The podcasting world is abuzz with the whole Second Life phenomenon and when you stop to think, it is downright funny. I won’t even go into my reservations about the motives behind the hype… listen to my last podcast for that. I want to talk about the game itself.
I would say that the majority of the participants in SL see it entirely as a game… which it is. (At its most basic, SL is about cybersex and purchasing in your fake life what you cannot afford in your real life) There is a small percentage that see their SL as a business only, with no interest in the gaming aspect, just as a way to generate real $US… which it is. Now in the big middle are a bunch of folks who are actually playing the game AND trying their hands at a cyber business… that works too. The smallest (and perhaps most delusional) people on SL see it as a way to change the world.
WHOA Nelly! Back the cart up! Change the world? Come on! They purport that SL is the future of online communication… no longer will we use chat programs and email… it will all be done via avatars… wow – what the heck are they smoking?
It will NEVER be more convenient for me to log into some bandwidth sucking game, load tons of the most guady looking buildings, rooms, landscapes and yes… avatars – just so I can send you a message. It will NEVER happen. The future is going to contain a lot more faceless communication (ie. email, skype, cell phone, chat.) Sure, you will get the person’s picture on the screen when a call or chat comes in – but it will not be in real time.
The problem with the plan IS real time. I don’t know about you, but I only have 24 of those precious hours in a day. I can shoot off 50 emails and numerous chats in the time it takes to have one real time conversation. Real time conversation is a time drain – just as Second Life is a time drain.
At the end of the day – TIME will tell… and TIME will show these folks that as the “future of communication,” SL remains a pretty fun game… emphasis on game.
Read on to see my predictions for SL
Predictions for Second Life
-*- Podcasters will continue to go to SL in droves in an attempt to be in the “cool crowd,” and of course to increase their listening audience.
-*- Some podcaster who are savvy marketers and understand SL will actually do well.
-*- The public hype will peak shortly after podcasters stop talking about it.
-*- A LOT of people will spend a lot of money trying to make money in SL and get cleaned out. (Land has no value as they can create more anytime they want and locations mean nothing as you can teleport anywhere you want. The currency (Linden dollars*) will continue its hyperinflation because it is not a true market. As more people join, the value of the $L goes in the toilet. Simply owning money in the game COSTS you real money each day.)
-*- Linden Labs will make a lot of money for the original team and they will cash out HUGE when they pitch it as the latest buzzword – a social network. It will be sold to someone who doesn’t understand it and doesn’t want to get left behind. (ala Rupert Murdoch and myspace)
-*- The world will NOT be changed in any significant way
-*- The next big thing will hit
-*- Second Life will evolve or die
* – my friend Tony pointed out this brilliant marketing scheme. Everything in the game is about purchasing… what better way to market your company than by naming the currency the same. I bet the Google hits for Linden is going through the roof. Oops, I just contributed to it again – haha.