Thursday, 23 July 2015

147: Project Sansar -- good news, bad news

By now you may have read other articles by Second Life bloggers about Project Sansar, which is Linden Labs' code-name for its project for VR headsets like Oculus Rift. Ciaran Laval's is 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.
   But there will definitely be a place for the hobbyist creator, I think. "Linden Lab's goal was to turn Sansar into a WordPress for VR, allowing enthusiasts and big brands alike to build VR experiences without spending tons of money and man hours on custom programming ..."
   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.


  1. I cannot see myself using an Oculus Rift headset every time I want to go on to a virtual world, and I get 90% of the people in Second Life today agree. I cannot lock myself away from reality. Sansar is going to be a very different experience from Second Life -- and one that is going to be geared to potential acquisition by Facebook or another company. And my guess is that it will not have the graphic sophistication of Second Life. One more thing -- the reason why Sansar is not going to be prepopulated with experiences is because it will cost too much money to do so. I do think that there are going to be more sex restrictions though-- Linden wants good publicity for Sansar, and having virtual female hookers with huge breasts who are really men in real life using voice morphs -- living in a special continent called "kinkorama land" (I am describing the Zindra of Second Life today) is not going to increase the market valuation of the place.

    1. You have some good points. Admittedly it's early days yet -- I'm very curious about these developments, but I can't say whether my comments are anywhere near close to what might happen. The only thing that seems nearly certain is that early adopters will be in the best position to learn fast and adapt quickly. (Whether that's valuable is up in the air.)

  2. I agree with Eddie. I like Second Life as relaxing escape and not one with contraptions strapped to my face like an alien out take. When SL ends I am afraid Ziggy will end too.