Have you heard the news? Second Life founder Philip Rosedale is back! With today’s announcement about High Fidelity’s investment in Linden Lab, we’re excited to welcome back Philip Rosedale in the all-new role as Second Life strategic advisor. Philip is a recognized metaverse pioneer who led the early days of Second Life to help form and inform the now-mainstream concepts of virtual economies, cultures, and communities. In his new role, he will bring his vast virtual world experience and vision to help shape the future of Second Life.
And today Linden Lab released a pre-recorded hour-long episode of their popular talk show, Lab Gab, hosted by the ever-capable Strawberry Linden (formerly known as the SL blogger Strawberry Singh, and now a Linden Lab employee herself):
As I have often said before, Philip is a very articulate and highly informed speaker with many years of experience in virtual reality and virtual worlds, and of course Brad is no stranger to the microphone himself! I only caught the last few minutes of the streaming video on YouTube myself, but I will be sure to go back later this evening and watch this in full! Enjoy.
Second Life, the most popular and successful virtual world to date, is marking its 17th birthday with a celebration that opened today, and runs until July 12th, 2020 (here’s the blogpost from the official blog).
Patch Linden, in his opening remarks at the SL17B Live Stage to a large and appreciative crowd of avatars, said that Second Life is enjoying a renaissance, adding that “the pandemic has brought a return of many old and new generations of residents to Second Life”. He confirmed that the number of monthly active SL users (that is, avatar accounts which have signed in at least once in a month) has risen to almost 900,000 people (as I have reported before, an increase of 50%), and that Second Life has seen an increase of 20% in its daily user concurrency figures.
Many of the top performers in Second Life have come together to perform live at the SL17B Music Fest, a special two-day music event held June 19th and 20th at the SL17B Live Stage. Here’s your chance to celebrate Second Life’s 17th Birthday while experiencing some fantastic live musical talent that you won’t want to miss. The full line up is available here. (Skye Galaxy is the closing act of Music Fest on the 20th at 7:000 p.m. SLT; don’t miss his performance!)
And the Shop and Hop event has been expanded to ten (yes, TEN) full sims, with 200 stores participating, each offering discounts and giving freebies! I have already thoroughly ransacked the Shop and Hop mall, so expect a blogpost soon about the many fabulous free gifts that you can pick up, both at the mall and at the separate gifts section located on the SL17B Celebration sims.
Between The Stay at Home Club and SL17B, freebie season is truly upon us! I suggest you take full advantage of this opportunity to stock your inventories with fabulous freebies!
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: