This morning, host Strawberry Linden had as her guests for her weekly talk show Lab Gab:
- Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (a.k.a. Ebbe Linden); and
- Linden Lab’s Senior Director of Marketing, Brett Atwood (Brett Linden).
When asked if Linden Lab has noticed an increase in usage because of the pandemic, Ebbe said:
Absolutely. We’re seeing quite an interesting resurgence of returning users, as well as new users coming in to explore Second Life. We see registrations up over 60%, [user] concurrencies up north of 10%, and we’re just a week or so into people being locked up. We can actually see countries and states that imposed strict stay-home policies, we see a corresponding jump in people in those markets jumping into Second Life.
Second Life is launching a monthly Book Club event with Draxtor Despres bringing established authors into SL (much the same as he has in Sansar!) to do readings. A blogpost on the SL blog gives more details:
As book publishers scramble to adjust to new social distancing protocols and other coronavirus-era restrictions, Second Life offers a safe, synchronous way for authors to hold real-time book readings, engage in meet-and-greets with their fans and promote their publications in an immersive person-to-person setting.
We’re proud to partner with Draxor Despres for the introduction of the Second Life Book Club, a new series of literary-minded events. Drax has lined up many established authors for a series of recurring in-world “virtual book tours” that will be kicked off in April with a multi-author panel that will discuss their thoughts on writing and selling books in the age of COVID-19.
Scheduled for the kick-off event, which will happen on April 8 at 10 a.m. (SLT) in Second Life, are a slate of best-selling authors: Matt Ruff (“Lovecraft Country”), Ken Liu (“The Paper Menagerie”), SL Huang (“Zero Sum Game”) and CB Lee (the Sidekick Squad series). This premiere event will also feature a yet to be confirmed guest from the publishing end of the book business. Stay tuned for further announcements.
When asked about people who are experiencing difficulties in paying for sims due to pandemic-related financial difficulties (with Second Norway being a recent example), Ebbe encourages users to call the Support team at https://support.secondlife.com to discuss their particular situations, to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Linden Lab offices in San Francisco are closed, since California is on lockdown during the pandemic. All staff are currently working from home. Ebbe does not expect any interruptions to its service.
For those wanting to know when avatar name changes will be available to users, Ebbe said that “very few weeks” is the outer bound for that feature. (Which would be before the end of April….but we’ll see.)
There were many other questions, so here’s the full livestream on YouTube: