Alternatives To Second Life

by Pixeleen Mistral on 06/03/07 at 7:20 pm

by Onder Skall, courtesy of Second Life Games

Let me start this off by stating that I have no interest in the “world vs. platform” debate. It’s boring and played out, so don’t you dare try to draw me in. What I’m trying to do here is answer the simple question:

Where are the best candidates as viable alternatives to Second Life?

In order to answer this question, I’ve come up with the three things that in my opinion make Second Life irreplaceable at the moment. Since these are entirely formed from my little brain, we’ll call them “Onder’s Big Three”. They are:

1. Cash transactions must be easy and readily accommodated flowing both into and out from the system.
2. Users must be able to create unique content and retain some form of ownership over it.
3. The fabric of the world itself must be possible to affect. IE: land ownership, room decoration, or some other content that remains viable even when the player who created it is logged off. (”Pervasive” is the word I’m groping for here…)

I guess one last note here: devkits don’t count. To even make it into this list it has to be a running, functioning environment that people can walk into, not a tool for developers only. Let’s take a look at the candidates:

HiPiHi – Chinese only right now. The YouTube demo reel shows very many SL-like things like custom avatars and building. It remains mysterious as far as economics or whether or not you can upload files to the world. They’re in closed beta so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Point 1 – No idea.
Point 2 – You can definitely create, but uploading is unknown and ownership is unknown.
Point 3 – Definitely.

Here, check out the demo reel. Anybody know if there’s an English translation of the voice-over somewhere?

Entropia Universe – This is an MMORPG, granted, but with a twist: the money is easily transferred in and out of the world. In Entropia you develop skill points, get armor/weaponry and fight monsters. You can also go mining and participate in the active markets trading in-world materials. The trick, of course, is coming away from a hunt/crafting activity/mining excursion/trade having made more money than you spent doing it. The client is quite a bit more stable than SL’s, but there isn’t any scripting and creating unique content is quite difficult. Despite this it scores reasonably well in the Big Three:

Point 1 – Yes, very easily. They even had a RL bank card at one point.
Point 2 – With difficulty, yes users can create unique content. Unsurprisingly the best example of this is in the fashion industry.
Point 3 – Land ownership, buildings and general self-expression are restricted, but not completely impossible. Expect a major expense to leave your mark here.

This is a video overview hosted by a lady wearing some weird thing…

Areae Inc. – They’re being very secretive, but seem determined to create a space that marries Web 2.0 (social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube) with Web 3.0 (immersive user-created environments like Second Life). They have an all-star cast of advisers, but so far we know very little else. Check out their press page for interviews with the owner.

Point 1 – No idea.
Point 2 – Possibly unheard of abilities to create content, although we have no idea about ownership.
Point 3 – No idea.

Outback Online – Promises to be just like SL but also with multiple planets. They claim being able to get 10,000 users in one area, console based clients as well as PC and Mac, and some kind of distributed networking scheme to run the whole thing. No other info is available really, but they’re accepting beta applications.

Point 1 – Uncertain, but seems likely.
Point 2 – Yes, but specific details are sparse.
Point 3 – Unknown.

The Sims online – Works well, obviously, but has limitations. Movement around the world is locked down, communication is difficult, and creativity is limited to the objects and textures they provide. The economy is locked down too.

Point 1 – You pay your monthly subscription and that’s it. If you want to make money here you’re doing it through eBay or an equivalent.
Point 2 – You own everything you create, but you upload nothing and you can’t build from scratch.
Point 3 – This stays true. Your house is there, in the neighborhood, with all of your stuff. You can’t really affect much elsewhere, though.

There – It’s been around for a few years, and does well with the teen crowd. It’s PG only and there’s an approval process for anything you upload, but at least you can upload. Also, I’m not sure how liquid Therebucks are. Many of the people who were buying and selling Therebucks seem to have been shut down, with the only exception I found being Anybody know why?

Point 1 – It’s possible to move money in and out, but seems like it might be troublesome. It’s definitely not a supported function.
Point 2 – Yep, ownership and trade is alive and well, and they even have an active auctioning system. Creating things is severely restricted – you need to sign up as a developer, have to go through an approval process, and everything you make is heavily taxed.
Point 3 – You can absolutely own property and houses in There.

