With the founder’s return, Second Life discusses venturing into the metaverse

Throughout the metaverse hype of the past few months, we’ve seen all the new names and speculation on virtual properties. Many times, we’ve thought, “Wasn’t Second Life already doing that?”. In any case, it appears that the people behind Second Life agree and are trying to pull our attention back to their virtual world that (rather conveniently) resides in a place you can access using your existing computer.

Second Life Founder Philip Rosedale has rejoined the project as a strategic adviser to strengthen the “commitment to growing an innovative, inclusive, and diverse metaverse.”. Following the launch of Second Life, he’s been working on a virtual marketplace for people to sell their skills and a neuroscience collaboration.

High Fidelity, a telepresence experiment that took a step back from developing head-mounted displays. Nonetheless plans to invest in Linden Research, which owns Second Life. According to Rosedale, High Fidelity will relocate seven of its employees to Second Life. In addition to the patents, the deal also includes two concerning community moderation in decentralized environments. Early participation in a space, as we’ve seen with TiVo and Nokia, could lead to ownership of technology that eventually becomes more valuable.

An attraction with some limitations, Second Life

After launching Sansar, a virtual world designed to be a successor to Second Life, a few years ago, Linden Research sold the project in 2020 to focus on its main game. The Wall Street Journal reported that Linden will work on tweaking the social and economic aspects of Second Life to drive user growth. The game allows real-world users to withdraw money from in-game sales and things. It can attract younger users with its better avatars and lack of ad tracking system commonly associated with Meta / Facebook.

Rosedale admitted that the game has technical limitations, such as the inability to hold more than a hundred people at a time in one area. But told CNET that its current state could give it an advantage over VR-first “metaverse” projects. He is skeptical about NFTs and has dreamy ideas about interoperable platforms. But he suggests that mobile usage of Second Life or a webcam used to animate your avatar’s facial animation would help it grow a lot more than anything that requires the user to wear a VR headset.

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