As the metaverse’s “mixed reality” concept gains momentum, one of the first virtual reality (VR) worlds is making a comeback thanks to a new investment.
On Thursday, High Fidelity announced an investment in Linden Research, Inc. (Linden Lab) to scale the popular virtual world of Second Life. Philip Rosedale, the founder of the two companies, considered a pioneer of the metaverse, indicates that he will join Second Life as a strategic advisor to help its expansion.
“No one has managed to build a virtual world like Second Life,” he defends in a press release. “Second Life has succeeded in creating a positive and rewarding experience for its residents, with the potential for millions more to join them, and build a thriving subscription-based business. Virtual worlds don’t have to be dystopias. »
Second Life business growth
High Fidelity’s investment in Second Life includes a cash investment and distributed computer patents. The founder explains in an interview with CNET that two of the patents will be “decentralized environment patents.”
Second Life has been around since 2003. The game peaked in 2007 with 1.1 million monthly active users. However, the number of users has recently started to increase again and the virtual world is approaching one million monthly active users, according to a Linden Lab spokesperson.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, the platform has seen strong growth as Internet users spend more time at home, especially in its virtual economy. A company spokesperson tells that the platform has an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of $650 million and that more than $60 million was paid to its residents in 2020 for a variety of virtual goods and services. Overall, the virtual space has seen a 30-40% increase in GDP and a 20% increase in competition since the start of the pandemic.
Please note that the Second Life baseline is now “remote work and event solutions”. And the presented use cases revolve around this dimension.
No Second Life just under the helmet
The metaverse is nothing new. It was invented by author Neal Stephenson in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash.
However, it has experienced a recent resurgence. Especially since big tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) are taking an interest in it. For the latter, the metaverse must be a place that allows virtual interactions using virtual and augmented reality tools.
However, what sets Second Life apart from the “new” metaverse that Meta is trying to create is that the game uses a 3D navigation software, SL Viewer, and not a virtual reality viewer. For Philip Rosedale, Second Life won’t use a VR headset until the hardware is better. He also believes that the virtual world is more useful when virtual reality is optional.
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