Activeworlds – A commercial platform, basically, but but mentioned here because of Dotsoul. They take care of the hosting and manage it so a user can bounce from one world to the next. They claim 1000 unique “worlds”, but to give you a sense of scale: “Rick’s Café” is a “world”. As mentioned earlier, Dotsoul was built with Activeworlds, which was an art utopia free of prim limits and with loose terms of service. Also, no real economy…

Point 1 – Nope. Subscription services apply, but that’s it.
Point 2 – Yep.
Point 3 – Yep.

Weblo – Not a 3d environment at all but a “virtual real-estate” scheme that exists entirely through a website… nothing to do there but try to play the market. You won’t run into people here and chat, it’s just straight commerce of pretend things that have a webpage created about them. Most people don’t understand what it is and just namedrop it next to “Second Life” in the hopes of being among the first to find “the new thing”.

Point 1 – Yes, money moves in and out easily.
Point 2 – No.
Point 3 – After a fashion… when you create a webpage that represents a space, object or event it stays there.

Project DarkStar – This is just a server platform, but then again, that’s how Second Life started out. Created by Sun Microsystems, this is a series of specialized servers meant to accommodate MMO environments. Rumors float about that Second Life may migrate over to a system like this, but as with everything with Linden Labs, we have no idea what the thinking truly is.

Point 1,2,3 – NA… YET.

Virtual Object System – Worthy of note purely because they share the dream of creating “The Metaverse”. There’s not really a lot to see yet, but the reason is that they’re taking a very “from the ground up” approach. IF this ever launches, it will end up being fast and reliable. Their wiki is active, so it’s worth keeping an eye on. If they ever decide to go for VC funding, they could crush everything else.

Point 1,2,3 – still vaporware I’m afraid.

Kaneva – Here’s the problem: at the moment you have to go to the website, create a Myspace-like page, group up, and start bugging people to rank you. You will be immediately leapt upon to start ranking others. If you end up, somehow, in the top X number of users, you get to go into the virtual world and create an apartment. Just an apartment. That’s it. Is it just me, or does this sound like the most irritating thing on the planet?

Point 1 – Not really, no.
Point 2 – Yes, although we have no idea how flexible the tools are or how liquid your assets are.
Point 3 – You get the apartment and you get to furnish it.

For a list of Devkits, see here: MMORPG development toolkits. Many of them are very good, especially for the indie crowd!

41 Responses to “Alternatives To Second Life”

  1. Trevor F. Smith

    Mar 6th, 2007

    I take from #1 that you believe that a virtual currency is necessary, but would you accept a VW service that provided vendors with PayPal based sales tools?

  2. Nacon

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Kaneva (for emos)
    Virtual Object System (useless junk)
    Activeworlds (long lost dead worlds)
    Weblo (more like “we blow”)

    Forget those 4 up above.

    We all know about “The Sims Online” and “There” but they are no longer an interest for anything worth the good.

    However… I’ve been hearing about “Outback” more than “HiPiHi” and “Entropia Universe”. Without any doubt, HiPiHi is riping off from Second Life but doing poor job with creation content tool for us to build. Will HiPiHi last? No, maybe only in China since Second Life unable to be “Chinese” format.

    Entropia Universe might be something you really want to watch out for… or not to worry about at all? I understood that they are still in beta and only showing off a faggy “preview”, most of the clip were not their actual realtime rendering. Meaning they are just faking their way through. Also, the lady in some odd suit… ok, what the fuck is going on there? They can’t have a good rendering character to be the host of this “next” platform?

    For me, they failed showmanship with that preview. I’d say they got 45% chance to fly with success. HiPiHi got 10% on my record.

    Outback Online is what I really want to keep my eyes on. In fact, they already on Second Life. (oops? I shouldn’t be saying that?) I’m sure few smart people would know where to find them.

    Areae… wtf? it’s a joke. They’re not doing anything worth your time for anything.

  3. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Thus far, Second Life has succeeded for two reasons (and imho, two reasons only):

    1. They have a somewhat unique vision and environment.
    2. They’ve had very little actual competition due to that vision. (ie, there are other virtual environments, but nothing as ambitious, user-design oriented or easy to use).

    Yet we’ve been saying for two years: it would be a mistake to believe that will always be the case. It has been predicted that when a true competitor comes in, Second Life will suffer greatly. I have seen nothing in the activities of Linden Lab of late to indicate differently. Eventually, the inevitable happens: you tick off customers long enough, you lose those customers. As soon as another, more reliable, more stable, friendlier platform is available… people are likely to jump the Second Life ship by the thousands. I have seen nothing in LL attitude to indicate they would have the sense necessary to adapt to such a situation.

    Regarding HiPiHi: Two things should be realized about this– 1) It is Chinese 2) Therefore, it is likely to take the market by storm. Why? Consider:

    1. It will work. The Chinese are not known for producing shoddy products. “Made in Taiwan” has decorated 90%+ of computer devices for the last 30 years.

    2. The cultural sense of honor will heavily influence the board… making it a nicer place for people to congregate.

    3. Once they get past Beta testing and decide to release it, you can bet they’ll have it English-translated within a week. No way are they going to bypass the lucrative U.S. market.

    4. Because of that same cultural integrity, there will likely be little or no porn there. Neither will there be huge, ugly political signs or other nonsense. Will this make the system better than SL? I think it will. One of SL’s most lamented problems is near total lack of moderation and the proliferation of trouble-makers and harassment-builders.

    5. Griefers will absolutely not be tolerated. They may try to break the board and may succeed to an extent–at first– but we can expect the Chinese owners of the board will not let such go un-managed. Security will be tight and holes quickly filled (rather than allowing such to continue and be re-exploited over and over again as with Second Life).

    6. A Chinese board will likely be VERY attentive to customer satisfaction. When a user is upset, they will likely bend over backward to satisfy that customer. This attitude will be completely different than Linden Lab’s “hands off” and “not our problem” philosophy that’s lost them some 3.5 million users to date.

    7. The price of using the system and renting land can be expected to be FAR less than Second Life. The Chinese are known for undercutting the competition. I already know from analysis of Second Life that the system can be operated far more efficiently in the financial area. You can bet your boots the Chinese are aware of that fact as well.

    It’s obvious from the video that the system will be very similar in concept to Second Life. Users can change clothes, change avs, fly, build, script, etc. Whether the system has an economy or not is to me, irrelevant. Second Life might have been a better and more enjoyable platform if it had NOT been based on an economy. But if HiPiHi is financial in nature– it will likely not be left open to the whims of those who try to manipulate the market. I would expect their market to be well-defined and much more stable than the L$.

    So all in all, once HiPiHi is debugged and ready, it would not be unexpected if they were to go head-to-head with Second Life. In such case, considering the instability of the SL platform, the controversial company policies and attitudes, the heavy expense of using Second Life, and the number of people Linden Lab has royally ticked off over the years– Second Life is going to be in a world of hurt– if it survives at all.

    If I were Anshe, I’d be investing in HiPiHi bigtime. LOL (maybe she already is, who knows?)

    I know the above sentiments might upset some folks and anger others– but reality often does. I don’t think the Chinese are going to enter the boxing ring without knowing how to beat the competition to a pulp.

    One last thought: if the Chinese are doing this, likely others are too. Linden Lab made a couple of fatal mistakes: they received too much media attention before they had the bugs worked out of their platform– and they had an atttude. They left way too much room for others to come along and do things right. That’s the mistake IBM made with their PC, the mistake Texas Instruments made with their flop of a computer– and the mistake Linden Lab made in their design and management of Second Life. They left too much open for improvement– and their dissatisfied customers have publicly made it clear what the competition needs to do to resolve such issues.

    I (and others) made this prediction long ago: competition to Second Life is inevitable, and if they do the job better and for less money, Second Life may not survive the battle. If they do survive, they will almost certainly lose market dominance– or even a decent handhold.
    Linden Lab left the gate wide open to someone else taking over their market. HiPiHi just might do that– or anyone else who can understand the flaws in Second Life and fill the gaps LL has consistently failed (refused?) to fill.

  4. Economic Mip

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Wow, with points like those Wayfinder, as always I am at a loss. I can see no reason why Anshe wouldn’t already be there, it was probably her success which made the Chinese interested in the idea to begin with. It is also possible that like the modern web these separate companies will not someday offer cross platform options, but that is easily a decade away.

