Hackers are stealing Second Life’s player-made lootboxes and selling them for profit

Second Life is a virtual world stereotypically thought to be steeped in cyber sex, but beyond that thin layer of prurience is a thriving community of artists creating everything from lavish Beverly Hills-style mansions to the eyeliner your avatar wears. Its economy is a staggering $500 million USD machine of virtual ecommerce, with many players making a real-world living by creating, marketing, and selling digital products. But those same creators are locked in a long battle against groups of cheaters who, using a series of exploits, are stealing their products and selling them for profit on Second Life’s official Marketplace. It’s potentially costing Second Life’s virtual artists tens of thousands of real dollars and highlights the nightmare of defending your intellectual property on the internet.

Second Life is unique in the MMO genre for many reasons. It’s not so much a game as it is a social space that players can customize however they like. Called ‘sims,’ these sandboxes are spaces that players fill with all manner of player-designed objects. Unlike other MMOs, however, these objects aren’t created using some in-game crafting system, but built with software like 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, and a lot more. Some players build mansions and throw elegant parties while others own retail stores that sell their hand-crafted apparel. And, yes, some just want to have cybersex.

Second Life’s creators were on track to take home $60 million USD collectively in 2017.

But it’s also unique in that, unlike most MMOs, players can exchange Second Life’s ingame currency (called Lindens) for US dollars. Peter Gray, who was Linden Lab’s senior director of global communication before leaving early this year, told me via email that Second Life’s creators were on track to take home $60 million USD collectively in 2017. It’s what’s led many players to turn Second Life into a full-time job. But for two years now, those same creators have also had to deal with the frustrating rise of ‘dupers’ or ‘copybotters’—players who illegally duplicate their items for profit using exploits.

Theft of a salesman

“It’s very much a big deal,” Oobleck Allagash tells me. He’s the owner of PocketGacha, an innovative HUD-based storefront that works with several designer brands in Second Life to sell their products. Since launching in August, PocketGacha has made “more than tens of millions of Linden” in sales from “tens of thousands” of customers. While many creators in Second Life were vaguely aware that duping was an issue, Allagash became a unifying voice in the community because PocketGacha’s backend system allowed him to track sold inventory across multiple brands and see how widespread the issue was becoming. It’s how he became aware that the Marketplace was frequently featuring items for sale at seemingly infinite quantities and exorbitantly low prices—both telltale signs that they had been duplicated.

A lot of artistry goes into Second Life’s virtual products.

Allagash tells me that, in Second Life, one of the most popular ways to shop is through games of ‘gacha’ or, as its traditionally known in Japan, ‘gashapon.‘ “It’s a game where you have a machine that you play, paying typically about 50 Linden [$0.25 USD] for each go, and you are given either a common item or, if you’re lucky, you’ll eventually get a rare item which is typically more robust in its design,” Allagash explains. “It can be a vehicle or a house, for example.” Some gachas might award makeup or articles of clothing in a complete outfit, while others, like the popular Kunst brand, offer meticulously crafted themed decor.

On the surface there’s little difference between gachas and the controversial loot boxes that are appearing in many games like Star Wars Battlefront 2, but there’s several key distinctions. For one, these items have tangible value. Each play is always rewarded with an item, and any you win can be resold on Second Life’s Marketplace for Lindens and then converted into US dollars. Secondly, the proceeds of these items goes to their respective creators, not Linden Lab (though it does collect a small transaction fee for items sold on the Marketplace). And for those who hate the gambling aspect of gacha games and loot boxes, many creators also offer a buyout price to purchase the set in full.

“It develops sort of a trading atmosphere where people will trade for commons and rares,” Allagash explains. “There’s a whole cottage industry that has developed in Second Life of people reselling a lot of these items that they get.”

In Second Life, some items are ‘copy’ items, which can be copied and pasted multiple times inside of a sim. Most gacha items are different. Called ‘transfers,’ they can only be placed in a simulation once, and if you sell it, it’s gone from you inventory. Like Magic: The Gathering, it’s a market valued by the scarcity of sought-after rare products, and Second Life’s dupers are undermining the whole thing.

“Some bad guys have figured out how to duplicate as many of these transfer items as they want,” Allagash says. “You can duplicate thousands of them, and they have real value on the reseller market.” While the exact exploit is a closely guarded secret, the general idea is that these dupers strategically “crash” a sim, which somehow allows them to create infinite duplicates of an item. Dupers can even duplicate in-game gift cards for various player-owned stores, letting them buy anything for free.

Buyer beware

According to several players I spoke with, it’s been a problem for years that Linden Lab only acknowledged in November after mounting pressure from the creator community. “Recently, we closed an exploit that fraudulent gacha re-sellers had used,” the company said in an update posted on November 2. “Our governance team can now catch them when they attempt the cheating method that we have already fixed.”

Second Life’s creators hoped it would be an end to duping. Inevitably, it wasn’t. I spoke with one creator who requested to remain anonymous. Their brand is one of the more popular in Second Life and it’s become a full-time job that earns them a healthy income. Days after launching a new product line after Linden Lab allegedly shut the exploit down, they found a suspicious listing on the Marketplace offering the entire product line in one bulk package for almost 1300 Lindens less than the competition.

I don’t even like to imagine [the damage to my business] most of the time.


Second Life’s Marketplace doesn’t let customers see metrics like units sold, so this creator and Allagash had to get creative. The maximum amount of quantity that can be purchased at one time is ten, so they began buying up stock to see how much this alleged duper had. It was an impossible amount. During my interview with Allagash, he demonstrated this by sharing his screen with me via Skype. I watched as he purchased almost 40 full sets of this creator’s product line from the alleged duper. He then showed me PocketGacha’s backend tracking system, which operates similarly to any retail store, to show how unlikely it was that one person could have potentially over a hundred copies of this particular item when only several hundred had been given away through the gacha game.

Making matters worse, this alleged duper was the most popular listing for these particular items on the Marketplace, effectively tanking their value. “The damage is huge,” the anonymous creator tells me. “I’m the one paying for the subscriptions for the programs to create my products, I’m paying for marketing, I’m paying for the cost of running the sims—everything to keep my business going. Then there’s the emotional and time investment into the work. The amount of time it takes to make a gacha release, for example, can lead to 16-hour days. I don’t even like to imagine [the damage to my business] most of the time. Over a day or two it might just be a hundred dollars maybe, but over years…”

A screen capture of one alleged duper selling items for well below their going rate.

One thing that isn’t clear is what these dupers hope to gain, but Allagash and the creator I spoke to both insist it has to be real-world money. “They’re clearly not just doing this to be able to have fun in Second Life. They’re making significant money,” Allagash tells me. Because Second Life’s virtual economy is susceptible to money laundering, Linden Lab has a strict process for withdrawing US dollars. Allagash says that if it’s possible these dupers have found ways to undermine the game, it’s plausible they might have found loopholes in withdrawing their money too.

Creators aren’t the only ones finding it hard to compete with dupers, either. As Allagash tells me, Second Life has a massive economy of professional resellers. These players gamble on gachas and then sell the items they receive to ultimately turn a profit themselves. It can be a very lucrative business, according to one reseller—until dupers get involved, that is. “When [dupers] steal designs to sell I no longer invest in a set, depriving the creator of money,” Sushnik Samas, a reseller, tells me. “The expected return on a copied set plummets. Others may not be quite as scientific as I am, but surely realize they are bleeding money and also stop playing a set giving the thief free reign on the copied virtual goods.”

A history of being duped

Wanting the perspective of someone whose livelihood wasn’t impacted by this, I reached out to Wagner James Au, a tech consultant and owner of the prominent Second Life and virtual reality blog, New World Notes. He tells me that, despite the outrage, the problem of duping is largely contained within the niche of gacha sellers. “For one thing, only a fraction of the total [Second Life] economy is based around the web-based Marketplace—most active SLers prefer to conduct many or most transactions in-world, since it’s a more seamless, immersive experience.”

This is just one more chapter in Second Life’s long history of intellectual copyright theft.

