It‘s been a year since at Vwbpe (Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education) Linden Lab Ceo, Ebbe Altberg (aka Ebbe Linden), listed the limits of Second Life, admitting that it was necessary to make “easier for normal consumers to use” the platform, many subcomponents of which appeared not to be “great”.
This year, in his speech at Vwbpe 2015 Altberg, who spoke in voice to an audience of about 200 people (among avatars present in world and users connected in streaming) letting his avatar wear a formal dark suit instead of a nerd gray T-shirt like last year, stressed on the one hand how they were made important steps forward to improve the “usability” of Second Life in these 12 months, on the other hand has promised that will be further improved the user experience, including entry points.
“It is sad to see content disappear because of the cost” he then recriminated, however, explaining that there will be no substantial changes in the levels and structure of Second Life costs: “We charge for land, but almost nothing for transactions” underlined the manager, adding that “If we lower property taxes, we will need to increase sales taxes”. A debate that to me sounds very familiar even in “RL” terms, I do not know if is the same for you, so it will be interesting to see if and to what extent there will be a rebalancing of this kind.
As for the new platform, Altberg reiterated he wants to call it “Next Generation Platform, not SL2.0” and that after 8-9 months of work (over 30 engineers are engaged in developing at the moment) you can see good progress. Having thought “why SL hit the ceiling” with a “peak at 1.1 million monthly users”, it was decided that the Next generation platform “will support mobile from the beginning” (alleluia…). The contents will remain the focus also of the new virtual world, but will be much more “important” than the current ones. To become an alpha resident, this summer, you will have to know how to use Maya while“after summer we will invite more people as it gets easier to use” the new platform.
There is still no to switch off in sight shortly: “It could be years before you decide to use this new thing instead of SL” (and here it is not clear if it is a promise or a threat). By the way from the beginning Linden Lab will make the new virtual world accessible from multiple platforms, focusing on virtual reality and PC and so that all contents will be accessible both with devices such as Oculus Rift both with normal computers.
There will no longer be, on the other hand, a specific Linden Programming Language (will be possible to use the most popular programming languages in the new virtual world) and wanting to remain an open platform, however proprietary, “whatever we don’t supply 3rd parties can extend to provide additional solutions”. Once the platform will be more accessible, thus presumably with the opening of the beta (phase in which formally always remained the same Second Life), no earlier than one year or more from now, “it will support many tools including Blender”.
Finally, the Next generation platform will be accessible to any user as long as at least 13 years old (which seems to confirm the intuition that Mondivirtuali had already about the fact that the reservoir of new users could be constituted by the Blocksworld users). As last considerations Altberg reiterated the importance of “strong communities” of users (and God forbid, since we are in the social media era), the willingness to allow the use of about twenty different world currencies besides the dollar to make transactions on the next generation platform, the availability to the use of multiple “personalities” through a single account, thereby decreasing the number of “alt”, 3D stereophonic voice, avatars “completely new” which won’t have “nothing borrowed from SL” and a new physics engine currently in development together with a “third party” which shall be responsible providing it and keep it updated in the future (was he talking about High Fidelity?).
If you are curious about how to further evolve Second Lifeand how will be the Next generation platform, intended to be “less world, more platform”, you just need to continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is even on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it and on Paper.li, as well as on Youtube).