Rec Room Job Postings: The Social VR Company Is Planning for User Generated Content and a Marketplace

Last month, I wrote the following in an editorial on the current state of social VR:

So, it would appear that those social VR platforms that do have in-world economies can’t attract large numbers of users, and the ones that don’t have in-world economies might be popular, but obviously can’t keep running indefinitely without a means of generating profit.

And back in August, I noted that VRChat is looking to hire staff who can work on building a virtual economy and a marketplace for user-generated content.

Well, today I took a gander at the Jobs page on the Rec Room website, and guess what I found? Job postings for the following positions:

  • Game Designer, User Generated Content, with the responsibility to “utilize a broad range of game design techniques to make complex and intimidating User Content Creation tools approachable & easy to use for everyday gamers”;
  • Games Developer, Marketplace, where the successful applicant will “build the tools that allow creators to sell wares via the in-game economy”; and 
  • Senior Gameplay Engineer, User Generated Content, whose job will be to “design, build, implement and maintain creative tools that players use to collaboratively build within Rec Room”.

So it would appear that Rec Room, like VRChat, is also planning to implement an in-game economy, including a marketplace where user-generated content will be sold. Note also the mention of staff who will be working on easy-to-use, collaborative building tools for user content generation.

Of course, having an in-world economy would be an important step on the road to Rec Room becoming a profit-generating company. It will be interesting to watch as the company attempts to grow its userbase!

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Linden Lab Wants to Hire an Anti-Money-Laundering Expert for Second Life and Sansar

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Wagner James Au of the long-running blog New World Notes picked up on it first:

Linden Lab is hiring a Senior Compliance Analyst for Sansar, and the job description vividly illustrates just how deadly serious a job like that has become. Used to be that a role like this might focus mainly on everyday consumer issues like credit card fraud/misuse (i.e. kids secretly using their parents’ cards to buy virtual gold). Nowadays, however, it reads like a job description for someone in the FBI.

The official position description from the Linden Lab website reads as follows:

The ideal candidate for this position will be responsible for supporting and maintaining various compliance activities and programs, including the Customer Identification program and associated vendor management processes. Responsible for monitoring and assessing compliance issues concerning the patterns and trends associated with money laundering and other potential compliance-related risks. Assist with mitigating money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud related risks, and gathering data and documents for state exams. 

This posting comes about six months after a woman who was Linden Lab’s information security director, Kavyanjali Pearlman, was let go by the company. Ms. Pearlman later filed a lawsuit against Linden Lab (according to a WIRED article on the lawsuit):

A lawsuit filed by the former information security director of Linden Lab—the company behind the online virtual world Second Life, which, yes, is still a thing—claims the company mishandled sensitive user data and turned a blind eye to…the potential for money laundering.

In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court on July 30 and served to Linden Lab on Tuesday, Kavyanjali Pearlman, a security researcher who joined Linden Lab from Facebook in 2017, says that she raised these issues during her tenure, and was met with hostility. The suit alleges company executives retaliated against her for flagging cybersecurity risks and potential violations of anti-money-laundering laws…

“While we will fight her alleged claims in court, we deny any allegations that the company has engaged in any illegal activity,” said Linden Lab spokesperson Brett Atwood. “Ms. Pearlman left the company on March 15 only after she was given the opportunity to improve her work performance. We look forward to all the facts coming out in a court of law,” he said, declining additional comment because of the lawsuit.

Well, it would now appear that Linden Lab is choosing to throw some more resources at the potential misuse of its products, Second Life and Sansar, for money laundering purposes. You might remember that this is one of the reasons why Linden Lab recently instituted new regulations regarding the cashing out of money from Second Life, citing the need to respond to new U.S. financial laws.

Which leads me to wonder: how are the other metaverse-building companies responding to the same issue of potential money laundering happening on their platforms, using their in-world currencies? Particularly if they are based in the United States, they are subject to the same American regulations as Linden Lab. How are they responding?

