by Pixeleen Mistral on 14/08/10 at 8:50 pm
Babysitting – a great new game for adult players !!!
Philip Linden announced the end of the Teen Grid in his keynote address at the Second Life Community Conference Saturday – a surprise move that left both teen and main grid players deeply concerned at the potential impact on Second Life culture.
According to the Linden Lab CEO, teen grid players 16 and over will be moved to the main grid in short order, and those under 16 will have their accounts terminated – an action that implies they will lose access to whatever assets they had in-world.
Philip was not getting any LoveMachine action from at least one attendee at the SLCC event in Boston.
During the Q&A session (at about 1:03 into the video), a clearly distraught audience member points out that the closure of the Teen Grid will wreak more than just Havok 4 on five years of work developing pedagogy around the Second Life for the younger players – and that once burned, educators will never return.
With the Lab clearly deep into a cost cutting phase, Philip was unable to offer more than vague promises that someday Second Life might be suitable for an under 16 audience – apparently the teen grid was simply not profitable enough to keep running. As the implication of the Teen Grid closing and the layoffs of 30% of the Lab staff continue to sink in, look for the educational community to accelerate moves to OpenSim and other platforms not under the control of Linden Lab.
In-world at the SLCC sims Saturday afternoon, reaction to the expected influx of teens was negative.
Enchtris Byrd said it best, “the thoughts of a friendship growing into a a romantic partnership with any one of them because they portrayed themselves to be adult is frightening .. to find out too late this partner is a 16 year old. I think it is a great mistake to bring teens into a unpredictable adult fantasy world. we deal with enough adult children now and just knowing these teens can be involved in other things with adults here that would probably get us all arrested in real life if we indulged it.. just doesn’t make sense at all”
Falrone Pettirosso has friends on the teen grid, and said Skype chat was busy as TG players tried to make sense of the situation – and scurried to created main grid alt accounts. Confusion and cynicism in the Teen Grid community is clearly seen the chatlogs Mr. Pettirosso relayed to the Herald:
Sariel Thibodeaux: Yeah… and so where do we go?
Sariel Thibodeaux: Those of us who aren’t 16+
Abdul Lenroy: you leave
Gunsmith Fhang: You get cut off, the servers get shut down and converted for the MG
Gunsmith Fhang: Then, if you are still interested when you are old enough, you rejoin
Gillian Karu: they wouldnt delete our accounts…
Gunsmith Fhang: They can, they will and they won’t even blink an eye
But will the teens survive and prosper on the main grid? According to a Pettirosso, The Lexington Army faction on the teen grid has around 800 – 1000 members and has survived despite an uncontrolled round of group notice wars in which players spam the entire group – since everyone had the ability to post group notices. The notice war meta-game apparently went on until Magenta Linden eventually cut off everyone’s ability to send notices. Perhaps the cost in Lab staff time policing the teen grid is the real driver behind the teen grid termination – but won’t the problematic behaviour follow the players to the main grid and create more player conflict?
In related news, Philip Linden also made a number of promises of improvements to the Second Life experience including group chat, and region crossings. Longtime residents have heard these sorts of promises for at least the last 5 years and greeted them with skepticism.