Sansar on Steam: Linden Lab May Be Fighting a Losing Battle Against the Thumbs-Down Crowd

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Well, the overall rating for Sansar on Steam has gone from “Positive ” to “Mostly Positive” to “Mixed” between its launch this past Wednesday and the following Sunday (in only 5 days).

The reviews are now 1/3 negative and 2/3 positive. Some of the thumbs-down reviews are by disgruntled SL users with an axe to grind. Some are trolls. Some have well-thought-out explanations of why they dislike Sansar. But it looks like the overall rating is not going to improve anytime soon. I was afraid this was going to happen.

Also, the all-time peak usage via the Steam statistics seems to be stuck at 76. Obviously, it’s still very early days though. We’ll have to wait at least a few more weeks to detect any trends.

SteamSpy Stats 10 Dec 2018.png

But it is starting to look like a similar situation might be developing to what happened when Linden Lab first launched their “open creator beta” on July 31st, 2017: a lot of people trooped in, kicked the tires, took a look around, declared themselves dissatisfied, and promptly trooped out again. (Note the slight downward trend in the overall usage stats since Wednesday on the chart above.)

Like I said, it’s really much, much to soon to make any observations. But it looks like Linden Lab is going to be facing a prolonged, losing battle with the negative reviewers.

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UPDATED! Sansar on Steam: The Earliest Reviews Are In!

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? More details here


Early this morning I decided to check what the reviewers on Steam are saying about Sansar (scroll to the bottom of the page), and overall, the news is pretty good! Thirty-one reviews so far (25 positive and 6 negative):

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But, as I had feared, there are some thumbs-down reviews as well:

Sansar Steam Negative Review 2 7 Dec 2018.png

Aah yes, the “but there’s nothing to do” crowd. Somehow it seems to escape certain people that you can create your own experiences and host events in Sansar, as many people already do. Don’t expect it all to be handed to you on a silver platter, my dear. If you’ve been in Second Life for 6 years you should already have learned that. Next!

And the “grainy and blurry” comment in the second negative review? Excuse me?!?? Are we occupying the same Sansar? One of Sansar’s strongest points is its strong support for good graphics and beautiful lighting. This person must have horrible internet bandwidth or a slow computer. Or maybe he’s just a troll.

Argh, I can see that I am going to have to limit my perusal of the negative reviews. It’s gonna give me an ulcer!

However, I was very pleased to see that Linden Lab is already actively responding to negative reviews:

Sansar Steam Negative Review 7 Dec 2018.png

Linden Lab is going to need to keep on top of this. A good response can do a lot to mitigate a bad review (even though it still brings down Sansar’s overall rating on Steam).

By the way, if you are not running Sansar on Steam (i.e. you have not downloaded and installed it from Steam), then you will be unable to leave your own review or participate in the Steam Community for Sansar. Over time, that community may become more active than the official Sansar Discord server.

Also, people should know that if you install Sansar from Steam, you must use the Steam Wallet to buy Sansar dollars, and Steam gets a cut of the transaction. If you download the Sansar client directly from the Sansar website (outside of the Steam ecosystem), you can still buy Sansar dollars the same way you did before, and Steam does not get a cut of the action. That’s an important distinction to think about.

As yet, there’s no incentive for me to uninstall my current, non-Steam Sansar and reinstall it via Steam. I don’t use Steam very often and I don’t feel like giving them a cut of my transactions when I buy Sansar dollars.

And I don’t intend to post reviews; I will leave that to other people. Besides, I already have a blog where I can praise or chastise Linden Lab at length for their decisions regarding Sansar, as you might have already noticed. 😉

Interesting times ahead! And it looks like the Steam reviews page is going to be hopping with activity! In the short time that it took for me to write this blogpost, an additional three Sansar reviews were posted: two positive and one negative!

Are you thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Sansar? Feel free to leave a comment.