The more I monitor all the social VR and virtual worlds I cover on this blog, the more I realize that any company building a social VR platform or virtual world has got to be able to juggle an overwhelming number of technological, political, and legal issues, all at the same time. I’m quite sure that a few of the newer platforms have probably never even stopped to consider money laundering and other financial compliance risks. It’s time they woke up to a new reality, before federal agents come knocking on their doors.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

VRChat Is Planning for a Virtual Economy, Currency, and a Marketplace for User Generated Content

VRChat just posted a tweet to let people know they’re hiring:

So, I moseyed over to take a look at their job listings. Among other things, they don’t mind if you are a remote worker:

The VRChat team all work remotely. We are distributed around the United States, Canada and Europe. We have semi-flexible working hours with some core hours in the Pacific (UTC -7/-8) time zone. It really doesn’t matter where you work from, as long as you have a great internet connection and the ability to connect to the VRChat platform. We’ve also recently launched on the Oculus Quest, which is a really handy travel-ready version of VRChat.

They are looking for a wide variety of people—Unity engineer, security engineer, customer support—but what really got my attention was a posting for a Virtual Economy Manager:

We’re looking for someone to lead the development of VRChat’s virtual economy, currency and marketplace. VRChat is a “live” platform that’s constantly updated and evolving, so you’ll see your work have an immediate impact to our massive global community of users.

At VRChat, we’ve got ideas about how we’d like to move forward with our economy, but we’re looking for someone with experience to help guide and lead the effort. As our Virtual Economy Manager, you’ll be responsible for the oversight, development, release and management of VRChat’s virtual economy, currency and marketplace. If you’re interested in creating a whole new virtual economy and help the community make a living in the VRChat universe, then this role could be right up your alley.

Among the responsibilities of the position are the following:

– Work with design and production to plan, document, design, implement and manage a virtual currency economy with user generated content
– Work with design and production to plan, document, fully design, implement and manage a marketplace for virtual goods
– Work with various teams to implement, QA and release various monetization models
– Engage with the community team and community feedback to iterate on VRChat’s economy and marketplace
– Review and design monetization-based analytics
– Provide new feature recommendations that improve monetization and retention

As you may already know, there is a booming economy already happening around VRChat, but it is all happening entirely outside the platform itself. In April 2018, I interviewed Ghoster, who runs the popular and successful VRC Traders Discord, where many people are already earning hundreds, even thousands, of dollars by designing and creating custom user avatars for other VRChat users. Here’s an invitation to join their Discord if you’re interested.

VRChat faces a somewhat tricky transition from an anything-goes, intellectual-property-flouting wild, wild west to an more orderly, legal in-world economy. Among many other things, they will have to learn how to deal with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices issued against content creators. Not to mention compliance with new U.S. financial regulations to prevent money laundering, such as the new Tilia rules in Second Life.

It will be very interesting to watch as this all plays out, and learn how in-world commerce will be built into the platform. (Let’s hope they don’t decide to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon!)

Linden Lab Is Looking to Hire a Second Life Photographer and Machinima Creator


Photo by Patrick Brinksma on Unsplash

Linden Lab seems to be on a hiring spree! The position of online community manager for Sansar has already been taken down from the Careers section of the Linden Lab website, but there’s a brand new job posting for a Marketing Content Specialist:

Linden Lab, a pioneer in the creation of virtual worlds, is looking for a Marketing Content Specialist who can help showcase the beauty and diversity of Second Life to both new and existing audiences. This junior-level position is responsible for creating outstanding short promotional videos, images, and other assets as needed, to be shared in advertising, social media, email marketing, and other outlets.

The ideal candidate for this position is already familiar with creating great photo and video content using Second Life. This job requires a solid understanding of “inworld” photoshoots and machinima including knowledge of high-quality and on-trend avatar creation, lighting, poses, and environments. You’ll also help us curate the Destination Guide, our directory of cool and highlight-worthy places and events in Second Life. If you think you’ve got what it takes, then we want to see your portfolio!

And the best part is, you can apply for this job even if you want to work remotely! (The job posting also mentions Linden Lab offices in the cities of San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Charlottesville, and Atlanta.)

This could be somebody’s dream job. God knows that there are dozens—even thousands—of talented photographers and machinima creators in Second Life. People who already have the skillset that Linden Lab is looking for.

So, if you think you have what it takes, get your application in! Who knows? You could land up working for Linden Lab!