Greetings. I’ve been here for almost two months and have still just scratched the surface of what Second Life is and what it can be. You know this because you are inworld frequently. Second Life continues to expand each and every day. New Residents are joining, artists are creating amazing content, new businesses are springing up, big companies are entering for the first time, educational institutions are building virtual universities… and the list goes on. Everyday I learn of something new, something bold, something you’ve created.
The possibilities of Virtual Worlds have attracted a slew of entrepreneurs and even some Internet giants. Some are offering a simple, visually appealing chat solution. Others are more ambitious. Second Life offers something no ones else does – an astoundingly rich array of user-created content and a large, diverse and ever-expanding virtual economy. The content and economy reflect the diversity of the Resident population. Your creativity covers 1.5 billion meters of space that’s taken more than 500 million hours over the past five years to assemble. It’s a mammoth undertaking.
Our growth has come at a cost which you felt, and still feel – platform stability, viewer performance, lag, inventory management, etc. It’s important for you to know that we are ALL OVER these problems and that we’re making progress.
Our next viewer, when it comes in full release, will offer a much better inworld experience. With more than 50 crash fixes, you’ll have fewer viewer failures and we’ve fixed some irritating elements in the interface. You can download the release candidate now and give it a try. We also launched a new initiative to completely redesign the viewer from top to bottom – recognizing that new users don’t need such a dizzying array of features, and experienced users, land and business owners and content creators need better tools that are more thoughtfully designed and organized for their needs. Everyone needs better inventory management and search is due for an overhaul. We hear you. We’re on it.
The most significant thing we’ve done on the stability front, by far, is shipping and fine tuning Havok4. It has reduced our simulator crash by over 80% compared to pre-Havok4 levels. On the reliability front we have created a full failover of the asset system, providing safe and continuous access to inworld content in the event of catastrophic loss of one of the asset clusters.
We’ve invested in a variety of areas of our registration process to make the platform more stable. And, we are actively improving the key databases to improve performance. Our efforts are paying off. I expect we’ll break through 70,000 concurrent users soon.
We have redesigned and rebuilt the registration process to make it easier for new members to join. Although it is still in testing, we’ve seen a significant improvement in registration levels. Significant. That, plus press attention outside the US have allowed us to hit some new registration records for the year. Very exciting. In addition, we are reworking the first-hour experience for new Residents to help them become more quickly acclimated and connected to Second Life and able to enjoy the richness and experience earlier.
In addition, Torley Linden has produced a library of 150 video tutorials designed to make it easier to do everything from teaching new Residents basic skills to putting media on their parcel. The videos are currently displayed on the blog and organized by category for easier consumption.
Support continues to expand its services to the Residents; in the last quarter we have redesigned the Support Portal interface in response to your feedback, to bring key components of our service front and center so they are more accessible. For basic members, we continue our review of “Hot Spot” problems like inventory loss, and add them to our special issues queue to get you quick service for difficult problems as they arise. The launch of the new Land Store now allows you to purchase new regions and have them delivered in moments. Projects like the Department of Public Works and Bay City are adding tremendous value to the Second Life Mainland.
Fortunately, Linden Lab is very solid financially, as you noted if you read yesterday’s blog post. We’re profitable and generating cash that is comfortably funding the investments we are making to ensure Second Life is the most vibrant, rich, diverse and immersive economy experience in the metaverse.
The Virtual World space is entering a new period. The viability of Virtual Worlds has been proven (look at all the players on the scene today!) and I believe the next three years will be a remarkable period of innovation. Today, we are seeing uses of Second Life that are world changing in the way we communicate with each other, work, learn and express ourselves. I have no doubt that Virtual Worlds are going to be an important part of our day-to-day life and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Thank you for your passion, your support, your energy and commitment. Yes — even frustration. I see it, feel it, hear it. Together, it keeps us energized and focused on what’s important.