Thursday, December 21, 2006

SL Tech Roadmap

Clickable Culture went through and dug out some important facts from Cory Linden's tech roadmap presentation. You can view the Clickable Culture blog post [HERE].

Here are two of the biggies-

- In 2007 we can expect to see Firefox integrated....FINALLY, and in Q1 allegedly.
- SL plans to go open source next year. To me this leads to a lot of questions...But I'm excited about the possibilities.

If we can implement our own version of Second life on our own

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Good with the Bad

The hype is here about Second Life, but again, what do the numbers tell us about Second Life's success? A Clickable Culture blog post shines more light on Second Life's user retention numbers. Essentially right now a lot of people are checking Second Life out, then moving on. Less then 10% of the user base stays after 90 days. Check out the blog post [HERE].

To me this sounds really bad, but I've got no metric to compare other micro payment games to. I have a feeling this low retention number is bad no matter how you slice it, but maybe not quiet as bad as it seems. Anyway, once again, more evidence that Second Life has issues that tend to point to it having an uphill battle to fight to remain viable over the next few years.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Not Just SL

Clickable Culture has an interesting article about an in-game virtual company going RL public in the world of Eve Online. Check out the article [HERE].

Second Campus to Begin Dreaded 'Outsourcing'

Originally we thought about using SL residents to create our virtual campus. We scrapped that idea as Second Life was such a cool project that there was a lot of interest and everyone on our development team was eager to jump on board and develop in SL. Well, with a bunch of new projects coming up and the danger of Second Life becoming the red-headed step child project we have decided to start recruiting in-world talent to create our virtual domains. I'm actually pretty excited, as outsourcing much of the building and scripting in SL will free up our development staff to start working on projects that desperately need to move forward. I think "crowd sourcing" to a user base of about 200,000 active users will produce much better results then what we can do on our own given our limited resources and time, and I've pretty much thought that from the beginning. But now we have about 2 guys that are SL gurus and another 3 or 4 of us who are near guru level in SL, and I think in crunch times those skill sets will come in handy. Also all of us learned a few things in SL that will translate to how we go about building other projects which will include non-Second Life virtual worlds, so the time was definately well spent.

IBM's Spin on Second Life

Very interesting read. Check out CNET's interview with one of IBM's virtual pioneers [HERE].

Friday, December 15, 2006

Two Million

It happened, sometime last night Second Life's total residence went beyond the two million mark. In my personal travels of late I am meeting a lot of new users from Spain, Romania, and other European countries, so it seems that Linden's gamble of opening up registration a bit to be more inclusive of other areas in the world where having a credit card is a little less common paid off. But before we get to overwhelmed with the two million mark, let's take a skeptical view of this number.

The total residents number is inaccurate. Many users have one or more alts, plus Linden has not disclosed that I'm aware of how long they keep inactive accounts around. There was also the password compromise issue a few months ago, that caused many users to have to create new accounts, so there might be a sizable glut of non-active accounts still counted toward the total residents that will never be used again.

The following list of numbers provided by the Linden's is probably a truer way of gagging SL's usage.

I'd say that the residents logged in over the last 14 days is probably the most accurate number to use for gagging how many people are using SL. Second Life has about 325,000 active users. Still an impressive number considering when we first started looking at Second Life back in March there were a total of about 155,000 total users. Also back in March at peak times around 6:30 PM SL time we would see concurrent usage hit just shy of 5,000 users. Now I am seeing close to 17,000 at peak times. Plus that number now doesn't really dip below 10,000, where in the old days late at night I would see SL usage drop down in the low 2,000's.

So, in reality what we are seeing with Second Life is a lot of hype, a lot of people checking out SL, and then a lot of people shrugging their shoulders and leaving. Not good. I think in some ways the hype has hurt the Second Life environment, as more people come in seeking money and fame, and this has hurt the "fun" element of Second Life. There are less and less fun things to do, I don't see as many role-playing groups active in SL as there where when the number of total players was less. Yet there is no shortage to malls and virtual strip clubs and casinos. Those only entertain for so long.

So, what has been the rate of growth for Second Life over the last year? I would guestimate that the true user base of Second Life has grown a little over 3x. Very, very respectable, but not 15x which some will claim just by taking a very cursory look at the numbers.

What does this mean for SL? Retention of the user base is a huge issue. Right now they have the hype working for them, but that will only take SL so far if the virtual environment doesn't keep people wanting more. We need more virtual amusement parks, more games, more mercenary groups, more fighting, more serious usage which will be totally dependent upon Linden getting the platform stable and adding a few more controls, and less lag. Else Second Life will be nothing more then a niche virtual environment that will be a foot note in history.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second Campus gets a Hospital

We will be adding a small hospital to Second Campus East that should be completed mid-January to demo some of SL's role-playing/scenario possibilities to our college of Nursing.

Looks Like IBM is Going Long on Second Life

IBM releases a little more info about what they are up to in Second Life. One interesting tidbit is that IBM allegedly has about a 1000 employees that are active in Second Life, plus several thousand more who pop in now and again. Read the full article [HERE].

Monday, December 11, 2006

Reading Lindenese

Clickable Culture has a nice blog post on how to read through "Lindenese" and really get at what is going on with Linden's Second Life numbers.

Check out the article [HERE].

Second Life makes American Airways

Check out there in-flight magazine article [HERE].

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Green Light

We, at last, have a green light for a Second Campus early adopter program. Stay tuned for more announcements.

How is Second Life and Similar Tech Used for Education?

We all know SL is great, I think on some level we all "get it" but don't know exactly what it is that we "got" when we think about using SL in an academic environment. Another article addressing this is a post on Harvard Law's blog about when online/computer simulations add the most value in educational use.

Check the article out [HERE].

Go Long, Go Short, or Go Home?

Capitalizing on the recent phraseology of what is going on in the war in Iraq, here are a few interesting perspectives about if using the Second Life platform for serious use if viable. Read the Oddcast's "10 Reasons to Go Short on Second Life" article [HERE] and Chris Carella of The Electric Sheep's rebuttal "10 Reasons to Go Long on Second Life" [HERE].

Haven't found a Go Home article yet, but I'm sure they are out there.

And by the way, I like Rumsfeld.