here -- he seems to have a good grasp of what's being talked about, as usual -- and the original article in, of all places, Variety is here. Both are well worth your time. There's one point on "instancing" that Ciaran Laval understands a lot better than I do, and I think you should read what he has to say about it.
It seems clear that the Lindens will be tinkering with the economic structure of the new virtual world: "Land in Second Life is quite expensive," said [Ebbe] Altberg. Trade, on the other hand, is barely regulated. Linden Lab now wants to lower real estate taxes and increase sales taxes, he explained, to make it easier for people to pitch a tent in its virtual world." I'm not sure of all the ramifications of this, but it seems as though the days of the land baron will be coming to an end; creation of things like clothing and hair will possibly be focused in the hands of fewer designers since the economics will make it more difficult to sell one's work.
They're going into beta now; 1.0 could launch by the end of 2016. I think it's finally time to start looking into buying myself an Oculus Rift headset and getting ready to make a change.
And the bad news? Buried in the last paragraph. "Altberg said that Linden Lab isn't pre-populating the world with ready-made experiences or things ported over from Second Life. Instead, it's betting on its users to start shaping their world. 'It's gonna start from the beginning," he said."
So -- I think I just cut my virtual clothing budget in half, if not more, and I'll be putting that money in a mayonnaise jar towards an Oculus Rift headset. Why bother buying virtual items you will only use for a little while? Take it from me, this is the loudest bell you've heard yet that signals the "end" of Second Life (although I suspect they may continue to support it, or even give away its code to anyone who wants to maintain the servers; it's still economically viable).
I'm excited. A little bit sad at hearing the first ring of the death knell for Second Life as it currently exists, but actually looking forward to what's coming down the pike.