by Pixeleen Mistral on 11/04/10 at 5:31 pm
The Saga of Second Life is a provocative six minute video which argues M Linden’s the pursuit of a corporate-friendly suburban-style virtual world is doomed to massive fail – and at odds with the interests of the players that built Second Life. This is not the sort of message that Linden fanboys enjoy hearing, so it was not surprising the video was quickly pulled from BlipTV. But at least for now, the Saga of Second Life can be seen on YouTube.
If this critique gains traction, look for the Lab to exclaim how happy they are that "the residents are so passionate about SL" – the cynical game gods’ quaint way of saying STFU. But a bland brush off is unlikely to succeed after 2 year’s of M Linden’s leadership.
M started off on the wrong foot, trumpeting his engagement in SL, only to be found asleep and AFK on the job in the default noobie avatar’s jeans and T shirt – an shocking misstep in the fashion and avatar customization-obsessed Second Life.
After blowing his street-cred with the player community during his first days, the next two years have demonstrated an impressive range of player alienating actions including an attempt to de-sexualize Second Life, a round of virtual land price cuts followed by 66% price hikes that sent land owners heading for the exits, a third party viewer policy that is driving developers to rival platforms, and an arrogant aproach to DRM that caused top content developers to file a class action lawsuit against the Lab.
From the players’ perspective M Linden’s reign has been anything but a success, but it appears the Lindens have decided to bet their world on real life in Second Life – despite evidence that this experience works for neither the players nor the corporations.
What works to create a compelling Second Life experience? Player-created narrative and identity that may have very little to do with real life – despite the Lab’s continuing push to integrate the two. That a profanity-laced parody of Second Life furry culture looks far more appealing than the Lab’ official promotional video says it all. M Linden is doing it wrong.