Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Finally a Clear Future for Second Life: Linden to buy the Amazon of Virtual Worlds (XstreetSL and OnRez)

I have worked hard to phrase this heading... I wanted to share the very good feel :-) I had this morning when I got an email from Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life, stating it is now the "owner" of the XSteetSL and OnRez.

XstreetSL (formally known as SLexchange) was the premier place to do shopping in Second Life (OnRez was similar in scope but less friendly to me). Both firms allowed users to buy from merchants in the same ease of Amazon. You could compare prices, read comments. The "heavy" users of Second Life used these sites to quickly get a feel of what is new, compare, get feedback, and buy raw materails (like textures, animations, etc.).

Why is this such good news? for Second Life and for us?

For the first time I see a clear busines model to Second Life. A busienss model that will allow Second Life to thrive. During the last year, in various ocasions I have noted that I simply do not see a clear busienss model for second life. Selling islands and open sourcing did not work togther. Now I see it...

As a merchant I did not care about 5%-10% Xstreet fee. After all Sstreet did give me a service. As a shopper I do not care -- because this fee was bundled into the price. This model is also used by IMVU (but they also charge fee per listing, and a MUCH higher fee which makes the entire transaction less valuable last time I checked wich was early 2008).

Having a clear business model fro Second Life is a must. Because without a business model (read: paying salaries) Linden will not be able to continue to develop Second Life -- and the one system that has the chance to become the global virtual worlds will go to visit Netscape in the graveyard of good ideas gone bad.

I'm also impressed by the fact that Linden got the two main players and what seems to be a decidve move. so well done. I'm happy.

See more details in the Linden Blog