UPDATED! Editorial: 1867 Luxembourg, After Moving from Second Life to Sansar, Moves from Sansar to Roblox: Is This a Sign That Platform Loyalty Is Coming to an End?

In November 2018, I reported that the 1867 Luxembourg sims (also known as Pfaffenthal 1867) moved from Second Life to Sansar. This was one of the first major moves from SL to Sansar by a roleplaying community, no doubt helped along by the fact that Sansar had lots of free space available for building. Not having to pay Linden Lab for seven sims in Second Life would have been a strong incentive to move.

Well, it would appear that the creators have packed up yet again, and moved from Sansar to Roblox! Here is the trailer for the new 1867 Luxembourg:

I have explored the new Roblox version of 1867 in my VR headset, and it does have some interesting features, such as sudden downpours of rain (keep that umbrella in your backpack handy, you’re gonna need it!) and the cycling of day to night, which feel quite natural. Overall, the texturing and lighting, while not as high-quality as Sansar, is still very convincing. It’s beautiful work, and it definitely stands out among the more cartoon-like fare hosted by Roblox.

But what I don’t understand is how the project manages to hold on to their userbase! In hopping from Second Life to Sansar to Roblox, they must have lost a few users along the way. According to a comment attributed to 1867 Luxembourg community leader Hauptmann “Cyberpiper” Weyder, in Wagner James Au’s coverage of the move on his blog New World Notes:

Sansar has been a disappointment. We managed to do a whole street eventually, but had to start over because of too much lag, trying to figure out ways of more efficient texturing or building. Also Sansar had promised mobile development, which was then taken off the roadmap, a big disappointment for us.  And… we all know it… no traffic in Sansar… for now…

So we have put Sansar development on the backburner, and decided to develop our own MMORPG, starting off by developing a ‘childrens version’ on ROBLOX…. 

This is a loss for Sansar that could not have come at a worse time. It reminds me of how the MetaMovie project moved from High Fidelity to NeosVR earlier this year. Perhaps now, in our “winter of discontent” for social VR (or, as Caitlyn Meeks puts it even more succinctly, “VR Winter“), we can expect more such moves by projects in search of platforms that meet their needs better.

It would appear that there is less platform loyalty out there than before. This might even be a good thing—if the platforms losing projects get the message that they need to pull up their socks. (I’m not holding my breath. I honestly don’t expect to see any major new developments to come out of either High Fidelity or Sansar for the forseeable future, as both companies seem to be hunkering down and focusing on survival mode until we reach our “VR Spring”.)

It will be interesting to see how the 1867 Luxembourg project develops over time. Will they eventually give up on Roblox, too, if another platform beckons? You can follow the ongoing saga via their Twitter feed. And you can pay a visit to their new Roblox build here. I wish them well, and I give them one piece of advice: pick a place and STAY PUT FOR A WHILE. 😉

UPDATE Nov. 24th: There’s a brand-new, 13-minute interview with Cyberpiper, the creator of 1867 Luxembourg in Roblox, which goes into the background and history of the project as well:

The Historical Pfaffenthal 1867 Sims Move from Second Life to Sansar

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Pfaffenthal 1867
Image of Pfaffenthal 1867 taken from the Second Life Destination Guide

Blogger and irrepressible 1920s Berlin landlady Jo Yardley (whom I have written about on my blog before here and here) reports that the seven-sim virtual reconstruction of the historical quarter of central Luxembourg City, Pfaffenthal 1867, is moving from Second Life to Sansar:

Members in the group received this note:

Dear citizens,

The moment has finally arrived, for the 1867 project to move on to Sansar, where land is free, where we can have better graphics, VR headsets and real physical interactivity. Note that Sansar works very well on a normal PC, for desktop mode you do NOT need a gamer PC.

IMPORTANT! All the 1867 sims in Second Life will be shut down next Monday, on the 26th of November. Please pack all your stuff by then.

We will have a good-bye party, Saturday the 24th of November at 10 a.m. at Café Neuen.

Please join us in Sansar and be among the first to get a new house there! We have 4×4 km!

Now, this is notable because it is, as far as I am aware, the first (but probably not the last) such wholesale move of virtual land from Second Life directly to Sansar. I know that they’ve been working on the Sansar experience for quite a little while now. Obviously, they think they are ready to make the switch. However, there’s still very little Victorian-era period clothing in the Sansar Store.

But, as Hauptmann Weydert says in his group note to the members of the Pfaffenthal 1867 group in SL, they have a 4 kilometre-by-4 kilometre space in Sansar for free, which is certainly a lot cheaper than what they have been paying to maintain seven sims in Second Life! In fact, you can now have up to twenty 4 km-by-4 km experiences in Sansar for free.

Here is a lovely machinima created by the talented SL videographer Pepa Cometa which gives a real flavour of the Pfaffenthal sims:

Here is a SLURL to the Pfaffenthal 1867 sims in Second Life, and here is a Sansar Atlas link to the new Pfaffenthal 1867 experience in Sansar. I would strongly encourage you to visit and explore Pfaffenthal in Second Life before it shuts down next Monday (as the video shows, it’s a beautifully crafted and lovingly detailed virtual historical recreation). Be sure to dress in Victorian-era clothing or you’ll stand out like a sore thumb!  And, I would equally encourage you to check out their new digs in Sansar.

Draxtor Despres also profiled the Pfaffenthal 1867 sims in an episode of his Drax Files series of vignettes on Second Life creators: