Can open source save Second Life?

Can open source save Second Life?

Summary: The question is whether Linden Labs is geared up to make money at all. Despite the enormous PR buzz, the dollars have not been flying in.

TOPICS: Open Source

Second Life has a lot in common with the Internet, with open source, with me. Lots of buzz, lots of fans, not a lot of money coming in. It's a classic business model problem. (That's Larry Lessig at Second Life, from News.Com.)

Will open sourcing the servers change things?

In theory there are many ways in which Linden Labs, which runs Second Life, can benefit from this move.

  • Keep doing what they're doing in competition with customers.
  • Consult with companies wishing to sell through Second Life.
  • Support contracts for open source users.
  • Custom programming for Second Life extensions.

The question is whether Linden Labs is geared up to make money at all. Despite the enormous PR buzz, the dollars have not been flying in.

So it's probably worth a shot. What do you think about it?

Topic: Open Source

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  • Nothing is likely to save Second Life

    Not real estate nor simulated sex. There is a long history of people making and losing money in virtual worlds - it's called multiplayer gaming. Millions of players world wide have participated in virtual worlds that far outshine the graphics and detail of Second Life - more importantly, there's a reason to use games - for entertainment and enjoyment.

    Blizzard with over 8 million subscribers to World of Warcraft and a killer monthly revenue spends a significant amount on content and game design. Without this subscription scheme, it's unlikely that any MMO will suceed.

    I signed up to Second Life to find a virtual world that looked very last century and NOTHING to motivate me to stay there. Sure some people are making money selling virtual real estate (sounds like the definition of a scam doesn't it) and other sell sex organs. It may have some temporary novelty value for those people who haven't experienced virtual worlds before, but unless it comes up with some reasons for wanting to spend time there (beyond nerd social networking and reading advertisements) it's going to be a temporary phenomena.
    • SL will be alright

      I am a user of both Second Life and WoW...and the previous poster obviously doesn't get Second Life. Who needs WoW when you can literally build one in Second Life? Although that may be somewhat of an exaggeration, that's what people are already doing in SL (creating RPGs, games, etc.) and shows the kind of potential a 3D-virtual world with user-created content has (be it Second Life or some other incarnation).
  • Linden Labs business model is sound

    It seems to me that Linden Labs long term business model is to be the identity managers (think Name Registers) for an expansive, ever changing virtual world, which may or may not be Second Life.

    Their exit stratgey is to hold the central identity database and the framework (think protocol and authentication \ authorization) data for any of a number of "Worlds"

    Charging 2 billion people $10 a year for identity management is a lot more profitable than infinitely scaling server farms and call centers (customer service reps).

    The end state will be a large number of "Lifes" using Linden Labs identities to allow "residents" access.

    Linden labs really sees Second Life as priming the pump. They would be happy to have anyone (or in the case of open source, everyone) take over the hardware and help desk.