  5. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 6th, 2007

    That’s an excellent point Mip. I have heard in fact, that Philip originally intended for the metaverse to be cross platform… but I don’t know how much truth there is to that rumor. SL seems designed more like Windows than Linux. I was astonished in fact, when the client was released as open-source. No telling what will happen there. But I still would suspect that rather than being cross-platform, the field would be segmented. Just as Quake, Unreal, WoW and Guild Wars haven’t joined together, nor have Micro$oft, Apple and Linux… I would consider it unlikely that LL would eagerly accept other platforms.

    In fact, the only thing I’ve seen come even close to cross-platform is the web itself… and I credit that largely to the fact that Micro$oft isn’t in charge of it.

  6. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 6th, 2007

    >Is it just me, or does this sound like the most irritating thing on the planet?

    Nah, it’s not you, it *is* the most irritating thing on the planet.

  7. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Wow, when you put it that way, it sure sounds stark, eh?

  8. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 6th, 2007

    I would add that The Sims on Line has better animations and socialization more democratically available and more cheaply available than Second Life. I realize that’s a man-bites-dog statement, but I continue to feel it’s true and am happy to argue it out.

    Onder, you left out that thing called Multiverse? Croquet?

  9. Spankubux

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Wayfinder, can you drop your sad vendetta for a day or two?

    I mean, it’s fun laughing at you and all, but you tell a joke every day and it gets tired. Why not take a few days off, rest up, and be back in fine bitching form by the weekend?

  10. Artemis Fate

    Mar 6th, 2007

    I think this one counts:

  11. StealthOstrich

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Given Anshe Chung’s success in SL, and the fact that her company is based out of China, I would think that the odds quite good that Anshe Chung is a paid consultant, or to some extent involved in the development of Hipihi.

    Why would we thing otherwise?

  12. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Spankubux, you’ll pardon me if I don’t really take seriously someone who uses a different fake name every other message. I can’t help it if you lack the business sense, analytical ability or foresight to see the reality in the points made. And frankly, your opinion means about as little to me as mine obviously does to you. Why don’t you surprise us all by making an actual point rather than just trolling someone else. Oh wait… to do that you’d have to HAVE a point. XD

    See, it’s just so easy to troll. Like, anyone can do it. Ooooh….

    >Given Anshe Chung’s success in SL, and the fact that her company is based out of China, I would think that the odds quite good that Anshe Chung is a paid consultant, or to some extent involved in the development of Hipihi. Why would we thing otherwise? — Posted by: StealthOstrich<

    It does make sense, given Ansche’s public and vocal upset with some of LL’s recent decisions. She would be wise to use some of her wealth and business acumen to get out from underneath the LL thumb. Expectation would be that the woman would be successful anywhere… so best to do it somewhere that she might have more input into the decision-making process than Second Life.

  13. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 6th, 2007

    That said, one more observation: as much as I respect Ansche’s business sense… I do have some reservations about any extensive involvement by her in a virtual platform. There seems to be a tendency by her to focus heavily on $$$. To be truly successful, a VR platform needs to focus on people first. Then if designed and managed properly, the money will follow by the truckload. Satisfy the customer– and they’ll have no objection to paying the money. The best method is the old “guide to owning a restaurant”: give the customer more than they expect at a price less than they expect. They’ll throw money your way and invite their friends to do the same.

    But I’ll give Ansche this: she’s one sharp cookie– sharp enough to already know all the above. If she’s out from under the guidelines and controls of LL… no telling what she might accomplish.

  14. Onder Skall

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Prokofy and Artemis: I do NOT mean to be dismissive of Multiverse or Croquet, and did in fact have content written for them, but I deleted it. They’re impressive and awesome, but they’re still devkits… not something that is being set up for the mass public to log into and start toying with.

    I appreciate that we WANT to include them because they’re open source and funky-cool-awesome, but unless somebody INSTALLS them and says: “I’ve created SLCLONE running on Multiverse” they don’t hit the necessary constraint for this article.

    Summary: they just didn’t fit what I was talking about, is all. They do well and truly rock, but nobody is even talking about taking that next step of creating environments that users build. It’s developers only for the ‘mo.

    Of course, this time next year that could all be different. We’ll have to re-do this then!

  15. Onder Skall

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Wayfinder: … um… it’s not that I’m not following what you’re saying, because I am, but… ? How did you… or, I mean why are you… nvm. Thanks for your comments!

