Rosedale: I was wrong with Second Life

    by -

    Philip RosedalePhilip Rosedale continues to believe (and to try, with High Fidelity), but so far virtual worlds have failed to take hold in the mass market.

    Second Life in particular, still active but linked to a niche of just a million active users all over the world, has failed, as the same Rosedale told GeekWire site after speaking at the SEA VR conference about virtual reality held a few days ago in Bellevue, because only use keyboard and mouse to interact brings to users a learning curve too heavy.

    On average, recalled Phil, to “play” Second Life at best you must spend 40 hours to learn all the commands: too much, so that many people leave after trying a few hours to play in Second Life.

    To be honest I suspect that this is just one aspect, others can be the fact that Second Life is essentially a virtual world dedicated to those who want to create content rather than those who want to benefit from it, even for the above limits (and it’s not for sure that everybody wants to create content rather than enjoy them) and because as agame” SL lacks of rules and objectives.

    Philip Rosedale has however admitted: “I was too ambitious at the time. I thought we’ll just figure out how to use a mouse to do this all. But it was too hard”.

    Now, however, virtual reality could offer a second chance to platforms such as Second Life: whereas before it takes hours to figure out how to do things through mouse clicks, now in a few minutes you can figure out how to make them more intuitively, thanks to new hand controls and 3D viewers for virtual reality.

    Moreover, the experience that you can now get from a virtual world experienced in virtual realityversion is much more immersive and realistic.

    It means, I think, that we’re going to finally see a breakthrough in the number of people who can participate in these experiencesadded confident Philwho pointed out how the relationship with Linden Lab remained good and how his former company was indeed among the first investors in High Fidelity, but he has preferred to separate start over.

    It is amazing how little people understand the ideas of shared virtual spaces” concluded Rosedale who believes that all this is “staggering because we proved them wrong (not to believe, ed) with Second Life”.

    I think people still don’t understand what good things happened, and how people used Second Life, and why they’re using it today. But it’s fun working on something that futuristic and hard to understand”. A concept that, unfortunately, in Italy finds investors willing to share it even less than in the US.

    If you want to know how it will end, continue to follow, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on, on and on Youtube).


    1. Hello, I am a long user of almost 8 years. I am so interested in learning all about sL. Do you know of any sites or real people here in Orlando that I can get together with so they can show me everything about second life .I would love to work for you helping in any way. Do you reply to real people requests. Please I am so interested.

    2. if second life really wants to compete with games that have pure win/lose challenges, then it should provide those scenarios with a dramatically superior graphics engine.

      and Philip, you weren’t wrong. Second Life is what it is as a result of millions of people. You created it & set it free, and for that you have some peoples’ eternal thanks!

    3. I think this article demonstrates that “geeks” seem to have enormous difficulty understanding how the rest of us think. SL was hard to learn but it was doable. What was annoying was the repeated requirements to go through that over and over and over again! We learn how to build with prims, they introduce sculpties. Some of us figure that out, they change the viewer completely. Some of us figure that out and they introduce mesh. And they think the introduction of 3D and hand controls will make things easier. They will nwver get it. They are so focussed on attracting newbies, they don’t care about all they oldies they’ve lost. Why not fixed the bugs, excuse me, KNOWN ISSUES, before they dash off and “innovate” yet again. SL is more focussed on the interests of their young male developers than they are on their largely middle- aged female users. For many of us it was never a game. They should just merge with WoW and get it over with. 🙁

    4. i dont get this so many people are on second life that not becouse its to hard but most i know that left its becouse ther pc/lap cant handel the grafic they just have a small or old computer
      second thing is buying the linden it is just too
      so dont trow in your players its like saying we to stupid to find things out how it works
      games like WoW are too complicated stil we do like to play it if it wasent so expensive

    5. I know the founders may have their own idea of what SL is, but to most who have come to enjoy it and stay, it is NOT a game and nobody “plays” it. They live another life in a virtual experience, with so many options to either create, buy creations, have fun with friends or explore the extensive ideas and concepts that have taken shape for almost 16 years. Since there is no achievement system in place, it can never be called a game. As said before, it’s a virtual experience. I admit that some of the controls and shortcuts can be too much sometimes, but overall, it’s easy to adapt. I happen to enjoy SL, I like all the options mentioned above and no matter what I end up doing, whether it be diving into an MMORPG or trying out RL for a while, I’ll always come back to SL. That’s saying a lot, since some of the actual games I’ve played and grew bored with, will NEVER see me again. 🙂

      • I tried SL back in 2007, when the learning curve was steeper than it is now, and generally the world seemed less welcoming. I came back four and a half years ago, after a year in Utherverse (made by former SL staffer Brian Shuster), and while SL’s a bit harder than Utherverse, it’s got so much more to offer.

