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« So we are Time's "person of the year" | Main | Gartner: Social networks analysis is in, folksonomies out »

December 18, 2006

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And a parallel hypothesis is that 3D Worlds may not have reached a tipping point.

I certainly am not comfortable divining between those two possibilities without knowing what the people with the most at stake, the people who have tried it, actually think.

At this point, I don't know whether I am a Second Life skeptic, but I do know I am a Linden Labs skeptic. The issue is perfectly illustrated by your quoting of their Currently Logged In numbers; I have access to those same numbers, but they are useless, as they mix real users with 'try it and bail' users. My question was and is "What is the number of simultaneous _return_ users?" Neither you nor I have access to those numbers; only Linden does, and though they report lots of numbers, none of the published numbers help answer that question.

Hi Clay. Agreed: we are both Linden Lab skeptics (as I said in the post, the future 3D platform may well not be SL). And definitely the figures for return users would offer some elements that could help speculate about the future. I have a possible survey group for that, I will see if I can poll them.

after a week or so in SL to write a story for a good old print magazine, i noticed a few topics.

first, i think that we were all suprised by the gap between the 2.3 millions residents and the 10 000 or so that are "online now" given by secondlife.com. but i am happy with this, because the lag problem in SL is so bad that you cannot even access to some places, because of the crowd. ok, it's not the museums but more "amsterdam" or places like that...

then, LL knows the problem of user retention, if you read this quote on new world notes: “Although Second Life is still challenging to get used to, about 10% of newly created residents are still logging into Second Life weekly, 3 months later. 10% is pretty good given the computer requirements and steep learning curve” Philip Rosedale, CEO of LL.

then, i was a bit disappointed by reuters offer (yes, i dare). you can wander in SL with the latest news at the corner of your screen, which is cool, and very cyberpunk. but if you click on the title of the article, you'll spend hours waiting for your browser to open. yes, the full text is still on the net, this old media. so i dream of the moment when parts of the web will be really integrated in SL, and that you don't have to switch from SL to Firefox anymore. Maybe the magazine PixelPulse, available only in SL and not on the web, shows kind of a direction.

another small thing. i met very interesting and surely very busy scientists in SL. i could spend time to chat with them, which i am sure is not easy to do RL or by phone. it reminds me the good old days of email, when you could get answers from even the most known people. this way of communication was new, so busy people (like linus t.) took time to answer to nobodies. maybe this "extra time" moved to SL for the moment.

one very last thing: in 1964, daniel galouye, a sci-fi writer, has written the novel simulacron 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacron-3). it kind of anticipates all virtual worlds... thanks to patrick gyger, director of the "maison d'ailleurs", who knew this book! so maybe the inspiration for SL is older than the famous novel "snow crash", from neal stephenson.

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