  16. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 6th, 2007

    >Wayfinder: … um… it’s not that I’m not following what you’re saying, because I am, but… ? How did you… or, I mean why are you… nvm. Thanks for your comments! Posted by: Onder Skall< LOL. :D Well, it’s that I… considering the… and the implications of…

    Hey, chalk it up to 2 decades of being a business analyst and consultant by trade. Old habits are hard to break. XD

    Bottom line: For 2 years I was very SL-active– possibly excessively so. When I saw the platform going to the dogs, I left (apparently along with some 3.4 million other people). Still, Uri is an old friend, the Herald is a somewhat interesting zine, and I figure if the experiences of “old-timers” can help newbies understand a little bit more about SL so they don’t lose their shirts… that’s somewhat worthwhile.

    Besides, something I think a lot of people fail to recognize about the Herald is that this is not exactly a “pro-Linden Lab” zine. A lot of people here tell it like it is, despite the number of LL sychophants and trolls who try to get us all to be mindless corp-boys.

    “Disclaimer: The Second Life Herald is in no way, shape or form associated with Linden Lab (the company that operates Second Life), nor with Electronic Arts, nor any other aspect of the Dark Side of the Force.”

    So I think anyone who reads these pages might expect that posters won’t necessarily follow the LL corporate hype crusade. XD

  17. Tenshi Vielle

    Mar 6th, 2007

    Through all the complaining that’s been done (I think I’m one of the many av’s banned from commenting in the Linden blog)… that ALL of us have done at one time or another… Second Life is still the most powerful user-created world out there. The Lindens know it. And they know we won’t leave – after all, we’ve contributed to their world, dare we give up our creations?

    I just find it amazing that what Linden Labs had to do was create the platform – and then, for the most part the users created the rest of the world. Everything is unique.

    I just wish Linden Lab would quit putting in new doohickeys to attract new users and just… fix what’s already wrong.

  18. Artemis Fate

    Mar 7th, 2007

    “Prokofy and Artemis: I do NOT mean to be dismissive of Multiverse or Croquet, and did in fact have content written for them, but I deleted it. They’re impressive and awesome, but they’re still devkits… not something that is being set up for the mass public to log into and start toying with.’

    No worries, I hadn’t looked over it to hard, and it just looked like it might be something to note. But it is worth mentioning that for a program to do higher level graphics, it’s going to really have to involve 3rd party creation programs. The SL way of doing things is wildly inefficient and holds back item quality, but it allows for them to localize the 3D designs and engine in world.

    So it seems future creation programs for the sake of efficiency and better graphics, will eventually have to move over to 3rd party programs for most of the creation work (SL already uses them for most of them, just not the building part)

  19. Nacon

    Mar 7th, 2007

    Wayfinder said: “chalk it up to 2 decades of being a business analyst and consultant by trade.”


    Wayfinder said: “1. It will work. The Chinese are not known for producing shoddy products. “Made in Taiwan” has decorated 90%+ of computer devices for the last 30 years.”

    Ok idiot… name an MMORPG game that was made in China, that has more than 1 million American user on it.

    …there is none. You know why? THEY DON’T DO ENGLISH FOR SHIT! unless they were paid by an American company who just like to abuse Chinese for labor work. (gumball-size toys anyone?)

    Meaning… HiPiHi will not be successful in USA as much SL did with China.

    Spankubux said: “Wayfinder, can you drop your sad vendetta for a day or two?”
    That I agree, but I’m sure he won’t give you a shit. He’s an elf, go figure.

  20. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 7th, 2007

    Nacon, one of these days you’ll get a life and grow up. Then you might gain the admiration of people besides yourself. Or not. LOL

    What a brainless troll.

  21. Reality

    Mar 7th, 2007

    No matter the program, not matter who makes it – there will always be problems. Personally I would prefer something like second Life because of the lack of moderation.

    There must always be a balance in such things – the Chinese would ban/bar far too much and Linden Lab allows too much. As far as I am concerned the only things which do not belong within a program such as Second Life are Politics and Racist/Bigoted messages/icons/agendas/etc. The bulk of the rest can be left alone due to the simple fact that Second Life and any other program similar is still just that – a computer program. The people are not real.

    Now granted I’d like to see far less as far as griefers are concerned … but that is a double edged sword right there. Remember – such things are dependent on perspective.

