Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 24, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 24, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

Virtual worlds: They're back
Virtual worlds: They're back
June 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

"We were like: Okay. Itís cool again."
- Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, developers of Second Life

With the advent of virtual reality upon us, the virtual world -- not really an MMO, but a social meeting place in virtual space -- is back. As you probably recall, Second Life was overhyped by the mainstream media in the mid-2000s, but hasn't been mentioned by many besides its die-hard audience in more recent times.

In a new interview with Re/code, Ebbe Altberg, CEO of its developer Linden Lab, discusses the resurgence of the genre as the company works on a successor to Second Life.

"One creator went into her virtual world in Oculus for the first time and was crying. Itís very powerful stuff," Altberg told Re/code. Or as Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey himself put it last year, "What's great about virtual reality is that it... enhances immersion and removes abstraction... what gets between us and the world." He was talking about games, but the principle applies to virtual worlds too -- perhaps even more aptly.

The Re/code report also makes note of High Fidelity -- a VR-powered virtual world currently in development by original Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale.

Of course, there are bigger companies that seem poised to leap into the space sooner or later (probably later.) One example is Facebook, of course. Mark Zuckerberg's belief that "immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people's everyday life" is what motivated the CEO to purchase Oculus VR, he said at the time of the acquisition. While there's as yet no indication what form Facebook-as-VR will take, Second Life is clearly its anarchic progenitor.

Related Jobs

Bohemia Interactive Simulations
Bohemia Interactive Simulations — Prague, Czech Republic

Game Designer
Next Games
Next Games — Helsinki, Finland

Senior Level Designer
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States

Tools Programmer-Central Team
Crystal Dynamics
Crystal Dynamics — Redwood City, California, United States

Senior/Lead VFX Artist


Nick Harris
profile image
Hopefully, VR will gain mainstream relevance through a social nexus like Second LIfe:

Bob Johnson
profile image
I'm smelling a flop.

I can see this thing as something people pay money to use once in awhile, but as an everyday consumer product? I'm not seeing it happening anytime soon. The cost is a factor. The removal from your environment is as much a downside as upside. You can't see your controller either or eat some munchies or sip a coke or beer or see or hear others in your home. You can't check the messages on your phone. ...not that they couldn't eventually build that in.

AT the end of the day it doesn't change the game you are playing. It's the same game. Just maybe a little cooler but without some conveniences we currently take for granted in gaming.

I have no doubt the novelty factor is pretty high. Look at all the people who try it and think it is pretty cool. And don't get me wrong I wouldn't doubt if I buy the thing out of curiosity at least.

But otherwise are consumers really going to change their habits for a little more immersion given the conveniences VR takes away? I'm much more skeptical of it as a consumer product.