Sansar: How to disappoint users to let them go back to Second Life

There is a rumour being spread by some residents close to Linden Lab employees (‘anonymous sources’) that the whole point of Sansar was not to create a new virtual world and pull residents out of the obsolete and impossible-to-maintain Second Life. After all, this would make no sense: the whole of Linden Lab’s income comes from Second Life (and some very marginal revenue from a few of their games apps, most of which have dramatically failed anyway), and it’s extremely unlikely that Sansar would change this — it took Second Life five or six years before it accumulated enough paying residents to cover the costs of operation, and these were other times.

Sansar is not even a visually contiguous virtual world; it’s meant to be used for ‘experiences’. And what kind of experiences…? Well, the very same kind you have in Second Life today. Oh, sure, you can animate your own avatar using VR gear, and that certainly isn’t possible in Second Life. But most people who were lucky enough to be picked for the ‘open beta’ don’t have such gear, and their avatars are remarkably expression-less compared to the ones in SL. The jury is still out about which ‘experience’ is worse, High Fidelity’s or Sansar’s.

The point is, the more people try these other attempts at doing something new and wonderful, the quicker they return to Second Life.

So maybe that was the plan all along.

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