  22. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Mar 7th, 2007

    The most important commodity that Second Life has is the residents and the communities they’ve built. Until one of these other worlds has people, and specifically passionate people, they won’t be a real competitor.

    Entropia much more game than world, heh. And a bad one at that!



  23. Jesper W.

    Mar 7th, 2007

    Onder, you left out one point in your must-have list: Cross platform compatibility – most (if not all?) “metaverses” other than SL are strictly Win, even VOS, allthough they claim their code is cross-platform, only provide a how-to-compile for Windows.

    In my opinion at least, to be a true metaverse, you must include all users, regardless of OS (one of the things SL does quite well apparently).

    On moderation, a few cents: – I, too, would rather have an un-moderated world than an online dictatorship, driven by $$ or the politics of its owner.
    I mean, c’mon, it’s like the sci-fi dystopia incarnate! – start naming them: Weyland-Yutani, The Machines, Skynet, Omni Consumer Products, Red Queen – all those evil megacorporations, AIs with too much power, and a partridge in the proverbial pear tree…I know, they’re fictional, but the stories speak volumes about our fear of being governed by any one entity with allbut absolute power, why would we want it online?

    We just have to learn how to govern our world so most of us can be happy, and police it so we can stay that way.

    Oh, and good luck with that, by the way.


  24. 1Time Daehlie

    Mar 7th, 2007

    Hmmm, a virtual world ran by a Chinese company? Would it be a Democracy or would all the avatars be suppressed under their Communist regime?

    You most certainly couldn’t have camping chairs or dance pads. Instead you’d have to submit to hard labor, mass-manufacturing inexpensive prims, scripts, and textures for fractions of a similar Linden dollar.

    The prims would probably be of inferior quality, the scripts would cease to work after their short warranty expires, and the textures would fade after several rezzes.

    I’m wondering if in their virtual creation, if they remembered to build a Tiananmen Square with tanks to squash any dissenting avatars.

    Also it might be wise to remember not to join any created group with the words, Falun Gong, in their virtual world.

    1Time Daehlie

  25. Tenshi Vielle

    Mar 7th, 2007

    Was passed this tonight:

    I laughed at it. I honestly did.

  26. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 7th, 2007

    LOL 1Time. I liked your post. Good tongue-in-cheek. :)

    I read in 2 posts above the comment “I’d rather have no moderation than too much”. I can certainly understand and sympathize with such. However, I don’t believe it HAS to be one way or the other. It is entirely possible to allow people a degree of freedom without feeling it necessary to allow anarchy. This can be done with a simple statement, such as we used on our sims:

    “What you do in your home is your business. What you do in the streets is ours.”

    That policy isn’t all that hard to understand– or enforce. If someone wants to rent land and have a strip club– all they’re prevented from doing is posting porn on the outside of their walls. If someone wishes to have a nude beach, they have to own a private island. If they want to walk down the streets naked– sorry, that’s not allowed. They’re public streets. Just as in real life– consideration for neighbors and society is a valid concept. Just because some sociopath wants to do something doesn’t mean he has to be allowed to do it.

    As far as the claim (I probably shouldn’t even answer such trollish nonsense) that the Chinese don’t speak English: I’ll wager they speak better English than we speak Chinese. And if some of them don’t, they can HIRE someone to translate. Once their board is built and debugged, there is even the possibility that they could build an all-English grid in addition to their Chinese one (gasp! Imagine– common sense!). These are all concepts that can be overcome by any sensible business organization. If LL had half the business sense of the Chinese– they’d already be the biggest thing on the net.

    I do admit there will be concerns about the Chinese government. I didn’t mention that above because I always avoid politics. How much influence will their government have on the board? Difficult to tell; I don’t specialize in the Chinese market. But I bet it won’t be to the point that the board is unmarketable. ;)

  27. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 7th, 2007

    > Was passed this tonight:
    I laughed at it. I honestly did. — Posted by: Tenshi Vielle < Have to wonder why you’d laugh at it. The PS3 platform is nothing to sneeze at… and HOME looks professionally-done. Ad says it’s just getting started, but it also states players can use it for free and… host their own worlds via a network. Now in my mind, that is the #1 mistake LL made in setting up Second Life– they insisted on hosting the island servers themselves. If HOME allows people to host their own worlds… it could turn out to be a serious, serious contendeder in the Metaverse.

