by Alphaville Herald on 14/11/09 at 11:51 am
Lab curtails Korean language support, closes Korean operations
by Pixeleen Mistral, International Affairs desk
The Korea Herald reports that Linden Lab has abandoned its Korean localized web site and viewer after allowing its contract with Barunson Games Corp. to lapse. Barunson Games had been contracted to operate Second Life's Korean service in October 2007, but apparently found selling life in the metaverse difficult.
A gloomy picture is painted by Korea Herald writer Choi He-suk, who points out the limited appeal of open environments populated with anonymous strangers and lag, saying, "Second Life appears to have failed to adapt to the characteristics of the local market. According to industry officials, Korean users tend to prefer moreclosed environments where they can interact with people they alreadyknow or relatively small groups of people, and are used to fast-pacedonline games."
We can certainly understand the desire for minimal lag and less than glacial rez times when grid hopping, but these problems seem unlikely to improve anytime soon.
On a happier note, now that the Lab has redirected the Korean Second Life web site http://kr.secondlife.com/ to the english language site, think of all the fun our friends in Korea will have practicing their english skills. Let us hope the appeal of this sort of informal foreign language class does not wane over time.
With the Lindens working to increase profitability by any means necessary, readers may wonder if the Lab will cut it's losses in other marginal markets in preparation for some sort of investor cashout event.
More worrying is the possibility that Korea's failure to appreciate the charms of the Second Life walled garden of cyber delights is a warning that Second Life cannot compete in what is believed to be one of the most wired and game/MMO crazed countries on the planet. Could this be why Philip Linden jumped ship?