't even understand this... like, i've never played second life and i simply don't even understand how one could sell land in it... i dunno, it just doesn't make sense, from an outsider's prospective. obviously, i'm not the target market, and i give props to companies for understanding this "new frontier", but still, yeah, i just don't understand...I'm gonna go back to drinking in my first life, since there are some cute girls here, but uh, enjoy second live for those people that, um, don't have a worthwhile first life...
-Taylor

Re:wow... (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476781)

uh, enjoy second live for those people that, um, don't have a worthwhile first life...

Sadly, many do not have it indeed.
Yet I fail to see how a game increasingly becoming close to real-world rules (financial speculation and stuff) is attractive compared to the real world.

This made me check my calendar. (3, Funny)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476319)

The first thing I did after reading the summary was check my calendar. April 1 is still a week away though. Maybe they're just trying to get ahead in the April fools market.

Re:This made me check my calendar. (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476457)

That has to be it, because it is in all other respects absolutely crazy.

Schwab

Personally... (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476501)

I don't really care about any Second Life news that don't feature flying penises.

Do any of you actually use Second Life? (5, Insightful)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476509)

Do any of you actually spend time in Second Life? I'm not talking just popping in and poking around once in a while (I've done that), I mean you spend significant amounts of time in the world, you've actually invested some time and energy into making your character your own, and maybe you even develop content for it. I'm more interested in people who are more into the actual enjoyment of the world rather than speculators or people strictly trying to sell their wares.

The reason I ask is because so many companies seem to be on the bandwagon of this thing, but my friends are almost uniformly tech savvy early adopters and I don't know anybody who's ever logged into it other than to check it out and laugh at it. I've got nothing against it, and if anybody uses it I'm not going to laugh at you or anything. I may not see the appeal, but I don't see the appeal of a lot of things the average person likes. I just haven't seen anybody else who really likes it either, and that's made me question its popularity other than as a kind of inside joke.

I do think it's a great concept, and I'm sure true virtual worlds will be all the rage someday. I'm just suspicious that anybody actually sees this as a good enough implementation to really start spending time there. I've heard the furry community has taken up residence there to some extent, but honestly when I log in I hardly see any concentration of people anywhere, furry or not.

You can ask me questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476549)

I play it enough, and I studied how it works a fair bit. Overall, I appreciate the game, but I'm not a big fan. If you have any questions you can go ahead, I'll try to answer everything I can.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (4, Interesting)

Mondo1287 (622491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476577)

I've seen the press for this roll by for the last couple of years. Finally after seeing this post I said well I better see what all the hype is really about. I, like your friends, installed it and laughed. Anyone remember MTV's Tikki VRML world from about 10 years ago? Well I was instantly reminded of it. Someone at Coldwell must be delusional, or Linden Labs paid them a heafty sum and gave them free land. It's the lamest thing I've ever seen as far as modern content goes. Is this what they mean by Web 2.0? I think I'll be sticking to my first life with the occational raid in World of Warcraft. Who has time for a second life anyway? I just can't believe businesses are pumping money into this, or is it just media fluff? There is just no way this is going to be very profitable for anyone but Linden Labs. Any company looking to diversify into a market like this really ought to consider sticking to the real world.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18477111)

Is this what they mean by Web 2.0?
No, that tends to involve web-pages.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477153)

I think the reason is because it is the only game that lets them invest. Investment companies are ALWAYS looking for new, hot markets to expand in. Given the massive rise in gaming, I'm sure they want to get in on that as well. Ok so you can buy stock in game companies, but you know the hedge fund managers are looking at the whole buying and selling of virtual items. It's not feasible to do in most games, since the companies outlaw it and thus it is kind of a black market activity. However Second Life encourages it. Thus, that's where they flock to.

I'm betting that they'll find, as others have in the past, that you really can't make any significant amount of money in it.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (5, Interesting)

cruachan (113813) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477287)

It's easy to miss the point of Second Life, because the eyecandy is nowhere near the same level as WoW or similar. Graphically it's certainly around desktop game circa 2000 and the Lindons certainly do have a bit of a blind spot about upgrading it - largely because they seem predominantly focused on server-side issues at the moment.

However SL isn't really a WoW competitor. It's more like IRC in 3D - think of it as a chatroom where you can actually do things with the other people there. And of course virtually *everything* in SL has been constructed by the people in it. True the building tools have limitations and there's vast amounts of crap. but equally there's some very imagenative stuff too. The scripting language is by no means a toy too, even though that has some major flaws.

It's also an interesting question who does play it. I see several groups :-

1. Newbies. Vast numbers of people sign on, hang around the public welcome areas briefly, do a little touring then never play it again. It's quite common to see later reactions from them on /. and the like saying 'I looked and the graphics were crap' - which misses the point about SL being a social thing as above.

