The original metaverse “Second Life” is making a comeback to prove to the world that it was the first. Developed by Philip Rosedale and first launched in 2003, Second Life promised people exactly what its name implies: an alternative life away from the confines of the physical world.
Users could create an online avatar and live in an online virtual world, much like they would in The Sims video games. Second Life, which was designed as a way for people with physical and mental disabilities to find respite in the digital world, allowed people to do everything that new metaverses are promising to provide them with. In Second Life, virtual avatars known as “residents” interact with one another in a virtual world known as “the grid”
The Second Life grid is a virtual world where players can interact with other residents, socialize with them, and participate in group activities. They can also create and trade digital property. Does this ring a bell? That’s right, the same digital experience is being offered by companies of the future, such as Mark Zuckerberg’s embattled Meta, which renamed itself from Facebook to represent its metaverse ambitions, and other startups.
A new Second Life is being born
For those who enjoyed the original game and have been waiting for a new iteration, there’s no need to fret. According to reports, Philip Rosedale has assigned a team the task of reimagining Second Life for today’s users.
Rosedale’s strategy does not revolve around virtual reality. There is still a lot of work to be done before virtual reality headsets can be used by the general public, according to Second Life’s creator.
Rosedale hopes to resurrect Second Life with a no-VR-headsets approach based on the original model of the game. This would be a sort of Second Life 2.0, with all the latest features and enhancements tailored to the tastes and preferences of today’s internet users.
This is the #metaverse… A live rave happening right now in @decentraland for the upcoming @LightbulbmanNFT release by #BjarneMelgaard. Music from @feedelity @prins_thomas @mightbetwins #NFTdrop #rave #virtualevent #NFTCommunity pic.twitter.com/aC4WYRbgH9
— Alex Moss (@alexmoss) January 20, 2022
Second Life Metaverse: Is it truly a metaverse in sense?
Second Life is frequently referred to as a metaverse in colloquial speech, but this does not imply that it should be confused with the concept of a metaverse as currently understood by proponents of the concept. According to some accounts, the metaverse is a collection of hardware and software that allows for the creation of virtual and augmented reality environments. Another definition is a collection of virtual experiences that vary in scope and scale, but that are all accessible through a common set of access points, similar to Second Life.
Although these definitions are useful, the scope of what Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has proposed goes far beyond them. However, regardless of whether or not Zuckerberg is the most knowledgeable person on the subject, it is his vision that has garnered the most attention, and his name has become the most synonymous with the term “metaverse.” In other words, what exactly is that vision, and how does it compare to or differ from what we’ve all heard in previous hype cycles for virtual reality?
The metaverse, according to Zuckerberg and Meta, is a pitch for political and technical changes in the way we think about the internet itself. In order to create a property, an economic and regulatory system that is favorable to the enclosure of virtual spaces must be in place before this can be accomplished. Accordingly, Zuckerberg and other metaverse evangelists have promoted the concept of Web3, a decentralized form of commodification that relies on blockchain technologies to serve as a means of verifying ownership, such as with nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.
Users are encouraged to freely create and share their creations in Meta’s free basic world creation application Horizon Worlds, which is extremely limited at this time. This suggests that the purpose of the application is merely to whet an appetite for a more sophisticated marketplace of user-generated worlds to be launched by Meta sometime in the near future.
It is likely that the behavioral data that the company is able to collect from gaze, voice, and gestures in immersive environments will supplement whatever revenue the company is able to extract from the top of sales in this marketplace.
Second Life was founded in 2003, and Rosedale acknowledged that it has technological limitations, such as the inability to accommodate more than 100 or so people in a single space, but he told CNET that its current state could be an advantage over the “metaverse” projects that are attempting to build virtual reality worlds first. Besides expressing doubt about non-fiber technologies and speculating about the feasibility of interoperable platforms, he believes that making Second Life accessible via phone or using your webcam to animate your avatar’s facial animation would be more beneficial to its development than anything that requires users to wear a virtual reality headset.