. . . Second Life could leap to mass market with one small addition: integration with Facebook. Just imagine that you could coax someone into Second Life as easily as an invitation to Mob Wars or Farmville and that they could be rezzed as an avatar using Facebook authentication in less than a minute. You could invite someone to a live music performance, an art opening or a birthday party and they could attend without a registration process or massive client download. Now that's a killer app!Now that Cloud Party has launched with an impressive initial beta, it may be better for Linden Lab to buy than build. Because given the historical rate of their development efforts, by the time they'd launch their own version they'd be playing catch-up. (Unless that's one of the Lab's secret projects.)
Second Life brand equity at this point isn't an advantage. It's a weight around its neck. The reason growth is stagnant is very simple: 99% of those who give it a try don't make it past their first few visits. Over the past five years, multiple millions of people have marched in and back out. Like mom always said, "You only have one chance to make a first impression." It's unlikely that very many of the unimpressed are going to waltz back in without some radical new offering. Like Cloud Party.
I have no idea what Cloud Party's valuation is. It's very possible that they're not looking for new investors. But the synergy would be excellent, especially if Cloud Party is going to be a relatively light-weight world targeting people who are new to avatarian life. It would give newcomers a fast, fun and easy introduction to virtual worlds. Once they were comfortable to the concept, they could graduate to the more robust Second Life. Win-win.
Maybe that's an insane idea. But as Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."