I’ve come back to ‘Second Life’ after 15 years. This has been my experience

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In Engadget we have talked a lot about the concept of metaverse. Not only the one that Meta wants to build, but also the one imagined by other companies such as Microsoft, Nvidia and Epic Games. In many of your comments you have remembered the mythical ‘Second Life’as a virtual environment in which many of the things proposed now could be done, but almost twenty years ago.

I remember that I was a user of the platform and that in its beginnings it was advertised as a virtual world free from the limitations of the real world. You could play games, meet people, buy property, and even set up a “business to make money.” The promise was undoubtedly interesting. Founded in 2003, the platform experienced some popularity in its early years, but for some reason it faded away.

In 2007 it had around 1 million monthly active users. However, the number of users began to decline. In 2017 users were 800,000. The decline and lack of growth led Linden, the company behind the project, to lay off some of its employees and reorganize. Interestingly, in a world where many companies fail completely, Linden managed to survive. How alive are you today? Let’s see.

Second Life in 2022, a lonely platform

Returning to Second Life after so many years was easy, although I had to overcome some difficulties first. I first signed up for the platform in 2007 from my old Windows XP computer (brief moment of nostalgia). There were no password managers back then, and instead of writing down a piece of paper, I relied on my memory.

In 2022, not only did I not remember my password, I also forgot my username. I sailed to Second Life login page and tried to regain access. First, I got my username back, but when it was time to get my password back, the platform asked me for the last names of three of my “friends” in the virtual world.

Second Life

I only had their names for reference. Even playing daily, it would have been difficult for me to remember them, but it had been 15 years since I entered Second Life. This alternative was simply impossible and useless. It was time to make a new account, but I didn’t want to give up.

So, I started browsing old emails and voila! I found one whose subject was “Welcome to Second Life!” from August 23, 2007. Translated into Spanish, the text welcomed me to Second Life and congratulated me for registering. In the lines below it was followed by “your avatar name is…” and “your SL password is…”.

I had completely forgotten that in those days certain services sent you the username and password by email. Surprisingly I entered those login details in the official platform viewer and in a few seconds I was already inside the world of Second Life. My first impression?: “This has changed very little.”

The game’s interface and graphics looked a lot like I remembered, but I I was expecting a more substantial update, which apparently was not, although obviously some changes were implemented. In any case, the first thing I thought of doing was updating my avatar. I couldn’t go out into the (virtual) world with which I had created so many years ago.

Avatar SL

In the Avatar menu I found an option called “Complete avatars” and I soon realized that this section has been updated. Personalization has been one of the strong points of the platform. You can customize your avatar as much as you want, but there are also fully configured ones to go from.

I, at that time, chose that full avatar option, specifically the rocker one. However, I didn’t quite like the idea of ​​wandering around this world with a guitar, so I removed it from the menu. Appearance > edit wardrobe. I was ready to start exploring, so the next step was to visit somewhere.

On the menu Destinations there is a section with the most popular of the moment. I expected to find hundreds of users in each destination, but to my surprise there were only about 30 users in each of them. I opted for “Big Daddy’s Rock Club” and was transported there. In the chat of the place I asked if someone spoke Spanish, but I had no luck, I tried to converse in English and it didn’t work either, so I decided to just dance.

Dancing In Sl 4 001

A destination called “Old Town – Winterland” claimed to have 23 people. Upon arrival I found a lovely place with Christmas decorations, but completely empty (perhaps I arrived a few months before the action starts). I also visited a destination called “Veritas Lux Mea”. The residents, meditating in front of a Buddha statue, instantly welcomed me. When asked what could be done in that place, several answered “15-minute meditations.”

Snapshot 003

Shortly after arriving, the meditation ended and I was cordially invited to stay in the place as long as I wanted. I must admit that at one point I was taken aback. In the virtual worlds of games there are no places of “meditation” and usually chaos abounds or raucous situations that seek to stimulate our senses.

Second Life is not a game, but a virtual online world in which people, called residents, can act as in the real world.

But that visit made me realize that Second Life is not a game, but a virtual online world in which people, called residents, can act as in the real world. Having accomplished my mission there, I decided to explore another place. At “Cigar Yachts” I found a place to watch a beautiful sunset and I was able to ride a jet ski for free.

sunset sl

Moto Water Sl

In “London City” I found a beautiful city and a poster that invited me to talk, although I didn’t have to whom. A little later I found a street artist who received donations from residents, a bar where he could buy cocktails, listen to music and play Paintball, among other games. It is curious to identify how virtual cities impose their own rules, as if it were a real city.

This also happens in private communities, which have government members and rules. One of them is the Confederation of Democratic Simulators. But there is more. As time passed she understood the dimensions of this virtual world. Second Life is huge and you can find everything from medieval landscapes to contemporary cities, museums and shopping malls.

London City 1

London City 2

London City 3

Of course, at least in my experience, I have found very few people, and almost no one who speaks Spanish. Apparently this changes within private communities, but this time I have not felt the need to “invest” in this virtual world. If you change your mind you should go to the Linden Dollars, the in-game currency that can be purchased with US dollars.

Some destinations have buildings made by Linden, but most of the richness of Second Life is in the creativity of the users. You can pretty much do whatever you want. The House of your dreams? It’s possible. A rental car company? It can. An entire city? It also can.

Most of the richness of Second Life is in the creativity of the users.

As I mentioned above, the possibilities also reach the customization of your avatar. You can change your physical attributes as much as you want, you can even decide to be a fairy or a vampire. Of course, if you want to change your hairstyle and opt for a more sophisticated wardrobe you must go, as in real life, to a store and pay for it.

In its heyday, big companies like IBM, Reuters and the BBC had a presence on the virtual platform. It was the place that looked like the future, and if it was the future you had to be there. The equation for companies is simple, where there are people there are potential customers.

Nevertheless, the popularity of the game never became so great and over time it was diluted. Currently, its graphics look too old-fashioned, possibly causing younger users to flee, the handling is not as intuitive and, as we have seen, it is difficult to find who to interact with.

However, now it is back on the scene due to the metaverse concept recently promoted by some Big Tech. Would it have the possibility of reviving Second Life? The Meta metaverse we’ve seen is still far from what Mark Zuckerberg promised us (it looks like a bad copy of Wii Sports).

The ambitions of the parent company of Facebook are enormous because it wants that, through virtual reality glasses, we can immerse ourselves in an immersive virtual experience almost indistinguishable from realityalthough for this it still has to create technology that does not exist.

In any case, despite the difficulties that arise along the way, and although its success is not guaranteed, Meta is willing to spend millions and millions on this project (although possibly less than initially stipulated).

Not much is known about Linden’s earnings as it is not a public company. However, the company revealed that total sales and transactions in the virtual world was 650 million dollars in 2021. This makes it clear that the company’s investment capacity is limited in relation to other players.

In the absence of a metaverse, a social platform in virtual reality: 'Horizon Worlds' officially arrives in Spain

According to TechCruchLinden founder Philip Rosedale has returned to the company with an unspecified investment of money through one of his companies. He also brings patents and developers with him to take advantage of his experience and develop the “metaverse” from his own perspective.

rosedale wants to take virtual reality glasses out of the game and bet on existing devices, such as computers and smartphones. For now, the company is preparing an update to its user interface to make it simpler and plans to launch an official client for iPhone and Android. It remains to be seen what will happen.

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In Engadget we have talked a lot about the concept of metaverse. Not only the one that Meta wants to…

In Engadget we have talked a lot about the concept of metaverse. Not only the one that Meta wants to…

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