Posted by Chic Aeon on Thursday, January 15, 2015
A pattern emerges.
Now before those of you reading this say to yourselves, I don't care about OpenSim; I'm not going over to OpenSim; I'll skip this post -- remember that The Next Generation of SL IS indeed a new world, an even more different world as it isn't based on the one we know.
Here is what often happens.
A new grid opens its doors. Announcements are made. A few of the owner's friends have come over pre-opening. Sometimes they set up storefronts, or at least a welcome grid with some items to buy and some gifts.
The next influx that follows closely on the heels of the opening are the second wave of creators. They bring over already made goods, set up shop and wait for the new arrivals to show up and buy their offerings.
A mini rush ensues (almost always :D); some new folks come in and buy items. Great. All is good.
More folks come in slowly and there are sales. Creators make some new things for the young grid or bring over more of their previous made stock.
But here's the issue. It takes a certain amount of population to create enough sales to make it viable for content creators to stay. When the population stagnates or the buyers simply stop buying because they have what they need -- sales drop sharply or stop. It isn't quite like the Walmart "we must keep opening new stores or we will die" issue, but it flows alongside that stream.
In many cases, after a few months (sometimes weeks, sometimes longer) the content creators leave.
So there is the problem. Is there an answer?
Well The Lab while it has made some pretty bad decisions in the past -- mostly by not listening to the public opinion -- isn't dumb. They have that covered, or at least they hope to.
They are planning on making it as easy as possible for people to come over to their new platform. Notice I didn't say MOVE over. Some folks will, some will visit, some will have dual citizenship.
As announced there will be the same money balance, friends list (not everyone will be in both grids of course) and perhaps some of the same goods. I was hoping when the SL 2.0 announcement came that they were going to make it possible to click a "I want to move, send whatever I have that I can use in the new world over" button. Silly me. It would be a good trick though.
Instead it looks like (NO inside info - just postulating from bits and pieces of information, subtle slips and things not said ) designers will likely need to port over there goods, much like they do now to those new OpenSim worlds. The file type may be different; that has yet to be officially stated -- and with that comes some issues, but an option for some items. The tech and rules will likely be far removed from what we are used to.
So a furniture maker for example could import (we don't know if this will cost yet) a mesh couch file. The current dae file may need to be converted to another file type. The uploader will likely be different, so existing notes won't apply. Hopefully (ALL fingers are crossed here) the physics won't be such an issue.
Once the item gets into the new world, new animations and new scripting (officially announced as being needed although no word as to what file type or language will be used) will have to be added to work on the new platform.
Textures and material layers will get uploaded and we have our couch. Whew!
Just like coming to a new world in OpenSim, residents will need new things. Mesh bodies with new matching clothes? Dances?
So it is important that these items are available when the new world opens to the public. Those who venture over in the first wave of tourists and emigrants will likely want a bit more than what the visitor's bureau hands out. The first designers on the new platform will likely do well.
But there needs to be enough in the new world to hold on to the population. And for the most part, that takes community. It will be difficult if half of your friends are across the ocean.
Easier access (web based browser or specially made aps) will help. Lower land costs will help. I am all for new, but you can't be all things to all people so some folks won't find what they are looking for in the Next Generation.
The official word from Linden Lab for some time is that the new world will be for content creators. Let's reflect on that repeating pattern. Without a buying populous, content creators have no reason to stay.