“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!

Ignite 2021: Microsoft Is Adding Avatars to Microsoft Teams

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, its avatars, and all the companies building it. Come join us! More details here.


Hard on the heels of Facebook (now Meta) and their Connect 2021 event comes today’s Microsoft Ignite 2021, where Microsoft shows off some of the technology they’re working on. And, of course, give their own spin on the metaverse!

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella presents the company’s metaverse solutions

Here’s a seven-minute clip from Ignite of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talking about his vision for the metaverse:

Tom Warren of tech news website The Verge reports:

Microsoft is entering the race to build a metaverse inside Teams, just days after Facebook rebranded to Meta in a push to build virtual spaces for both consumers and businesses. Microsoft is bringing Mesh, a collaborative platform for virtual experiences, directly into Microsoft Teams next year. It’s part of a big effort to combine the company’s mixed reality and HoloLens work with meetings and video calls that anyone can participate in thanks to animated avatars.

With today’s announcement, Microsoft and Meta seem to be on a collision course to compete heavily in the metaverse, particularly for the future of work.

An example of a 3D avatar within Microsoft Teams (image source: Microsoft, from TheVerge)

And—if you’re having a bad hair day—hey, no worries!

Microsoft Teams will get new 3D avatars in a push toward a metaverse environment, and you won’t need to put a VR headset on to use them. These avatars can literally represent you both in 2D and 3D meetings, so you can choose to have an animated version of yourself if you’re not feeling like turning your webcam on.

Bloomberg reports that this new feature will be released next year:

If you’re worried the metaverse will be all fun and games, fear not: Microsoft Corp. is taking its own stab at the idea, and it will have PowerPoint and Excel.

The company is adapting its signature software products to create a more corporate version of the metaverse — a concept promoted by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg that promises to let users live, work and play within interconnected virtual worlds.

The first offering, a version of Microsoft’s Teams chat and conferencing program that features digital avatars, is in testing now and will be available in the first half of 2022. Customers will be able to share Office files and features, like PowerPoint decks, in the virtual world.

It would appear Microsoft’s avatars (like those in Meta’s Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms) will lack legs (image source: Microsoft, via Bloomberg)

Of course, most people already know that Microsoft acquired the social VR platform AltspaceVR in 2017 (which, by the way, is still absolutely killing it with live events programming!). Altspace is being used for a variety of purposes, including higher education (for example, teaching a psychology course at Mount Royal University).

AltspaceVR (image source: VRFocus)

It looks like we will see more integration between established business software such as Microsoft Teams with concepts from the metaverse, including avatars, over the next twelve months. The era of avatarism appears to be in full swing!


Thanks to Rainwolf for the heads up!