Au goes on to explain that this is just one more chapter in Second Life’s long history of intellectual copyright theft. Since 2006, players have frequently found their virtual products stolen and duplicated in a number of ways, which “inevitably (and usually belatedly), Linden Lab tamps down with some increased whack-a-mole against infringers, and the outrage is shunted elsewhere.”

But even Au agrees that while duping might not be killing Second Life, it’s still an issue. “Linden Lab has not been transparent or sufficiently responsive to duping issues like this, especially when many people’s literal livelihood depends on their responsiveness. The fact that the [Second Life] virtual economy as a whole is more or less doing well doesn’t change that.”

Speaking with Allagash and the others affected by this, Au’s statement echoes their frustrations: Dupers are to be expected, but Linden Lab needs to improve. The company employs measures to protect its creators’ rights chiefly through a DMCA filing process and an internal abuse reporting system. The problem, as Allagash tells me, is that neither of these systems is very efficient.

“The DMCA report is managed by an outside company will take this particular thing down faster than an abuse report,” Allagash tells me. “So what happens in this sort of spider web is that the DMCA report will take [the Marketplace listing] first, which is immediately helpful for that creator. But after the DMCA report takes it down, there’s no [evidence for the abuse report] and so Linden Labs does nothing. The person isn’t banned, there’s no punishment. They come right back and do it again.”

For the creators who are, in many ways, the lifeblood of Second Life, it’s immensely frustrating since both systems can take days or weeks to produce results. “I feel like they see the DMCA as the end-all to the problem,” the anonymous creator told me. “And in some sense, it is—the item is removed from sale. But the problem is that someone can just make a new account and upload the item again. It’s [Linden Lab’s] follow through with repeat offenders that is lacking, and it’s their unwillingness to comment or work with us on it that makes me feel not valued as a creator.”

Linden Lab, however, feels differently. “We take the protection of SL content creators and our community very seriously,” Peter Gray, who was Linden Lab’s senior director of global communications until departing the company during the writing of this story, told me via email. “We do not share metrics on account bans, but can confirm that we have permanently closed a number of accounts for this activity and are committed to vigorously pursuing any violation of our Terms of Service and Community Standards.”

“Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for bad actors to move onto new methods. We are engaged in an ongoing pursuit of cheaters and continuously closing loopholes and working to protect our creator community,” Gray added.

When asked about the specific actions creators could take to protect their intellectual copyright, Gray said, “We follow the DMCA take down process as prescribed by the law. Abuse reports submitted by users are normally reviewed within 72 hours, although the process may take longer in some cases, depending on the type of report and information provided. We cannot comment on specific accounts, and therefore users who submit abuse reports are not notified about actions taken as a result of their reports. Unfortunately, that may lead some users to feel as if their reports may be ineffective, even when they actually result in account bans and other enforcement actions.”

But that’s not good enough for many of Second Life’s creators. While the MMO is often passed off as an aging game with a limited playerbase, CEO Ebbe Altberg told Motherboard in an interview in 2016 that 900,000 players still log in monthly. And for those who have turned their passion for it into a full-time job as a virtual designer, it’s easy to see how the continuing theft of their hard work is so damaging. “We just want our work to be protected,” the creator tells me. “In the age that we live in, it’s a basic right on the internet—I would hope.”

Linden Lab Email Verification

Credits to Original Article: Modem World

Linden Lab and Second Life use e-mail in a wide variety of ways, from direct e-mail campaigns informing users of promotions, etc., through the users having a means to obtain IMs sent to them while they are not logged-in (and even reply to them within a certain time constraint).

However, many people sign-up to Second Life, either with new accounts or additional accounts, and offer e-mail addresses which are either made up, or unused. The former is a particular problem for the Lab, as it creates additional traffic passing through ISPs, which can mark the Lab as a purveyor of “spam”.

To try to reduce this problem, the Lab recently introduced e-mail verification. When you sign-up to Second Life, the e-mail account provided will receive a request to verify it (the usual click-on-the-link approach); if you change the e-mail address, you will receive a similar verification request.

In addition, there is also an option within the Change Email Settings of your Second Life dashboard where you can have your e-mail verified without having to change your e-mail address.

This is important because, starting in the very near future, the Lab will be making changes to their e-mail service which will eventually mean that outgoing e-mails will not be sent to any unverified e-mail addresses.

