Panel Discussion - What Linden Lab Should Pay Attention To

In the second part of a panel discussion,  guests  Jessica Lyon, Project Manager of Firestorm, Jo Yardley, owner of 1920s Berlin, Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica. JJ Drinkwater, Virtual and real life Librarian and Pathfinder Lester, Community Engagement specialist (and the ex-Pathfinder Linden) discuss the more human side of virtual worlds and how The New World could be improved.

There are plenty of references to past SL fiascoes,  programs that were abolished and projects forgotten. There is also an interesting discussion on retention levels and attracting new users to the new world (to any world really).

While I was not riveted to part one of this discussion, this one has much more useful content IMHO. They got on a roll or perhaps got around to things they really wanted to say.

CG Textures and the New SL TOS

Since it was mentioned on the Second Life forums a time or two that the litmus test of the new TOS would be two fold. First would a long time real life mesh creator who felt he would be breaking real life laws by accepting the TOS of August (enabling him to continue with projects or claim his money sitting in Linden Lab coffers) would return. Second would be if C G Textures would once again let their offerings be uploaded into Second Life.

So far I have not see the well-spoken, helpful and intelligent creator return -- he is likely moved on. I did however, do a little research into the CG Textures position.

This article on Jo Yardley's blog pretty much says it all.


In completely unrelated news, I heard that a new grid will be opening up mid August. I have very little info beyond its name and the knowledge that at least one Inworldz mall owner will be abandoning her region to start anew.

I will of course be checking up on the new platform. I am assuming it is based on the Second Life model -- only because that is where the grid hopper will be coming from. I may be surprised. Hopefully so.


The State of the Nation - July End

Things seem pretty calm in SL. Nothing in the forums; all the New World gossip has died down. There was a panel discussion on Designing Worlds, but the first part happened right after the Firestorm interview noted previously and really there was nothing new there.

Personally I find that I am having the best monetary summer that I can remember, and today I believe (really foggy memory after so many years) that today was my top grossing day in seven years. So not all that many people are concerned it seems.

Two years is a long time off. Plenty of months to worry  -- later.

A new world is apparently opening in about three weeks, virtualvanguads.com (currently a template with NO info at all). I only know this is someone sent a message to Inworldz renters saying that they were closing the sim and moving to this new world mid Augus. I will of course check up on that. Don't imagine it will be much at the beginning but always good to know what is out there.

That's pretty much my thoughts. There are still more folks coming to Inworldz than the norm. Good for them; doesn't hurt the "big grid" much at all.


Exodus? Somewhat


I have been keeping track of the new accounts made in Inworldz, seeing how The New World announcement  (after a personal epiphany which I will write about later, it doesn't seem so much of an SL world to me *wink*) might affect other grids. Since Inworldz has the same population as the next five grids in the SL-like list  combined , it is POSSIBLY the most likely choice for refugees.

The weeks closely following the New World announcement there were  more people making accounts in Inworldz than in the last 2.5 months -- the only yardstick I have and that because Inworldz reached 100,000 uses in mid May and I wrote about it on my IW blog. Around 30 extra accounts per day were made in the two weeks or so following the revelation (42 was the norm for that previously noted period). We don't know how many might be alts of already settled residents of course. But an increase.

This last week (10AM - 10AM from Saturday to Saturday) there were 88 sign ups average per day -- so an increase over the days following the revelation.

We don't know that all those folks are coming from SL, indeed from comments I overhear on the IW newcomer group some folks are new to virtual worlds altogether. But it is a pretty fair guess that a good portion are from "the big grid".

Now those people aren't necessarily STAYING. They are there to see if the other grid will work better for them. As Jessica Lyon stated in her SL11B talk, moving seems fairly silly since they would be starting over in any new grid, spurred by the POSSIBILITY of having to start over (not completely of course as some items can be ported) to the new Linden platform.

Concurrency is up 30 - 50 during in my personal six month history (US popular hours), so some of those new folks are exploring and some are perhaps settling in. The big test -- for both grids -- will be seeing how the figures are in six months.




