The original metaverse “Second Life” is making a comeback to prove to the world that it was the first. Developed by Philip Rosedale and first launched in 2003, Second Life promised people precisely what its name implies: an alternative life away from the confines of the physical world.
Users could create an online avatar and live in an online virtual world, like The Sims video games.
Second Life, designed as a way for people with physical and mental disabilities to find respite in the digital world, allowed people to do everything that new metaverses are promising to provide.
In Second Life, virtual avatars known as “residents” interact in a virtual world known as “the grid.”
The Second Life grid is a virtual world where players can interact with other residents, socialize, and participate in group activities.
They can also create and trade digital property. That's right, the same digital experience is being offered by companies of the future, such as Mark Zuckerberg's embattled Meta, which renamed itself from Facebook to represent its metaverse ambitions, and other startups. Does this ring a bell?
A New Second Life is Being Born
For those who enjoyed the original game and have been waiting for a new iteration, there's no need to fret. According to reports, Philip Rosedale has assigned a team the task of reimagining Second Life for today's users.
Rosedale's strategy does not revolve around virtual reality. According to Second Life's creator, there is still much work to be done before the general public can use virtual reality headsets.
Rosedale hopes to resurrect Second Life with a no-VR-headsets approach based on the original model of the game. This would be a sort of Second Life 2.0, with all the latest features and enhancements tailored to the tastes and preferences of today's internet users.
This is the #metaverse… A live rave happening right now in @decentraland for the upcoming @LightbulbmanNFT release by #BjarneMelgaard. Music from @feedelity @prins_thomas @mightbetwins #NFTdrop #rave #virtualevent #NFTCommunity pic.twitter.com/aC4WYRbgH9
— Alex Moss (@alexmoss) January 20, 2022
Second Life Metaverse: is It Truly a Metaverse in a Sense?
Second Life is frequently referred to as a metaverse in everyday speech, but this does not imply that it should be confused with the concept of a metaverse as currently understood by proponents of the idea.
According to some accounts, the metaverse is a collection of hardware and software that allows for creation of virtual and augmented reality environments.
Another definition is a collection of virtual experiences that vary in scope and scale but are accessible through a standard set of access points, similar to Second Life.
Although these definitions are helpful, the scope of what Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has proposed goes far beyond them.
In other words, what exactly is that vision, and how does it compare to or differ from what we've all heard in previous hype cycles for virtual reality?
However, regardless of whether or not Zuckerberg is the most knowledgeable person on the subject, his vision has garnered the most attention, and his name has become synonymous with the term “metaverse.”
According to Zuckerberg and Meta, the metaverse is a pitch for political and technical changes in the way we think about the internet itself.
To create a property, an economic and regulatory system favorable to the enclosure of virtual spaces must be in place before this can be accomplished.
Accordingly, Zuckerberg and other metaverse evangelists have promoted the concept of Web3, a decentralized form of commodification that relies on blockchain technologies to verify ownership, such as with nonfungible tokens or NFTs.
Users are encouraged to freely create and share their creations in Meta's free basic world creation application Horizon Worlds, which is extremely limited at this time.
This suggests that the purpose of the application is merely to whet an appetite for a more sophisticated marketplace of user-generated worlds to be launched by Meta sometime shortly.
Likely, the behavioral data that the company can collect from gaze, voice, and gestures in immersive environments will supplement whatever revenue the company can extract from the top of sales in this marketplace.
Second Life was founded in 2003, and Rosedale acknowledged that it has technological limitations, such as the inability to accommodate more than 100 or so people in a single space.
Still, he told CNET that its current state could be an advantage over the “metaverse” projects attempting to build virtual reality worlds first.
Besides expressing doubt about non-fiber technologies and speculating about the feasibility of interoperable platforms.
He believes that making Second Life accessible via phone or using your webcam to animate your avatar's facial animation would benefit its development more than anything requiring users to wear a virtual reality headset.