“I like to dream with my eyes”: The BBC Reports on Lessons the Metaverse Can Learn from Second Life

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? You’re invited to be a part of the first ever cross-worlds discussion group, with over 600 people participating from every social VR platform and virtual world! We discuss, debate and argue about the ever-evolving metaverse and all the companies building it. You’re welcome to come join us! More details here.

Premium Second Life members can get a lovely Linden Home (image source: Linden Lab, via BBC)

I often say that 18-year-old Second Life has many lessons which newer metaverse platforms would be wise to learn from, and it would appear that the BBC agrees! Yesterday, in an article titled Zuckerberg’s metaverse: Lessons from Second Life, reporter Joe Tidy wrote:

It has been about 10 years since I first entered the virtual world of Second Life, arguably the internet’s first attempt at what every tech giant is now racing to build: the so-called metaverse.

The term metaverse was coined in the 1990s in a science-fiction novel, Snow Crash, where it served as a virtual-reality successor to the internet, where people live large portions of their lives in virtual environments.

Second Life peaked in the late 2000s with millions of users and hundreds of excitable headlines about people devoting hours of their daily lives to live digitally.

Since then, I assumed it had died a slow and quiet death. But how wrong I was.

One of the people he met in-world was Rei:

Our avatars bumped into each other after teleporting to a seaside world modelled on a strange rundown 1960s Scottish fishing village. He told me he had been spending time in Second Life for about four months after “getting curious about all this metaverse stuff”.

Rei is not a fan of Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse. “They’ll want to control everything. But I think the people should be in charge and it should be fully open,” he told me.

The entire article is well worth a read, especially if you are not familiar with Second Life and its history. SL’s massive marketplace where avatars can buy and sell user-generated content are just one of the reasons why Second Life is still so popular (in fact, many newer social VR platforms such as VRChat and Rec Room are hard at work at building their own in-world marketplaces!).

There are indeed many lessons which the newer social VR platforms (such as Meta’s Horizon Worlds, still in closed beta testing two years after it was first announced) can learn from the both the successes and the scandals of Second Life’s 18-year history. Joe ends his article:

Back in Second Life, I asked Rei one last question before I logged off: why does he keep coming back?

He answered: “I like to dream with my eyes”.

So, I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you—if you have never done so, or even if you haven’t been in SL for a long time—to come pay us a visit! You might be surprised by what you find. Second Life still is a vibrant place, 18 years after its founding, with tens of thousands of concurrent users in the virtual world at any time of the day or night.

The Second Life website (just click on “Sign Up” in the upper right-hand corner to get started)

Thanks to Neobela for the heads up!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: the Free Leah Female Bento Mesh Head by Kalhene

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group yet? I will be posting EVEN MORE news and tips on finding fabulous freebies and bargains in Second Life than I post here on the blog! More information on this brand new SL group here.

I have a lot of new people now following me on Twitter, and visiting my blog. If you are new to my blog, welcome! In a blog which I originally began a little over four years ago, covering virtual reality in general and social VR platforms in particular, many of my newer readers are no doubt puzzled and/or bemused by my regular blogposts about Second Life, which at the ripe old age of 18 is seen by many outsiders as quaint, outdated technology. You might be asking yourself: Why do I bother with SL, when there are so many newer platforms out there?

It’s because I still see Second Life as the perfect, mature, fully-evolved model of a successful metaverse, which many newer platforms would be wise to study, learn from, and emulate. I often joke that I got my Ph.D. in Virtual Worlds from the University of Second Life, and one of the lessons I learned is this: that people are willing to invest considerable amounts of time, energy and money in avatar customization! There’s a reason why SL has a marketplace with 2 billion user-generated assets to date, and still boasts an annual GDP of US$600 million! Many content creators earn a not insignificant amount of income by creating and selling mesh avatar heads and bodies, clothing and footwear, hair, makeup, and nail polish, etc.

One of those Second Life content creators is Kalhene, whom I have written about often before on this blog (here’s a link to all my blogposts about Kalhene). If you join the Kalhene store group for free, you can now pick up a lovely female Bento mesh head called Leah for FREE! Just teleport here, join the Kalhene group, and slap this sign to the right of the Kalhene Erika store entrance:

While the sign says the Leah mesh head is for the Kalhene Erika mesh body, you can use it with any Bakes on Mesh (BoM) body; in the following pictures I am pairing it with the Altamura Juliet mesh body (a Valentine’s Day group gift from a couple of years ago; this body requires a L$99 Omega system kit for Altamura bodies, plus a BoM relay which you can pick up for free from the Altamura store, in order to wear BoM skin).

Here’s what the head looks like with the included eyebrow and body shapes, without any adjustments to the head and body sliders, using the Sunkissed Bakes on Mesh skin included, one of four BoM skin tones in the package (Porcelain, Pale, Sunkissed, and Toffee). The system eyes are included as well, in four different colours. The HUD allows you to select from five different types of eyelashes, and 24 different colours of lipstick. There’s also BoM/system eyeliner, eyeshadow, and matte lips in the folder.

After making a few tweaks to the head and body sliders on the included shape, here is what the Leah head looks like:

Now, I don’t know how long this free group gift will be available, so I would encourage you to hurry down to the Kalhene Erika shopping mall sim and snap up this free Leah Bento mesh head before it’s gone! Here’s your taxi.

And, of course, I will be adding this latest freebie to my list of free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for female avatars, which I keep as up-to-date as possible as I find new products in my travels across the grid!

Happy freebie shopping!