What’s Gonna Happen?

I don’t know.

Thank you and good night.

I’m in a silly mood today. So of course it’s a perfect time to present my views on the fate of Second Life As We Know It and Virtual Worlds In General (read: Those Other Virtual Worlds That We Have Heard May Exist…and That OpenSim Thingy too) following last month’s disclosure that Linden Lab has been working on The Next Big Virtual Thing.

Let me give you my analysis in a nutshell:

I don’t know.

Thank you and good night.


Oh, that’s not enough for a blog piece?







Really. I just don’t know.


How can anyone know? Linden Lab can’t even know. They might think they know. They certainly used to think so. They might be smart enough now to know they don’t know…I just don’t know.

There’s a lot of things could happen. You don’t need me to list all of ’em, do you? I didn’t think so. I’ll just touch on a couple is all, k?

A possible outcome that doesn’t receive much discussion: LL may fall on its face with its new product – wouldn’t be the first time – and then cling to SL for dear life. Which may or may not work out for SL.

One common scenario is for a company with a money-making product to announce a new but related product…and for that new product to become successful and the older one to be phased out.

But in the virtual world world,

(i know it looks funny, as in odd…but it sounds funny, as in funny)

or the world of virtual worlds if you will,

(and even if you won’t)

the defenders of Second Life As We Know It and of Linden Lab proclaimed that this common scenario Will Not Happen.

Really? It’s outside the realm of possibility? Gee for a person who plays in virtual worlds, you don’t have much of an imagination, do you?

But some could prove this Will Not Happen. The proof: Linden Lab Said So.

Oh, well then. End of discussion, I guess. The Great and Powerful Lab Has Spoken!

Linden Lab’s obligatory, “we will continue to support and improve our current product and the two will some day sit proudly, side-by-side (with some minor AO and Sit script adjustments)” was taken as gospel. If Linden is saying it, then it is True.

The real truth is, LL would be saying that whether it was True or not. That’s how it commonly happens anyway. Heck, even if they’re telling the truth it doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind later. It might even be the smart thing to do. (Or are you saying LL isn’t smart? Well, you may have a point there…but they could change their mind for stupid reasons too. I think we’ve seen that in the past. I could cite examples if you like?)

But anyone who questions the Word of Linden or even suggests that there are a number of possible outcomes must be a Communist From OpenSim.

Announcer: Time now for Today’s Digression…with Danko Whitfield…

My dear friends, I’m just a simple Capitalist From Second Life (although I have more recently associated with Communists From OpenSim but also with Capitalists From OpenSim – yes, Virginia, there really are such people. I know! – and I even associate with the “Politics? WTF!? I’m Trying To Get 0.7.6 To Let Me HG To 0.8, Using A Hacked Mac Version Of SoaS! GTF OUTTA MY WAY!” types as well. Are you still with me? (whispers: Where am I? SW corner? Again! Lemme see those coordinates. Damn it, Jim!)  Ahem…

let’s see…something about Capitalists…k, that one got away from me… Take 2…

My dear friends, I grew up in Second Life but I now live in OpenSim as well. What a great combination they are! A lot of stuff is just exactly the same. After that, most people seem to focus on which one is better at this or worse at that or doesn’t have this or that, etc. etc. etc. Yes, yes, that’s all very nice. Arguing in the forums does seem to make the night go by faster, I suppose. Let me know if you ever solve anything over there, k? Never a discouraging word, right!? Ahhh, forums.

But for me, it all boils down to this with Second Life and OpenSim: Each of them allows an average person to do things they could not possibly do in the other. All the rest of the noise you hear… Is noise.

Announcer: And that concludes Today’s Digression. For a transcript, see above.

So yes, I am an OpenSimmer as I am a Second Lifer. I would like them both to rock on forever and a day! But I realize that might not happen. And that The Next Big Virtual Thing might come along and blow Second Life and OpenSim outta the water and onto the scrap heap (or archive).

I don’t want to see either of them go away. I’m rooting for SL. And for The Next Big Virtual Thing. And for OpenSim. And for Any Other Version Of Virtual Worlds That Floats My Scripted Boat.

But that is not going to get in the way of my understanding that the answer to the question What’s Gonna Happen? in regards to virtual worlds is:

I don’t know.

And neither does anybody else.

But hey, that’s what makes for adventure!

I’m just hangin’ on tight and ridin’ for as long as I can.

C’mon! Let’s go have fun!!


About Danko Whitfield

writer, explorer of virtual worlds. semi-retired time traveler.
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11 Responses to What’s Gonna Happen?

  1. Minethere Always says:

    oh, ok, then, let’s go have fun!!!!


  2. lmcounsellor says:

    Awesomely playful and engaging. I will take your lead and put debating the future to one side and play virtually and dwell in the here and now.


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  4. Talla Adam says:

    What an entertaining piece! But hey, Danko think about this; Minecraft graphics are blocky and basically crap but it dose just fine,,, still, and far better than Second Life ever did. There are other aging VW’s around too, still and they are holding on. Blue Mars with superior graphics came ahead of its time perhaps and failed so maybe the real answer to what is going to happen is very simple. People will go where their friends are regardless of the platform or, more rightly, they will stay where their friends are just as sure as a whole bunch of people stick like glue to Second Life and hate the very mention of Opensim. And then there are geeks like us that found Opensim compelling and because of that we are very likely to stick to our platform through think and thin no matter what High Fidelity or SL2 promises. The thing to remember is that our kind of virtual world is not about video gaming which attracts an awful lot of young people in love with high graphics and fast action. Our virtual worlds are about creative expression, role playing and story telling in one form or another. Remember the SL slogan: Your World, Your Imagination? Opensim holds to that slogan too but also has something very special, it’s open source and constantly evolving while Second Life is now official on a dead end street – something new is promised to replace it while Opensim can just go on evolving and perhaps transforming into something that will keep it’s own lovers glued while attracting a better share of future geeks.

    You got me thinking which is very distracting, heck!


    • Minethere Always says:

      The First Law of Opensim – Do not think [2nd and 3rd Laws forthcoming, I have to think about those]


  5. I too celebrate BOTH SL and OpenSim. They are both marvels of technology and human creativity.


  6. It will be at least a year before we see a public beta of “Third Life”. Until then it’s business as usual. Why worry. An old saying comes to mind; “do not gamble/invest more than you can afford to loose.” Sage advice when dealing with SL or any of the OSGrids.


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  8. Rob Christ says:

    Some did invest thousands or tens of thousands USD in Second Life and now Linden Lab is pulling a little scam attempt in chase for the big money.

    Those who invest their time and money in the Metaverse might look to do that away from under the umbrella of Linden Lab

    When thinking about all the hours creators did spend producing all that fantastic content and now receiving the message it is all for the trash bin.

    What would happen if some little dictator nation decides to trash all the museums inside of the country just because the regime feels like it.
    There would be international outrage.
    We know all the dirty tricks Linden Lab pulled with their TOS updates trying to ensure they cannot get sued. Thousands of people will lose their income or job or part time income.

    This might be a lesson not to depend on any profit driven company for your business as they trash everything you did hoping to make a couple of dollar extra.


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