Third and final part (here and here the first two parts) of the analysis of Rosario Di Girolamo (aka Dep1050 Plasma) about past, present and future of virtual worlds, particularly Second Life, and their rules. The article was originally published on SLnn.it in September 2009, but preserves its meaning. Good reading.
Third point, the future: what to do?
Given that after the time passed without breathing regularly pulling and pulling, as Luce Naval says, fatigue is accompanied by disappointment, because the relationship efforts / results tends to infinity and the gratification and satisfaction tends to zero, there is only one thing you can do: take note of the situation and evolve, or be tied to the limits requires the platform and follow the times and destinies. Reduced to a minimum, the situation is as follows:
– Linden Lab must come out from the crowd with a usable client, if they wants it will be adopted by the mass;
– Linden Lab has received a year of unexpected technological advantage, because of the general crisis, which has slowed the development of other worlds. But these are now coming, are more technologically advanced and, from the point of view of the market, more sophisticated;
– Second Life is a software (nothing more!) which is oriented to a specific market segment and with a very specific connotation: that of adult consumers with a propensity for creating contents. But not necessarily all of us want to create contents;
– Second Life suffers from a fundamental flaw: it is not viral, because its value proposition for the consumer market, which has now passed: “alternative life”, not “extensive experience”. These things have to be paid, because there is not a massive propensity to involve acquaintances/friends (as opposed to Facebook and MMOs). Even some of you have two identities on Facebook;
– Second Life suffers in this moment of alienation/fatigue by its users and it is difficult for now to foresee a major generational change;
– Second Life, as far as we know, also is redefining its market, from consumer to business (video conferencing, content sharing, dedicated servers). The business market, unfortunately, is totally different from the consumer market (and as a matter of fact after two years the attempt to evolve in the direction of an”enterprise” SL has failed, LmS);
– Second Life will have a set of APIs to interface with Web standards. For the moment it is just buzz (and largely still remains so, unfortunately, LmS);
– I can not count more the number of virtual worlds that are on Kzero: apart from those for the teen, whom on Second Life have never been, there is a range of products targeted at that segment of users, which was not there before, or at least not so massive (two years after the high number of virtual worlds is only marginally decreased, LmS).
As the “think tank” of this Italian cultural movement, one has to make a deep reflection that goes beyond of self and exceed, in some cases distorted, with whom we communicate the 3D experience for adults (twenties who “frag” do not need them): sorry, but I still hear things like “I do this IN Second Life”. Ladies and gentlemen, Second Life is a software, things have to be done WITH a software, not IN a software: I am writing WITH notepad, I will send WITH Thunderbird. I understand that one goes in, that my avatar is technically a content of that world, but I, and especially my thoughts, am not.
Now that the “gold rush” ended and fortunately is over the evolution is running its course, selecting the weakest carnivores. The perceived need is clearly: leave the confines of the grid, which has failed in these three years (just for this reason SLnn.it, initially thought only for talking to Italian SL users, has evolved into Mondivirtuali.it and tells different stories to a worldwide audience, LmS). Beyond the obvious technological deficiencies and strategic mistakes attributable to Linden and the Italian cultural backwardness (though I think it is much more severe), I think it’s worth reflecting on the opportunities that this “dead time for the market” has to offer, taking into account that there are diverse professional skills and expertise and unquestionable, and acknowledge that in times of crisis there are only a few ways to get out of it unharmed: lower costs and concentrate on a single “core business”.
Among experts in multimedia, marketing, people who have web platforms, journalists, academics and non-writers, filmmakers, architects, builders, scripters and various thinkers, focusing on one project, two at most, to be implemented united (I said “united”, not “together”) to take-off, could be a road, provided that the business model is well thought (unfortunately, two years later still have not seen a major joint projects with a good business model: maybe Italians simply aren’t able to be “united”… LmS). Otherwise, you can just follow the fate of the platform and wait, hoping that even now free spaces are not jet occupied by competing platforms. Byez!