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Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

UPDATE Dec. 8th: Peter Valencia (a.k.a. Theanine) has left a comment with a very useful tip for those people (like me), who might want to post a review but not actually use the Steam version of Sansar:

Some longtime users of the platform may have tried to leave a review, but to do so, they need to have run Steam Sansar for at least 5 minutes. However, if you still have the old Sansar installed, you get the error message telling you to first uninstall the non-Steam installation of Sansar.

What some might not know is that you don’t even need to login. You can just leave it open for 5 minutes with that error message still displaying. Then you can post a review. That’s what I did. I won’t be using Steam Sansar either (at least for now). I just installed it and did the trick above so I could leave a review, then uninstalled it.

Thanks, Theanine! 🙂 I have tested this and it does indeed work, provided you have bought at least $5.00 on the Steam store.

Let’s Talk Stats: The Various Sansar User Statistics Now Available, and Why They Differ From Each Other

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Image by Mediamodifier on Pixabay

Now that Linden Lab has launched on Steam, we have quite a few different statistics available, some of which may which may contradict each other. Gindipple recently shared some rather encouraging statistics on the official Sansar Discord, which show an overall increasing trend in the average number of daily and monthly Sansar users:

Gindipple's Sansar Stats 6 Dec 2018.png

Galen’s live statistics page also shows an encouraging increase in peak and average Sansar visitors over time:

Galen's Sansar Statistics 6 Dec 2018.png

Gindipple’s and Galen’s statistics will differ because they take samples of the user data at different times, using a publicly available API. One may sample the data more often than another; I don’t know how often Gindipple samples the data, but Galen says he takes a sample approximately every 10 minutes.

And Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg said on the official Sansar Discord channel this morning:

Steam tracks [people] logged in via Steam. Gindipple]/Galen log people in [Sansar] experiences that are public. We [Linden Lab] count them all – regardless how they logged in, where they are or what they do. 3 different numbers where ours will always be the bigger, sum of all, number.

As far as I am aware, Linden Lab does not publish their statistics, which are internal to the company. (If this is incorrect, then could somebody from Linden Lab let me know, and then I will update this blogpost accordingly, thank you!)

Now that Sansar is on Steam, we can also get statistics which Steam collects. Steam Charts offers what it calls “an ongoing analysis of Steam’s concurrent players” (here’s the link for all the data it currently has on Sansar):

Steam Charts Sanar 6 Dec 2018.png

Obviously, there’s not a lot of data yet to see yet! 😉

There’s also a more detailed statistical graph available on this page on Steam:

Sansar Steam Stats 2.png

Interestingly, please notice that the latter Steam graph gives a different 24-hour peak usage than the former (the top one says the peak usage in the past 24 hours is 65 users, while the bottom one says it is 75).

So now we have a wealth of different data showing us just how much Sansar is being used! This is a vast improvement over the early days in Sansar, where most of the time we had to guess how many people were using the platform.

UPDATED: It’s Official! Sansar Has Launched on Steam

I just checked, and Sansar has now officially launched on Steam:

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Here’s the new promotional trailer from the Steam page:

 

Linden Lab also sent out the following announcement:

SANSAR HAS LAUNCHED ON STEAM!
As of today, December 5th, we are officially live on Steam!

We wanted to give a huge thank you to our current community who have been so supportive, and to extend a warm “Welcome” to all our new community members joining us from Steam!

You can find us on Steam as an Early Access Game, where we’re free to download. Even better, you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits of Steam as a social platform for gamers including full access to our Steam Community Hub!

As reminder, as part of our effort to get onto Steam we have had to make alterations to our currency model, details of which can be found in this blog post.

We can’t wait for you to take this step with us, and we’d love your help in spreading the word!

Here are some things you can do if you’d like to help out:

  • Leave a review on Steam!
  • Host an Event!
  • Enter our Sokoban Puzzle challenges!
  • Make something to sell on the store!
  • Share videos and screenshots of you in Sansar!
  • Stream Sansar on Twitch!
  • Tell your friends!

Be sure to check out events.sansar.com – or find the Events tab in Sansar – to see what events we have coming up in December. You can also join our Discord if you haven’t already to hear up-to-the-minute announcements.  We’ve got some great events coming up, including Comedy Gladiators: A Virtual Comedy Experience (12/10) and the Grand Finals of Star Trek Trivia (12/13)!

