Could Second Life be a portal for the Metaverse?

I attended a wonderful Metanomics community meeting in Second Life, where Jennette Forager (Metanomics) interviewed Maria Korolov from Hypergrid Business, a website focusing on enterprise users of virtual worlds. Korolov talked about the development of OpenSim, the open source server platform for hosting virtual worlds. OpenSim is compatible with the Second Life client.

Maria compared the current metaverse situation with that of the web and AOL in the nineties. AOL had a big community and was very convenient while outside of that walled garden smaller sites developed, often very primitive and lacking big communities. This could not prevent people from trying out the wide open web.

OpenSim is very much like the open web, in this sense that you can start your own site world, eventually host it yourself, decide whether to link it up to the wider OpenSim grids or keep it private. The platform is growing rapidly, and trade in virtual goods is taking off. However, Second Life remains by far the bigger place, with large communities, sophisticated and convenient tools.

I don’t think the folks of OpenSim hope that Second Life will somehow disappear. OpenSim is catching up technologically, but typically waits for certain developments to succeed in Second Life (voice, or mesh import) before really introducing those possibilities on a large scale on OpenSim grids.

Korolov has a vision: that of Second Life as the place where one can meet lots of virtual worlds people, and which is a kind of portal for the wilder, Far West zones of the Metaverse – the OpenSim grids. For that to fully succeed, it would be useful to be able to teleport back and forth avatars and virtual goods from Second Life to the OpenSim universe. Problems regarding property rights could be solved by enabling content creators to restrict their goods to one particular world – Second Life, or some OpenSim grid for example.

Read also: The launch of the Hypergrid Adventurers Club – in search of Connectivity

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About rolandlegrand

I'm social media manager at Mediafin, the publisher of Belgium's leading business newspapers De Tijd and L'Echo. I have a special interest in the intersection of immersive media, business and philosophy.
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4 Responses to Could Second Life be a portal for the Metaverse?

  1. Prokofy Neva says:

    Read my comment when it clears the Reuters moderation queue, there are a number of misleading statements in that story, coming from the Lindens, and from Eric Reuter’s misunderstanding of the ad policy.

    The *islands* on the SL grid are the Lindens’ principle source of income. The mainland is only a cost center in staff time, sims, and programming.

    That’s why they are now trying to compete with their own residents in developing and selling land with “value add,” which will come in the form of these double prim city sims with 1024 m2 parcels and Art Deco infrastructure.

    They aren’t improving the mainland all over with fixing roads, adding parks to new auction sims up north, etc. They are making a set of mainland sims to sell for more, because their bottom line is of paramount interest. That’s understood.

    However, it’s always a balance — if they kill off too many of their customers’ businesses, people won’t want to play in their economy.

    This idea that these other open sim things are “rapidly expanding” is fake and based on a combination of their propaganda and Eric’s boyish enthusiasm for open-sourced technology that thinks it will make money. But…They aren’t expanding rapidly and don’t have any where near the capacity of SL.

    Even when they can add all sorts of things like moving inventory from sim to sim or having money and inventory exchanges etc etc there will still be a while before they could hope to compete with a robust and densely networked and connected world. Second Life isn’t just the sims.

  2. Pathfinder says:

    Thanks for the nice summary of the discussion.

    I think Korolov’s vision is right on track with how the future of the Metaverse will unfold. And the “problems regarding property rights” are exactly that….”problems.” Not impossibilities.

    Problems are challenges, and solutions can be found if people focus on solving them. It just takes time and the will to do so.

    I sincerely hope Linden Lab decides to work with the Opensim community to figure out the best solution to protecting property rights. Solving these challenges will ultimately benefit the growth of both Opensim and Second Life. *Everyone* will win in the end.

  3. Pathfinder says:

    Thanks for the nice summary of the discussion.

    I think Korolov’s vision is right on track with how the future of the Metaverse will unfold. And the “problems regarding property rights” are exactly that….”problems.” Not impossibilities.

    Problems are challenges, and solutions can be found if people focus on solving them. It just takes time and the will to do so.

    I sincerely hope Linden Lab decides to work with the Opensim community to figure out the best solution to protecting property rights. Solving these challenges will ultimately benefit the growth of both Opensim and Second Life. *Everyone* will win in the end.

  4. Jenn Forager says:

    I am so glad that you were able to attend Roland, and I appreciate your post. Maria is great, and so knowledgeable about how the technology is evolving. Hypergrid Business is a great resource for the community.

    Here’s the archived Livestream url of the event: http://bit.ly/MCF-21Oct

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