July TOS - An Inclusive Contract

Linden Lab (tm) announced yesterday that a new TOS was out.

They didn't actually need to announce that for many folks. If you tried to log onto the grid, the Marketplace, your account OR the forums you were faced with some version of the read and click through paradigm.

I opted NOT to OK before reading thoroughly (see, some of us learn). Others apparently were of the "I don't care what they want, I am OKing" mind. I read the opinions on the predominant blogs. The general consensus was that it was a much ado about nothing event. The TOS wasn't any WORSE (an Oh so good thing) but also not really any better.

Now a few folks are in the "oh so grateful you fixed this camp". I am guessing they read the announcement and not the many screens of Terms of Service text and supporting documents.

IN MY MIND (absolutely no inside info) this has always been about The New World. Desura had been purchased and devs had left (that I actually knew but didn't know that it was a Linden platform they headed for  :D) and the August TOS came into being.

The biggest oddity when the August TOS section 2.3 came into the light was that while there were plenty of "second tier content creators" making a huge fuss, the top designers were completely quiet. The only comment I saw from any of them (and I really was looking) was from Cory Edo on Strawberry Signh's blog who said that this was the best platform for her and she was sticking with it.



Now let's rewind time a bit for the older generation. Remember all the naked photos of content creators during the copybot  scandal of 2006-08? I would rather be bare than wear stolen good?  The posters were very prominent when I came into the world. I saw this one daily as I camped for hair at Calla.

If designers were so very up in arms about the ability for people being able to copy their goods and make profits from them -- why were the not upset about giving Linden Lab right to use, sell, and profit from their work with no monetary remuneration OR even attribution?
 

For me, it meant that the top tier designers already knew the bottom line. They had been let in on the secret and were under a NDA, so mum was indeed the word. It was the only thing that made sense to me then -- and it still does now.

I noted that a few designers slowed their releases remarkably, putting out small items and making the mandatory group gift now and then.  Others went on as business as usual.

So now it seems most of us know more (I'm not saying all) of the story. I can live with that.

I read through the lengthy legalese TOS this morning. I didn't find anything that seemed reassuring. I didn't find anything that seemed worse. Hence, I clicked the box and journeyed on into the world.


Refugees

New World chatter has died down on the forums and blogs, but a quiet exodus is taking place. It isn't a large one by any means but it is likely impacting other grids -- in a positive way.

Inworldz is the next biggest SL type platform. Tiny to "the big grid" as it is called by Inworldz citizens, an influx of new folks is definitely noticed.

I have been keeping track in a casual way and have noted that new accounts have almost doubled. Now that isn't hard really when the numbers are so small, but it is notable.

Concurrency is also obviously up. The numbers are fairly consistent holding at about 50 more folks on during peak hours. I see more new folks in the Musing Moments shopping area where my stores are and sales are up a bit with some folks buying in quantities. It is summer and it is slow, but there is an improvement with the influx of folks coming over from SL.

Now and then someone new writes on the IW forums stating that they are there to stay. Really? I am happy they are "loving it" after a day, but honestly :D.  New and returning retailers have shown up in some of the more popular malls, not top designers but still very welcome.

The big test will be to see if the refugees continue to come. There was a huge Marketplace fiasco in Second Life this last week which had many folks losing sales and caused extra work even after the issue was fixed. That didn't sit well with lots of merchants. It may have pushed a few over the edge.

Concurrence seems to be down in Second Life. I haven't actually been watching that well enough to say. And it IS summer when many folks are on vacation and not behind their computers. The big test will happen in the Fall.

Live Chat with OZ and Peter Linden


Today Oz Linden (Technical Director of Second Life) and  Pete Linden (Director of communications at Second Life) talked with Jessica Lyons at the Firestorm meeting  inworld.  The  two hour talk included a background of how OZ came to be in charge of Second Life as others in the company moved to work on the new platform -- and an overview of current projects being worked on. A user Q & A is at the end of the talk.

This show will be available on SLartist after processing; check the Firestorm blog.