        SL’s not built around sex. Utherverse/Red Light Center is. There are so many other things to do here, that it’s utterly worth learning the interface for me. Some of my Utherverse friends don’t agree, and I can’t fault them. They gave it a good try and find Utherverse more congenial. That’s the beauty of a free world, there’s no “right answer.” But here in SL, you can be anyone, almost anywhere, and there’s almost no social engineering – which was becoming tiresome about the time I decided to do most of my online presence here in SL. I go back to Utherverse for visits, and nothing’s changed enough to make me go back there.

        And since Project Sansar and whatever Zuckerberg is paying Utherverse to develop for the Oculus Rift are both eventually going to wind up extensions of Facebook, it’s not hard to see that we won’t have the freedom in those projects we now cherish in Second Life. Sad, really, and I can’t see the console gamers leaving their more user-friendly MMPORGs for “Facebook in 3-D.”

        Facebook is so tightly circumscribed (and so obviously a way to data-mine its users’ personal information – it keeps pestering me for my phone number, which I don’t give out to strangers, not even billionaire strangers) that it’s almost the “anti-Second Life.” Any attempt to re-tool it by the guy who made a fortune with Facebook has to be regarded with suspicion.

    6. Second Life it’s not a game. It’s a platform to create, even to create games inside of SL, but not a game itself. It’s also about social interaction and communities for all kinds of people. I.M.O. So it’s greater than a game.

      • Exactly. Thinking of SL as a game is misleading. Instead everyone can create games inside the platform. So if they want to play a game with goals and objectives in SL, then they should search for those games inside SL. There are many, from chess to tug boat hokey (lol) to ww2 combat (some) and lots of roleplay (of course), not to mention races, regattas and all the vehicle simulations.

    7. If Rosedale got it “wrong” when he developed Second Life, let’s hope he gets it wrong more often. Second life has been long running and successful. Just because he forsook it for a new pet project is no reason to dish badly on it. The new Sansar project the Linden Lab folk is promises more restrictions on users creative tools and probably a manditory subscription fee. Alas there may come a day we morn good old SL.

    8. “essentially a virtual world dedicated to those who want to create content rather than those who want to benefit from it” I’m sorry but i find this a rather strange thing to say. The whole premise of Second Life was a flat world on which users can build what ever they want, it’s what made it popular and is what keeps it going 12 years on. The vast majority of users consume content from a small percentage of creators in order to enrich their virtual spaces as well as improve aspects of their real lives and its no different than a game having an in-house development team chucking out new content every couple of months in a patch or update. We have huge annual fund raising events for a multitude of real world issues, how is that not a benefit to its users. SL Users gather everyday together form around the world and chat and talk, express their troubles, get support, how is that not a benefit?

      The reason Second life was not adopted by the masses was indeed because it is too hard. It’s not dumb enough for the those who play standardised video games, or for those stuck in a preWeb world. If second life has failed at anything, it’s that it has failed to be dumb enough for the masses.

      • You’re so right, Loki! The fact is, people enjoy the content here in SL every day, and the fact is, there are a thousand new things for every member to see… SL is so rich in invention that it IS a strange criticism of it that we have so many avid creators of content. We’re blessed by all the folks who pay out significant amounts of tier money to offer others happiness and wonder – why, exactly is that a “bug” and not a “feature”?

    9. Crazy man thinking doing another second life more simple go have million of people…they go close this sl where we play,now have less people,sims,shops,anything closing there because the high “tier” not the way we play…and the new server go get some curious and close both…old and new second life empty.This is my opinion.

    10. I don’t think the main culprit is the learning curve. Maybe it is for some, and of course it could be better, but there are more reasons. I met a newbie just few days ago and he was about to uninstall SL. As many I met before him, he had no clue of what really he could find in SL. He gave a look, for some hours, wandering here and there, but eventually he got bored. So I showed him vehicles, we ran a train for a while too, then he was amazed by the Galaxy ship, we had fun in the snow in Voss, and many other things. Eventually he liked beaches, but, well, he didn’t uninstall SL and he’s still in SL.

    11. “Failed?” I think not. A failure indicates nothing was achieved, and Second Life survived a global recession to be a viable community. It didn’t even need to be bailed out by Western Europe’s banks to do that.

    12. “Failed?” I think not. A failure indicates nothing was achieved, and Second Life survived a global recession to be a viable community. It didn’t even need to be bailed out by Western Europe’s banks to do that.

    Leave a Reply

    Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.