Second Life founder returns to hack the metaverse once again

Editor’s opinion: Second Life founder Philip Rosedale returns to Linden Lab to help navigate the company and its pioneering virtual world in today’s metaverse. It would be great if Second Life had a second wind, or at least if Linden Lab could use what it has learned in the digital social arena to create a virtual reality-based successor to Second Life. They tried with Samsar once before but ended up selling the project in 2020.

Rosedale, a social virtual reality company High Fidelity, has acquired a stake in Linden Lab, which is said to include cash investments and distributed computing patents. Some High Fidelity employees will also join the Linden Lab, and Rosedale will rejoin Second Life as a strategic advisor.

Second Life was launched in 2003 as an online virtual world in which avatar players create a “second life” for themselves. This is not really a game, since there are no goals or “artificial conflict” in it, but rather a virtual space where you can do whatever you like.

In the early years, growth was strong, and by 2013 36 million accounts was created with a million users logging in every month. In May 2020, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg said The Second Life community had approximately 900,000 monthly active users.

Since then, big tech has jumped on the bandwagon of the metaverse, but not everyone is convinced they can do it right.

“Nobody has come close to creating a virtual world like Second Life”, said Rosedale. “Big tech giving out virtual headsets and creating a metaverse on its ad-driven platforms for behavior modification will not create a magical one digital utopia for everyone,” he said, adding that virtual worlds don’t have to be dystopia.

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