    Considering the brains and ability behind the PS3, I wouldn’t write it off just yet. ;)

    It might not take the PC world by storm, but I bet it will be immensely popular among PS3 users… which will draw their attention away from PC competitive boards. That is why I’ve always wondered at Philip Linden’s constant insistence that WoW, Guild Wars etc aren’t “competition”. Sure they are. Every person heavily involved in WoW *isn’t* heavily inovled in Second Life. They’re all virtual environments competing for a lot of the same market slice– and WoW is eating LL’s lunch.

  28. Jeffrey

    Mar 8th, 2007

    Is it just me or does HiPiHi look a LOT like SL? Perhaps a few instances of code theft occurred here?

  29. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 8th, 2007

    Jeffrey, no questioning the layout influence of SL. Which is why I believe HiPiHi is intended as a direct competitor. I doubt there is any actual code theft, but as a concept: China isn’t exactly bound by US copyright laws. Another problem LL would have to face with the multiverse in general.

  30. Onder Skall

    Mar 8th, 2007

    Alice was good enough to put a link to my original post on Wonderland, and several really fascinating people have been commenting on it since. Check it out!

  31. Ken

    May 26th, 2007

    God, I do not understand why you thought so backward? Although China’s ideological and political means, and other countries are different , but lifestyle and the European or the United States there is not much difference between them in continuous learning and exploration, some economic, scientific fields even more than others, I do not know if you have visited China. China’s reform and development has been in progress rather than regressive, Chinese thinking is also undergoing changes. If you still use such a conservative attitude to look at China, which is narrow stupid. You should go out to see the world.

  32. SuezanneC Baskerville

    Jun 22nd, 2007

    When I first tired to run Hipihi under Windows XP, Hipihi displayed the opening screen and then just vanished.

    I’ve made some progress now, but not enough.

    By making some selections in the Control Panel Regional and Language Settings dialogs, I’ve made it past the initial screen display and on to the Login screen.

    I can enter my Hipihi user name, which displays in English characters, but when I move on to the password field, nothing happens when I press keys. No new characters appear. The cursor doesn’t move.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  33. SuezanneC Baskerville

    Jun 22nd, 2007

    The url to apply for the Hipihi beta (English version) is ; in case anyone is interested.

  34. SuezanneC Baskerville

    Jul 13th, 2007

    There’s an English subtitled version of the Hipihi video at .

    Here’s my transcript of the subtitles:
    Bold Title Text:
    Enter into Hipihi World.
    You will have a more wonderful life!
    A young lady starts speaking:
    Hipihi World is a completely user created and owned real time 3D virtual world. The world enriches and develops itself along with the imagination of its residents. Enter into Hipihi World, you will have a more wonderful life!

    I am Christina. I entered into the Hipihi World by chance and I was deeply attracted by this very innovative product. Now let me take you to explore this brilliant world!

    Every new resident will be born right here in Hipihi.

    Wanna change your personal image? Certainly you can. Here we have a complete customized avatar system.

    I can select my favorite avatar. Then I can change its hairstyle, face, clothes, height, weight, and skin color.

    Along the road, many wooden signs indicate me on all sorts of operations. Very soon, I almost become a professional.

    Pass the Hipihi Gate and come into the central square where there are bars, architectures, sculptures, chairs, flowers beds, TV screens … It is quite hot when many people gather here!
    They can hold concerts, watch movies, drink and make friends here.

    Want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire Hipihi World? Follow me!

    We can try the public transportations. Look! I am now sitting in a hot air balloon on the way to the destination.

    Or you can take a flight [in a helicopter] Even more, we can pilot a plane by ourselves to start your own journey of adventure. Flight to the upper air, bail out. It is breathtaking and thrilling.

    The core value of the Hipihi World is that the Resident is the Creator of this world. We all realize our value right here!

    I tried to buy a small piece of and begin my journey of Creation. This is the land I bought. I can build up hills and lakes on it. Build a house of your own!

    The Hipihi World provides a library with lots of materials for scene creation. [untranslated details] Let me show it. You can edit the model on three dimensions. Change its location, angle and direction, size and color, whatever you like.

    Come and decorate the outdoor surrounding. Plant some trees, build a row of fence! How about that? Nice living environment.