If you have any questions, feel free to bring them to our weekly Product Meetup Thursdays at 11am PDT in Sansar!

Here is some handy documentation explaining Steam integration issues:

  • How to install Sansar from Steam
  • How to create a Sansar account using Steam credentials
  • How to log into Sansar using your Steam credentials
  • How to link your Steam wallet to your Sansar account

And there’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions

    • Will I have to use a Steam account or have to launch Sansar through Steam?
      • No. If you have an existing Sansar account, it will still function the same way it always has. Additionally, you will still be able to launch Sansar from the desktop client. Even after we launch on Steam, you will still be able to create new Sansar accounts and download the latest Sansar client, from our website.
      • You can also add Sansar (downloaded from our website) as a 3rd-party program you can launch from Steam.
    • Will I be able to merge my Sansar and Steam accounts?
      • No. We are not allowing account merging at this time.
    • If I want to use my existing Sansar account, can I still login to Steam?
      • Yes! If you are logged in to Steam, and download Sansar through the Steam platform, when you launch Sansar you will be prompted to login with the Sansar account of your choice.
    • Do I have to buy Sansar dollars through Steam?
      • If you created your Sansar account through Steam you have to have to use your Steam Wallet to purchase Sansar Dollars. If you created your Sansar account through our website, we will use the purchasing information we have one file.
    • How do I request a cashout of my Sansar balance?
      • Processing credit from Sansar into your Paypal account is temporarily on hold, but will be re-enabled in early 2019. Until then, if you would like to request a manual payout, you can find instructions on how to do that here.

Have fun! Join the party!

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UPDATE Dec. 6th: Inara Pey has done her usual excellent job of covering the launch of Sansar on Steam on her blog, and she adds a few details I neglected to mention:

The Sansar page on Steam includes a promotional video and a series of images from Sansar. In addition, and to underline the platform’s status, there is also a Q&A element, which addresses a number of questions, including:

Why Early Access?

“Sansar is a place where you can hang out with friends, play games, explore new worlds, and share incredible creations, but we can’t do that without you! Being in Early Access is important to us to make sure we’re hearing directly from the community on what you’d like to see and do in Sansar. Come join us!”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We plan on staying in Early Access until Sansar is the very best it can be. We’re constantly making improvements, and we’re eager for your feedback.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“We want Sansar to be the place where people can connect with communities and celebrate what they love through immersive virtual experiences, interactive events, customizable avatars, and easy creation. That’s why we plan to develop even more features around socialization, interactivity, personalization, and creation – elements that enrich the social experiences our platform enables. Plans will change based on your feedback, and we’re always listening and learning.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Right now, Sansar lets you host and attend virtual events, play games, explore user-created experiences, and buy and sell merchandise in the Sansar Store. Meet friends for a watch party and tailgate. Buy clothing and accessories for your avatars, or objects for the virtual experiences you build.”

The sansar.com log-in page now allows web log-ins using Steam account credentials (l). Sansar and Steam integration allows logging-in to Sansar using a user’s Steam credentials (r)

The launch blog post also has some important words for existing Sansar users (or those who have already created a Sansar account). these include:

  • Existing users can still access Sansar directly from their downloaded version of the client, and use all the capabilities with it, including creating new accounts; they do not have to use Steam to log-in.
  • However:
    • Existing Sansar users with a Steam account can add Sansar to their Steam account and launch it from there it they wish
    • Or if they are logged into Steam and opt  to launch Sansar via Steam, they will be prompted to log-in to Sansar with the account of their choice (Sansar, Steam or Twitch).
  • There will be no direct merging of Sansar and Steam accounts (“at this time”).
  • User with an existing Sansar account can continue purchasing Sansar Dollars using the payment information they have on file with Linden Lab.
    • However, users signing-up for Sansar via Steam must use their Steam Wallet to purchase Sansar Dollars.