First, the company aims to create a browser-based virtual world experience, eliminating the need to download software. Secondly, Linden Lab will look to extend the Second Life experience into popular social networks. Ultimately, we want to make Second Life more accessible and relevant to a wider population.Wow! They really jumped on my insight.
Okay, I probably had nothing to do with it. But as much as I detest the idea of Second Life being transformed and homogenized to cater to the Farmville-playing masses, it's probably the only business decision they could make with half a chance to break out of the niche market ceiling they've been rubbing up against.
Over the years, many of us in the Second Life community have felt like we've been pioneering the future of networked culture. But I've been growing increasingly convinced that the direction the future has actually taken over the past few years is in a direction that is not compatible with the walled-garden, hyper-immersive virtual world paradigm of Second Life as we know and love/hate it.
The socially-networked, continuously multi-tasking, pervasively connected, attention-deficit inducing, mobile-device focused world that is emerging doesn't have much room for a virtual world that requires downloaded software with a huge learning curve that only runs well on a high end computing system. And it seems pretty far fetched to ask teens who average a text message every fifteen waking minutes to pay attention long enough to be immersed in a virtual world like Second Life.
I plan to post more on this topic in the near future. Until then, the best explanation I've seen of the emerging network culture trend is in The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Your Brain, by Nicholas Carr.