2. Wankers. Literally. A friend of mine who owns a SL club believes 50% of signups do nothing else but cybersex fot the first month. I think she's proberbly right.

3. Designers, Builders, Coders. Although the tools are limited with imagination there's a lot that can be done. SL seems quite a common outlet for amateur designers, coders and 3D artists. It may not be cutting edge, but you tend to get a lot of attention and feedback. If you're a professional coder then SL is well worth a look as it does have potential and some of the Lindons actually hold open office hours so you can talk to the game designers directly if you wish.

4. Roleplayers. There's large communities of roleplayers - most of whom spend 90% of their time in roleplay sims so will never be encountered by newbies. A quite common scenario is for a group to jointly buy a server, construct an enviroment, then play in that. Sort of like design your own game and play it using SL simply as an environment to do that. Roleplay covers a wide range from extreme characterization to mild 'wouldn't it be nice to live in environment X' types. Tends to be very hardcore players who spend a lot of time in SL.

5. Social players. Similar to roleplayers in that they have a community of friends but without the roleplay angle. Again these people hardly ever go near the common meeting places so a newbie will never pick up on them. A large part of the 'core' SL players are in this group.

6. Others - musicians, speculators, educators etc etc

People can belong to more than one group of course. Myself I am uncertain about the future of SL. Against it it has

a. Relatively poor graphics
b. Architecture limitations - the *bloody* asset server is a major pain point. It's not clear how far it can scale. The 50 avs in a sim limit is laughable for example.
c. It has a certain reputation in some influential quarters
d. The Lindons appear to be a bunch of bloody hippies :-). Certainly their business methods need to take a step up.

But for

a. Because the world is user constructed and designed to be at a fundemental level - and not given, as in WoW or other games, then in theory it can evolve. Games with Everquest, WoW, Eve etc cannot move forward in the same way.
b. It is one world and not sharded
c. It does provide enough tools that there is room for professional level interest in it.
d. It's totally generic
e. It has an established user base of people with graphic, building and coding skills who can jointly take it forward as the tools and capabilities improve. Real first mover advantage that.

On balance I think it likely to be here to stay and evolve as the prime metaverse. However I expect it to be the first among many (possibly with interconnections) and remain a minority interest for many years yet. It is worth your time though to look at it on a deeper level than simply 'ooh the graphics are crap' or 'it's just full of wankers'.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477851)

Well, to each his own I guess, but I always thought that games like WoW are a pointless waste of time. Great, I get to grind for months and in the end have not gained anything of actual value for all that effort. In SL you can at least make some cash if you try a bit. In WoW you'll never be anything more than a little cog in a giant army. Even at level 60 you're just another level 60 character. On the other hand, in SL you can actually be rich and famous, and become so through your actual skill, and not just by being patient enough to keep killing rats.

Some people tell me that they play WoW as a way of socializing. In that case, SL shouldn't be hard to understand -- just like WoW, but graphics aren't as good, there's no game, you can make your own stuff, and it's not nearly as restricted in what you can do. If you want to look like a cleric, or a big demon that can be had in SL without having to grind to get good looking equipment. After playing WoW for years you'll still have nothing to show for it, while in SL you might actually acquire some valuable skills.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (2, Interesting)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477777)

Yep, I do.

I've been using SL for a little more than a year so far. Went there with the explicit idea of that I'd probably script something, as the idea sounded interesting. So I got a SL account, and now it got to the point I pretty much have a monitor dedicated to it.

I use SL mostly as a glorified chatroom, and don't move around much, primarily hanging around in Luskwood. If you want a concentration of furries then check it out, but have in mind that right now it'll be quite empty, as most of the population is American. There will be a lot more people in a few hours. I'd say the problem with SL is the same as with any IRC server, until you find a place for yourself it's hard to figure out what to do there.

I also like SL as a base for certain coding ideas. I run a reputation system as an alternative to the one provided by SL, and also do some work on the SL source code. In that sense, SL is appealing because it's already there, so I only have to add my ideas to it, and it offers a large potential user base. I think that SL is appealing for a programmer, builder or artist in that it's a very convenient medium for saying "hey look what I made" and getting a reaction (and perhaps even cash). You see people working on all sorts of interesting stuff.

So what do I do in SL? I mostly hang around and talk to people. It's a bit nicer than IRC in that you can have a more RL-like conversation. People can easily gather in a group and talk about whatever they want without having to form a separate channel. Sometimes I wander around and check out cool stuff [daleglass.net] people made. I try building a bit. Sometimes I try playing chess [daleglass.net] with rather bad results. I script and change the SL client. IMO, SL is a bit overhyped right now, but it's still pretty fun to be in.

