Do Second Life avatars dream of relevance?


It was during my weekly DJ set at the long running Vortex virtual dance club that the news broke of Facebook’s acquisition of OculusVR. Amongst the avatars enjoying the selection of tunes i was playing, the first responses were not happy ones.

A few days later and regardless of the distrust of the Zuckeberg empire it can’t be denied that VR has suddenly jumped up several levels in the worlds conscious mind. Suddenly this week everyones talking about VR and the Tech media blogs are ablaze with their predictions of what Facebook will do. I read these articles dumbfounded at the claims of what might come, knowing dam well that it’s already here in Second Life.

At Tech Crunch Dan Kapla says …

“In one potential future, the identities we project into the metaverse will be fuzzy or even obscured. Here, our avatars will have little or nothing in common with our actual selves in the real world. They will range from pseudonymous constructions to total fantasies, like the socially-awkward straight male who plays the female dark elf seductress when he enters cyberspace.”

For years Second Life users have shouted and screamed at the top of their voices to show how relevant Second Life is now and to the future, but our voices fell unheard by media. Now VR is on the tip of every tech tongue and they simply ignore us. Second Life has 11 years of experience and evolution behind it. It predates Facebook and twitter and has had to solve lots of issues Facebook has yet to even try. I wonder wether Facebook will have to tip toe around any patents Linden Lab might own about Virtual Worlds.


By adding Oculus support to Second Life will this mean Linden Lab are ahead of the game?

The creation of Oculus isn’t just about being fooled into thinking you are IN your favourite virtual places in Second Life. The breakthrough of cheap head sets and tracking is pretty much done by the OculusVR team, the real important work, the revolutionising part, will be in the exploring of how we can control and interact within virtual reality without the need for all these 2d UI options.

Simply adding the Oculus to Second Life does nothing to compete with the large community of developers trying out UI ideas never before conceived. Wether you care or not about Oculus, Linden Lab are going to be forced to be right there with these new developing platforms if they want to stay relevant to virtual reality or end up like Active Worlds, still around but important to the past.

While I’m not all that impressed with Linden labs first efforts to incorporate Oculus into Second Life, it is a start in a direction they have to take now. It won’t be long before competition comes on line from Facebook or High Fidelity or even Yahoo. Linden Lab haven’t really had competition before, and we users have never had any good alternatives to SL before. Will future Virtual Worlds platforms just do what Second Life does now? or will they do more? or will they simply just need to do the same things but better in order to pull us away from Linden Lab to new shiny cheap Islands of social creativity.


I want to stay relevant.

So here i am, an avatar who makes a living in the metaverse, cyberspace, the grid. I am what Dan Kapla dreams of  being yet Techcrunch ignores me, they pretend i don’t exist yet. I still crave the acceptance of the wider world, i want to be relevant to mass media. Facebook blew VR up big and bold so surly Second Life and all that it’s achieved should be visible now, surly i should be relevant now?


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