I’m doing my thing the other day, reading my RSS feeds to catch up on the news, and I read this article about War Games and MySpace. I think to myself, that’s an odd phrase… hmmm… and I decide the title alone makes the post worth reading. Turns out there’s this group of smart kids at Harvard, MIT, and London Business School who annually participate in this conceptual business challenge. They select a topic and each group involved takes on a different business to calculate which business moves the company is likely to make and which company is likely to become the most profitable.

Late last night, I decided to visit SecondLife.com and see what the buzz is all about. I quickly learned that participation with the site requires a software download and the option to insert your credit card or PayPal information for a bonus number of mythical online currency. I declined to offer my credit card info and proceeded to enlist as a free member.

A few minutes later, I was in an online video game. I was a person walking around in a world filled with other online users. It’s crazy! Of course, it was late and my wireless speed slowed down the character movement, so I quickly lost interest for the night and turned off my computer.

From what I gather, you first select the basic appearance of your character. You then walk around these informational areas, learning functionalities before actually entering the world of Second Life. I still don’t know what to expect from the game, and I doubt I’ll be spending much time on it, but I see definite potential for people in their teens and 20s especially, finding this the perfect escape from boredom or routine responsibilities.

There are currently only a few million members on Second Life, so MySpace doesn’t have to worry about the competition just yet. However, I think Second Life may have figured out an alternative way to retain users online for long periods of time. I’ve yet to see proof of the actual potential to make money with this site, but it’s at least interesting enough to warrant a casual visit (though download time and such aren’t exactly conducive to someone interested in only snooping around for a few minutes).

If you’ve tried Second Life or have heard a lot about it, feel free to fill in the gaps.

One response to “What is Second Life and How Did It Get Compared to MySpace?”

  1. “I see definite potential for people in their teens and 20s especially, finding this the perfect escape from boredom or routine responsibilities.”

    According the Linden Lab’s statistics, the average age on the adult grid is actually 33. Second Life is also being used by some for more than recreation, though certainly use it for that. I think that it’s a common mistake, however, that people make to believe it can function only as an escape.

    The creators of the world think of it as a metaverse, rather than a game, that is entirely created by its users (in reality it’ at most 99%) such that nearly any social experience that can occur in the real world can be replicated virtually. Because of its emergent capabilities and because it is a platform, some believe that it functions as an early prototype of the future of the internet – in 3D – which the creators want to provide open standard protocols to help facilitate. So if that is the case, imagine every potential and use of the present internet, from commerce to communication and education, in the form of a metaverse.

    The comment about wireless speed is apt and not so uncommon, as I personally am one who has drunk the kool-aid and do believe in its potential, but I also acknowledge that the entire concept is limited by today’s technology (not to mention general public access to such technology). Whether or not everyone agrees on that point, the reality is that the internet will evolve and I think such an evolution is indeed inevitable.

    Anyway, here’s a couple videos that might help understand Second Life:
    http://secondlifevideo.com/item/GSN0L3YGPS16K36Y
    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20070319/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b72CvvMuD6Q
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7fBh_PbD74

    World statistics:
    http://static.secondlife.com/_files/xls/SL_Virtual_Economy_Metrics_02-02-07.xls

    Economy statistics:
    http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy_stats.php

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