Today, for her weekly Lab Gab talk show, Strawberry Linden had as her guest the well-known Second Life and The Sims 4 vlogger Yorkie. (I just love listening to Yorkie’s accent! If you missed today’s show, I will post a link to the YouTube video when it is posted, as an update to this blogpost.)
Yorkie, who already has a large following for his The Sims 4 videos, joined Second Life about five years ago, attracted by the level of avatar customization available to him here. He recently released a well-produced, half-hour YouTube video, giving an excellent introduction to Second Life in the year 2020 (he did a good one last year, too):
Yorkie invited Strawberry to visit his sim, which he decorated himself, and he hopes to rent out homes and create a community. Also, he has recently decided to provide his services as a highly-experienced avatar stylist for hire, charging a flat fee of only L$4,000, which works out to about US$15.00 (please note that the mesh heads, bodies, and clothing he picks out for you cost extra; complete details on his avatar shopping and styling service are here on his blog):
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.
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:
(“We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming…” If you are looking for my blogposts about the Wuhan coronavirus/2019-nCoV/SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, please click here. Thanks!)
In today’s episode of the Lab Gab talk show in Second Life, host Strawberry Linden interviewed Patch Linden (Vice President of Product Operations at Linden Lab) and several members of his team of Moles (contract employees) about the upcoming plans for the 17th Birthday Celebrations in Second Life, as well as various other topics.
The American Cancer Society is excited to host the 5th Linden Home Reveal as part of the 2020 SL Home & Garden Expo. Residents are welcome to take a tour of the new Linden Home theme that will become available at 10am SLT on Friday, February 28, 2020. Residents can land on the American Cancer Society Island and walk to the Reveal region following the directional signs from there.
Strawberry Linden has continued on with Lab Gab, a regular talk show on Second Life, hosting solo now that Xiola Linden (a.k.a. Jenn in Sansar) has left Linden Lab. Her guests today were Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, and Grumpity Linden, the Vice President of Product for Second Life, and she did a absolutely wonderful job as host, asking her guests many questions raised by Second Life’s customers.
Strawberry started off the conversation by asking Ebbe to talk about the current status of Sansar. He said (and this is a paraphrase I transcribed directly from the livestream video) that Linden Lab decided that they could no longer sponsor the project financially, so they are looking for a “Plan B”, and are having conversations with interested parties. There is as yet no deal to announce, however. Moving forward, Linden Lab will focus entirely on Second Life and the Tilia online payments business. He hopes that he can be more specific with details of a deal in a couple of weeks or so.
UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: If you are looking for an exact, verbatim transcript of Ebbe’s words (and an audio clip), Inara Pey has what you need. Thanks, Inara!
Ebbe said that in the process of rightsizing, Linden Lab lost a number of staff, but some “heavy-hitters” were transferred from the Sansar project to Second Life. He said Linden Lab is now in a very healthy financial position, but it was sad to let so many good people go, and they were doing everything they could to help them find new jobs. Out of respect for the people who were laid off, the company will not name the people who were let go, although the laid-off staff could let others know if they wanted to, themselves. (And although I did receive a list of the names of Linden Lab staff laid off in the most recent layoffs from a well-placed source, I will not be sharing it.)
Strawberry (bless her heart!) also asked Ebbe about the rumour that Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab’s founding CEO, was coming back to Linden Lab, and Ebbe said that that was not true. He and Philip do keep in touch regularly, though.
The rest of Lab Gab was about Second Life, and the conversation involved VP of Product Grumpity Linden. Work is proceeding on a large endeavour called Project Uplift, which involves moving much of Second Life’s infrastructure from server farms into the cloud (the hosting of sims, etc.), which Linden Lab expects to complete by the end of this year.
Development is underway on a companion mobile app for Second Life (not a 3D viewer) for chat, customer support for merchants, etc. The idea is to provide a tool for SL users to stay connected with their friends even if they are not on a desktop computer. They expect to have an alpha/beta user test at some point in the future, hopefully within a couple of months. The iOS Apple app will be released before the Android app.
The launch of Premium Plus accounts (essentially, super-premium user accounts with even more features and benefits) is “close”, according to Grumpity, but she would not commit to a release date yet. Premium Plus users will pay about US$20 less for the upcoming avatar name change feature than current Premium users. So, you might want to wait for Premium Plus accounts to launch before deciding to change your avatar name.
Grumpity also announced that the cost to transfer a buy-down or grandfathered sim will be cut in half, from US$600 to US$300. There are no other land price change announcements at this time.
All the winners will be emailed, and they will get a free avatar name change when this feature becomes available. (Note that there will be a whole bunch of last names available to choose from at launch, not just these eight.)
There were many other topics discussed that I am not covering here, but you can watch this episode of Lab Gab on YouTube: