Friday, February 12, 2016

Second Life 2 AKA "Sansar". Is this the end of Second Life?

There has been much talk and speculation about the new virtual world project that Linden Lab has been developing.  Many insider interviews were vague, simply stating that it will be a better and more advanced platform then Second Life.  From what we have researched, this new virtual world will be called "Sansar".  However, I don't believe this is the official name yet.

Here is what we have learned about Sansar.

 Sansar will not be Second Life 2.  It will be a totally different platform. LL is building a whole new rendering engine and advanced in-world tools for content creators with more options.

Sansar will be Oculus Rift compatable

Linden Lab's CEO, Ebby Altberg was quoted as saying in an interview with Derrick Schneider "“we’re turning the concept inside out and thinking of it as a platform. We want to make sure that every experience that creators make can be directly entered into from the outside world.” While you’ll still need to download a client, imagine going to a web page that goes in-depth on a given topic — Mayan temples, say — and then says, “here’s a VR experience that gives you another view” in the same way you might see an embedded video today. There will also be ways to find other experiences once you’re inside the ecosystem. “Consumers of the experience have a relationship with the creator,” he says, “but you can discover other experiences from there.”
“We want to lower the barrier of entry for VR experience creation,” said Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab. “Project Sansar will do for virtual experiences what WordPress has done for the Web: empower a broad range of people to create with professional quality and reach global audiences. By greatly expanding who can create virtual experiences, Project Sansar will also extend the value of VR to a wide variety of use-cases — from gaming and entertainment to education, architecture, art, community-building, business meetings, healthcare, conferences, training, and more.”

Following that statement, some residents were concerned that Sansar will be a gaming platform where developers can create games without having to create an infrastructure needed for most MMO;s.

Another change is that all sales will be taxed.  This is a concern because creators will need to charge more for their products to cover taxes. Plus, it leaves to question how things like tip jars or donations will be taxed.   Where Second life made revenue through land sales, Sansar will make revenue through sales taxes.

It won't be a blank canvas like Second Life was.  SL began as an island with nothing but trees but as more residents joined, houses, building, parks, etc were built and more regions created.  LL has invited the "chosen" few creators and content partners will be invited to "test" and they will create content using Autodesk Maya Software and importing their content to the new platform.  They will add new content to the platform as the testing expands.  As I understand it, the "chosen few" will basically be dominating the market in Sansar before it's even open to the public.

Linden Lab claims that Sansar will be a social platform first and foremost.  They are selling it as the Word Press of virtual reality.  They aim to both democratise VR and make it much more diverse than if the future of the medium were decided by say, the games industry and Hollywood. They want Sansar open to not only PC's but mobiles and may other virtual reality devices such as PlayStation.  They want Sansar brought into the real world through social media's such as Facebook.

Avatars will be created using 3D scans of actual people, giving a more realistic look with the pixel resolution of the Oculus Rift.  They are also working on more advanced facial expressions.

Sansar promises to be lag free by creating a platform that supports more people at one time.

Many have ask why not just improve Second Life instead of creating Sansar.  And the answer is that it would be impossible. Sansar is a different platform that won't rely on multiple servers with limited space and coding.

With Sansar, LL is building their own version of a HTML5 virtual world which is basically web pages with 3D objects. They have already created "High Fidelity" in the same format that also uses HMD's such as Oculus Rift and hand controllers for movement, much like Wii games.

Does this mean the end of Second Life?
In our opinion, no. First off, the fact that creators have to use Maya or Blender outside of the platform means that only the most skilled creators will be making content.  Also, since only the chosen few will be creating or "testing" on the new platform, means that new residents will have to purchase everything from clothing to homes and property from the chosen few to start.  Also the sales tax will be factor with creators of smaller or less expensive objects.  The rumored $30.00 USD monthly fee will keep many from even coming to Sansar altogether.  There still is no word on whether SL inventory can be migrated into Sansar, which leads us to believe that it will not.
Where as LL promises advanced and easier to use building tools in Sansar, they will not be available at first so anyone trying out the new Sansar will be disappointed if they plan on creating and don't know Maya or Blender.  LL will introduce those tools in time but how many people will leave Sansar in the meantime?  It seems that all the Linden favorites such as those who have been involved in the early slim days and those who's creations and ideas have made LL very rich will be the only ones who will benefit from this new modern world. If they can pull of more realistic avatars that are better looking and have facial expressions.  They may have several SL residents that move over to Sansar but SL has well established clubs and hang-outs, friends and families.  Homesteads and sims that took months and years to build.  Where SL may see a slight decline in new residents due to the large advertisement campaign planned to launch Sansar, and may lose some residents to the new improved world.  I don't believe there will be nearly as many SL residents willing to leave SL for a few shiny baubles. Only time will tell.

We will keep our readers informed of new developments and news as soon as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment