Second Life founder Philip Rosedale is returning to the company to help build the ‘metaverse’, but one without the need for wearing a VR headset, at least for now. For those who do not know, Second Life originally started in 2003, and a virtual online multimedia platform where users can create their avatars and build a virtual life.
The announcement comes as High Fidelity, the spatial audio company that Rosendal also helped cofound in 2013, announced it was investing in Linden Research Inc ( Linden Labs). Linden Labs is the company that created Second Life.
In a press announcement, High Fidelity said that members of High Fidelity’s metaverse team will join the company, and Rosedale will rejoin Second Life as a strategic advisor. According to the announcement, the transaction is supposed to help Second Life “scale its operations and strengthen its commitment to growing an innovative, inclusive, and diverse metaverse where its inhabitants’ ingenuity drives real-world value for themselves and others.”
It also looks like Rosedale does not believe that the metaverse will be driven by Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. He was quoted as saying in the press statement, that “Big Tech giving away VR headsets and building a metaverse on their ad-driven, behaviour-modification platforms isn’t going to create a magical, single digital utopia for everyone.”
“Second Life has managed to create both a positive, enriching experience for its residents — with room for millions more to join — and built a thriving subscription-based business at the same time. Virtual worlds don’t need to be dystopias,” he added.
Rosedale also told CNET that he sees Second Life building a better platform, which will be VR optional. He also does not think that Meta’s existing Oculus Quest 2 is enough for the metaverse to become a reality.
Nor is Rosedale a big believer in the idea of interoperability. According to the CNET report, Rosedale said that one would not want to use a car from say Grand Theft Auto into Fortnite. He added that while brands might love the idea of content interoperability, allowing such kind of content movement will break immersive experiences in a bad way.
Interoperability in the metaverse is supposed to allow exactly this. For instance, a user to bring a weapon or item from one game into another. For example, the gun used in Call of Duty could be used in Fortnite as well, if ‘interoperability’ were to exist as companies like Meta have been stressing. Rosedale also added that they will look at how Second Life will work on phones in the future, ads the report.
Second Life: What is it?
Second Life is an online platform, where you can create your avatar and play out its entire existence. The game launched in 2003 and has had close to 73 million accounts created. According to CNET, the active user base is around 900,000 or nearly a million.
It has nearly two billion user creations and made $650 million in revenue, according to the company. The game has been around for 19 years so far, and it has a strong virtual economy, one of its key features.
Second Life is also more suited to the idea of building a metaverse, given it has such a huge user base who have created avatars, a whole virtual life in fact on the platform, and these users are invested in it. According to the company, nearly 8 million unique items are sold on its Marketplace, another testament to its ‘metaverse’ like elements.