Kisses $1.00

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I can’t figure out what’s going on here but it’s hypnotic.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kissing booth in real life. They were a staple of sketch comedy TV in the 70s. Also, I did a kissing booth for charity in Second Life.

Why Is ‘Second Life’ Still a Thing?

Emanuel Maiberg at Motherboard:

To an outsider, Second Life may look like a crappier version of World of Warcraft. It’s a vast digital space many people can log into with their virtual avatars, only instead of going on wild adventures, slaying dragons and collecting epic swords, it just seems like a bunch of people hanging out in bars, offices, galleries—normal places. That’s a fair assessment of Second Life, but what makes it special and lasting isn’t as apparent.

Yes, Second Life, which first launched in 2003, looks incredibly dated. Thirteen years is an eon in the technology business. There are massively multiplayer games that look prettier, bigger social networks that are better integrated to our daily routines, and video games that are far more fun to play. So why is it still hanging around?

The short answer is that there’s nothing else quite like it. Second Life was never just one of these things. It was a unique combination of all of the above—plus some weird sex stuff—that no other company has managed to displace. Even Second Life’s developer Linden Lab is hesitant to compete with it.

Also:

Second Life is still a thing because despite its age and the easy jokes, it owns an entire market it invented itself.

Why Is ‘Second Life’ Still a Thing?

That last point is key. Back nine years ago when we though “virtual worlds” might be bigger than the World Wide Web, we thought there would be many varieties of virtual world, with Second Life just one of them.

That was wrong. There is no such thing as “virtual worlds.” There is only Second Life. It is unique. It’s similar to a social network, multiplayer online game, virtual reality, augmented reality, user-generated content site like YouTube, online marketplace, and sex fetish site. But it is not any of those things. Nothing else is like Second Life, and Second Life is like nothing else.

Twitter looks to get value from drive-bys

There’s a confusing mismatch between headline and content on this story. But if I’m reading it right, Twitter is looking to figure out how to get value from the legions of people who see Twitter without logging in.

“[E]ven if a person is not a regular user of Twitter, they likely have seen a tweet scroll on a news channel or embedded in an online story.

It’s this type of reach that makes Twitter so appealing, though its prospects for advertising are tougher to crack.

Second Life tried to offer a similar value proposition. “In-world” concerts could only be seen by a couple of dozen people, but then the musician could post the concert video to YouTube for a wide audience. Obviously, this value didn’t drive Second Life into meteoric growth but (1) That doesn’t mean it’s a bad strategy and (2) Second Life is still standing — rumors of its failure have been greatly exaggerated.

Second Life is dead. Or might as well be

Second Life, to me, is pretty much dead. Although I draw the line of “dead” a bit higher than most. Practically speaking, Second Life is stagnant, and has been for years. The best way I can explain what I mean by that is to say that Second Life has lost its spirit of innovation.

You can bring up as many statistics about Second Life usage all you want. Many people still use it and do interesting things, I know. Sometimes new accounts are even made by bonafide newcomers to Second Life. The elephant in the room is that there is no way on Earth the rate of new users joining Second Life will ever keep up with how many were and are lost all the time. Many people still use Ultima Online as well, which predates Second Life by nearly ten years. Ultima Online is still around for the most part because of a die hard set of fans, the same as Second Life. Good MMO’s die slow, and both of these platforms will be around and financially viable for a long time to come.

But the blisteringly obvious aspect of Second Life that leads me to believe it is truly stagnant is the lack of development. Second Life is literally still plagued by the same problems users were dealing with in 2007. Group chat is still broken, seven years later. Users are still restricted to a very narrow definition of 3D content, mainly in that what you make for Second Life pretty much can only be used in Second Life. The fact that mesh import only supports an antiquated version of COLLADA, and that any sort of animated mesh must be rigged to the proprietary Second Life skeleton is absurd, especially when you look at other platforms of the day like Unreal and Unity, even Cloud Party. I can literally save a file in Maya and simply open it within Unity. It’s that easy.

Metareality podcast

Yes.

Also, Second Life is hard to use and doesn’t support the iPhone or iPad.

But even if those problems were solved, I wonder if SL would ever have achieved Facebook levels of popularity. People have seen the Matrix and only a few have been tempted. Turns out most people aren’t that interested in taking the blue pill.

Still, the dream lives on. Second Life has a small, devoted community. Founder Philip Rosedale is taking another run at the problem at a new startup, High Fidelity. And Facebook wants to turn Oculus into a billion-person world.