Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Second Life - Future of Virtual Worlds

The Second Life virtual community is settling down after a period of phenomenal growth. I met a senior member of the development team recently who tells me that they are experiencing all the economic challenges of a small country, with over 34 million citizens of which 50,000 are online and moving around at any time engaging with others. The latest upgrade to Second Life means you can talk to people and maybe one day you will be able to create a three dimensional image of yourself though most people seem to prefer a fictional name and appearance.

The governors of the world have to meet every few days to keep an eye on currency, exchange rates and inflation. When real estate prices rise too high they release more land for development – but if they release too much they could cause a price crash, and also create too much space for people to wander around in without meeting too many other people. They also need to watch out for currency stability and when the Linden dollar to US dollar gets too high they print more money.
The creators of Second Life don’t actually sell any products or services to citizens, relying on the rest of the community to organise themselves.

The average age of a Second Life user is over 40 - and many are over 65. While men and women are roughly equal in numbers of users, women tend to stay in thew virtual world longer and so there are usually slightly more women than men in Second Life.

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