Re:Do any of you actually use Second Life? (1)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478077)

Do any of you actually spend time in Second Life? I'm not talking just popping in and poking around once in a while (I've done that), I mean you spend significant amounts of time in the world, you've actually invested some time and energy into making your character your own, and maybe you even develop content for it. I'm more interested in people who are more into the actual enjoyment of the world rather than speculators or people strictly trying to sell their wares.
Count me in. I've been spending 1 to 3 hours a day in Second Life since about November. Stopping in and poknig about is not the way to go about it. Immersion is when you start to appreciate it and that's hard to do without significant time. I have 2 characters that are quite different from each other and one has recently started developing content.

I don't sell anything (but I do get some pittance of ad revenue from my web site) and really don't plan to. If it happens, it happens, but that's not why I'm there.

SL is about creating and interacting. If you are doing stuff all alone you are missing out on a huge part of it. Maybe that's why the geek community rejects it? I don't know...

Paul aka PleaseWakeMeUp Idler aka Seeker Gray

Second Life? (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476555)

Really, I think some people need to get a First Life [tm].

Re:Second Life? (1)

Speed Pour (1051122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476683)

Get a First Life [getafirstlife.com]

Call this post redundant if you like, but some things clearly bear repeating...especially to people dumping fortunes on something with a completely imagined value.

Coldwell Banker cares about you (1)

Wax_and_Wane (558470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476643)

From the summary:
But so far most of this action has been about first-life organizations trying to gain real-world publicity by their forays into SL

That sums up Coldwell Banker's move into SL as well.

. . . . 'A small number of land barons mostly control real estate in Second Life, and we thought we could bring real estate to the masses,' [a VP explained]."

Mainland real estate is the worst in the game and is already for the masses. It is hosted on the lowest class of servers (known as Class 3 compared to the latest Class 5) with more sims per server than "privately owned" Islands. Coldwell Banker is another stodgy corporation with no motive for being involved in virtual worlds other than trying to gain mindshare with the 18-35 demographic.

The whole financial concept of treating virtual space like real life land is flawed anyway. As metaverse-style systems evolve to become more distributed like the internet (an eventuality to which even Linden Labs concedes) these real-life style spatial limitations will seem silly. This market exists in this form only so long as Second Life is run exclusively on hardware controlled by Linden Lab. Linden Lab has already stated that at some point it intends on getting out of the hosting business and instead intends to license the SL server software. So as if a thinking person needed anyone to point this out, this land has no long term value (say 5 years). Coldwell Banker acting like they are taking SL land as a serious investment is all hyperbole. To them it is more like buying up Beanie Babies in the 90s and saying that " a small number of Beanie Baby barons control the Beanie Baby market and we thought we could bring Beanie Babies to the masses."

Gee thanks Coldwell Banker! My heroes!

Is SL wants it real, then.. lets give them real.. (3, Funny)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476663)

Virtual World War? Virtual riots? Virtual pillaging? Virtual squatting? Virtual Crime? Lets let the value of land plumet as it would in those real life situation.

RTFA (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476695)

This is 100% about publicity and not money. They state that any and all profit will simply be reinvested into SL...

OTOH they do want to make the process of buying a house or land or whatever inside SL easier and more trust-worthy... maybe they will become trusted brokers for transactions and help people avoid being swindled due to ignorance of how SL works?

I look forward to more companies establishing helpful services within virtual worlds. Would be even more amusing to find companies like Toyota putting characters into middle ages style MMORGs to sell you vehicles "You really want to get the full warranty on that chariot, if it blows an axle you'll want to be covered"

Who plays this? (1)

LittleImp (1020687) | more than 6 years ago | (#18476843)

According to mmogchart.com SecondLife has around 65'000 subscribers. So if you look at all the articles about SecondLife, it looks like only journalists are actually playing the game.

urh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18476869)

Does anyone actually play this game? I had a look at it, and never met another soul.
Somehow.. it just did not appeal at all.

yuo fail 1t!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18477041)

systems. The Gay 5how that *BSD has

This is depressing (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477097)

I have a balloon payment coming up on my castle and it's value has dropped in half since the trolls burned all the surrounding forest. You know things are bad when gaming and internet based entertainment is as stressful as the real world.

A Brilllllllliant Game! (1)

CyberGenesis (1064776) | more than 6 years ago | (#18477653)

Like well I've just got back from the Cafe, where I was discussing stockmarket spirituality with my friends. You know I'm really a very imporant person...Priceless

Second Life is a brilliant conceptual masterwork...Priceless

Its like a second me in there- not as special as the real me though...Priceless

I tried it out after getting pwned in this horrible working class game called World of Warcraft but OMG I did see Ponies in there...Priceless
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