Overview of Second Life

From Sl Wiki

Second Life is often classed as a MMORPG - Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. However, as we will see, this description falls very wide of the mark. It is more accurately a "3D Virtual World" that enables immersive social interaction between its participants.
As a quick summary, before considering what Second Life is in more detail, it may be useful to consider.what Second Life isn't:

  • It isn't a shoot-em-up game - it's not like 'Word of Warcraft'- there are no levels or points to attain; no goals to achieve; no endpoint to reach.
  • It isn't a "God mode" game - it's not like The Sims, where you set up all aspects of the environment and watch events unfold
  • In fact, it's not a game at all.

Also - as we will see:

  • It is not "Sadville", where pathetic souls with no real life go to find solace (or so the pathetic soul that is the author of this would like to believe).

Wikipedia describe it thus:

While SL is sometimes referred to as a game, it, in general, does not have points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy, or most of the other characteristics of games. Users, who are often called "Residents" amongst themselves, can visit this virtual world almost as if it were a real place. They explore, meet new people, participate in individual and group activities, and buy items (virtual property) and services from one another. If they decide to visit often, they learn new skills and mature socially (in the sense of learning the culture of the virtual world).

While the following comes from Metaverse Roadmap:

"The Second Life platform continues to accelerate in membership. When we first began tracking it, accounts doubled from 160,000 to 330,000 accounts in four months (March to July 2006). Secondary to massive recent media exposure, the last three doublings have occurred an average of every two months, to 2.5 million accounts by Jan 2007. Over US $1M in transactions occur daily, on average, in-world."

So what is it?

Linden Labs describe Second Life thus:
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 2,576,950 people (as of 14-01-07) from around the globe.

  • From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
  • You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow residents. Because residents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.
  • The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world currency, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online currency exchanges.

Second Life is a 3D platform for developers who want to present, promote, and sell their content and applications to a broad online audience within an immersive, shared space. Unlike other massive multiplayer online experiences, Second Life has few restrictions and provides broad and flexible content authoring experiences for developers interested in building, creating and evolving the world of Second Life. Second Life provides our expanding developer community with ownership of anything it builds or creates in Second Life. It is yours to sell, trade or monetize within the rapidly increasing population of Second Life Residents.

A bit more detail

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