    Well, let us walk into it and have a look. The house is empty now How about some furniture? Put a bed on first where I can have a rest. Gradually my home is getting luxuriant in my hand. Now I need a new style curtain.

    I am now designing couples of beautiful sofa, and hope that they would sell good price!

    Every resident of the Hipihi World has the whole property rights for his digital creatures. These creatures can be character images, costumes, buildings, games, and all the digital modes that people can imagine. Moreover, the users can trade between each other and get the profit. The is exactly the source of the glamour that appeals me most.

    The Hipihi World is exactly like the real world where there is time, the weather changes, the sun set and sun rise. I love the bonfire party at night. I enjoy much chatting and making friends with people in the 3D environment. I add the interesting people onto my friend list and invite them to see a sunrise or a night view!

    When more and more users come in the world becomes even more diversified and abundant! I have seen that in the near future there will be users run bars, coffee shops and sunny beaches. Residents with different colors and of different races from different parts of the world come here to communicate with each other and to have fun.

    There’ll be various events such as the bonfire celebrations, birthday parties, press conferences, etc., even a business model which can not be achieved in the real world will be born right here! When the large screen broadcasts daily video news, films, TV series, advertisings, when Coca-Cola is placed in the hands of each resident, when the Hipihi World is selling real brands of dresses and automobiles, when the real estate agents are promoting and selling their buildings here, when schools are handling all kinds of procedures and giving lectures on the scene… how can we distinguish between what is real and what is virtual?

  35. Anonymous

    Jul 13th, 2007

    Ken, there is some info that might help you get Hipihi running in my blog at

  36. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Jul 14th, 2007

    You expect a Chinese company to offer more freedom than SL does?

    Get real, dissident. You are a traitor to the motherland.

  37. lily

    Jul 20th, 2007

    please keep your eyes on the HiPiHi new event “Vote Your most Concerned HiPiHi Policies!” That’s interesting.
    Check the following link:

  38. NobodyImportant

    Jul 20th, 2007

    StealthOstrich wrote:
    “Given Anshe Chung’s success in SL, and the fact that her company is based out of China, I would think that the odds quite good that Anshe Chung is a paid consultant, or to some extent involved in the development of Hipihi.”

    My God. You’ve stumbled on their evil plot. It’s so obvious to me now! Anshe Chung is a HiPiHi spy, and this whole project is a communist conspiracy to slowly force places like, say, Ravenglass, out of business. They obviously feel threatened by the owners of these places, who must know too much about their dastardly plans, and need to be eliminated.
    (Sorry Prok, I had to. Couldn’t resist the urge.)

    Nacon wrote:
    “name an MMORPG game that was made in China, that has more than 1 million American user[s] on it”

    Does China even have any MMORPGs? I don’t believe they do (though I might be wrong). If I’m right, then… well, that’s just a bad example, Nacon.

    (And by the way, nobody’s arguing they do bad English. I’ve seen plenty Engrish in my time, I tell you what.)

  39. Frank

    Aug 15th, 2007

    A good source of information for real cash economy worlds and alternatives to Second Life is

  40. Nate Randall

    Sep 13th, 2007

    The site spammed above this post is an illegal copycat mirror site of our news and community site.

  41. Windwalker

    Aug 28th, 2009

    Yes LL has made a lot of wrong assumptions as to what users would need or desire with the tools they provide us. They have also made a lot of right ones too. But their ability to predict the future is no worse than any other company. As has been proven time and time again, the second entry into a market can look at all the things the pioneer learned and do better. The only way for LL to continue to be the leader is to innovate faster than the competition. Yes lots of people left SL for WoW or other similar games, I for one left WoW and Warhammer for SL. Hey it isn’t a lifetime commitment and people try things and switch to things they like better. This isn’t saying anything is seriously wrong with any of the above, just that people find different things appealing. I could list a number of things I’d change in SL if I was the God of LL but I’m not. Of course I could say the same thing about WoW and Warhammer too. And as has been proven time and time again, competition improves the breed, so bring on the alternative universes. And if you’re smart you’ll make them compatable with SL so content can be moved between the worlds. Let the best Virtual world dominate, but the others stay around to keep them on their toes.

    And Oh, How about a world similar to WoW where the players could build their own weapons, armor, and structures in empty lands and defend them against invaders? Sl Like building tools and WoW like battle dynamics…. Sounds like a winner to me.

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