So, if you want to be sure you continue to receive SL-related e-mails – such as IMs to e-mail or Marketplace information sent to your e-mail as a Merchant, etc., – it is important you ensure the e-mail you use with Second Life is verified.

Here’s how:

  • Go to your dashboard at secondlife.com.
  • Click on Account at the top left of your dashboard to open the Account sub-menu.
  • Click on Change Email Address to open the Change Email Settings page (below).
  • Locate the Verify link next to your e-mail address and click on it.
The Verify link will allow you to have your current e-mail address verified

The Verify link will allow you to have the e-mail address associated with your SL account verified

  • A verification e-mail will be sent to your current e-mail address associated with Second Life, containing a link. Click the link to verify your e-mail address.
  • Wait a minute or so, then refresh the Change Email Settings page on your dashboard. It should be updated to show your e-mail address is verified (below).
A verified e-mail address

A verified e-mail address

There will be an official notification from the Lab when the work updating the e-mail service commences. However , this article can be treated as something as an advanced warning, courtesy of Oz Linden speaking at the January 27th TPV Developer meeting.

It’s not clear how long the changes will take to implement / propagate out, but it is important that if you rely on any e-mails sent to you by the Lab in relations to Second Life, you ensure your recorded e-mail address is verified, otherwise you will at some point no longer receive any e-mail notifications from the Lab until such time as you are using a verified address.

Project Sansar: The Big Bad Wolf?

Project Sansar June 2015Change is scary. The more some people hear about Project Sansar, the more panicky they get.

I get it. Some people can handle change better than others. In RL, I work in Human Resources, and change is an integral part of my job, and if I couldn’t deal with change, I would be in the wrong job. I mean seriously, I could tell you stories….

But I digress.

Second Life residents are worried about many things. Will SL still be here? Will Linden Lab still support SL once Project Sansar is open? Will the new platform be for me? What if the new platform requires a high powered computer and I don’t have money for that, let alone an expensive VR headset!! Will SL become a ghost town with only those poor and lame enough to not have powerful computers? What if…what if….

It seems to me that most people see Second Life and Project Sansar as apples and apples, when really they are more like apples and bananas. I mean, think about it. I think there is enough people to allow the fruit section to expand.

It’s like this. There was a produce section at the grocery store, and for many years, the only produce in the section were apples. The apples were very happy being king of the produce section, and they profited greatly, with only a few consumers of the apples going to other, smaller produce stands to purchase their apples. The apples were happily the only produce available in this store. However, the grocery store started to get bored and wanted to know if there might be another kind of fruit that would add some variety to the produce section, so the grocery store announced they were going to introduce bananas. Signs went up at the store… “Coming soon! Bananas! Whee!”

Consumers panicked. They freaked out! They picketed the store. They chanted, They blogged. “Save Our Apples!” they cried. The grocery store reassured consumers that the apples would still be there, but still the consumers worried and fretted. Would the apples still be the same? Would they be able to get the apples they wanted, or would the apple variety be reduced to make room for bananas?? Much hand-wringing and anguish occurred. Some consumers threatened to go to other grocery stores and fruit stands. Some consumers just stopped buying apples.

Others continued to buy apples and enjoy the apples as they had for many years, not worrying about it. Consumers were encouraged to visit other grocery stores, where their produce section had many varieties of fruits and vegetables, all happily living side by side, as consumers pick and choose which fruit and vegetables they wanted, and not one fruit or vegetable suffered from slumping sales when a variety was being offered. Indeed, in other stores where a variety of produce was offered, sales often soared of the apples when bananas were introduced, because it drew a larger number of consumers to the store, and sometimes those people chose apples instead of the bananas they had originally come for.

Clearly there is room for both SL and Project Sansar. They appear to be, at this point, apples and bananas not apples and high tech apples. They are similar, but not the same. Maybe a better example would be that Second Life are Red Delicious and Project Sansar are Fuji apples. There is room enough for both varieties, because not everyone wants the same variety.

As I tell my staff in RL, ask yourself, “Does getting upset about this change anything?” There is nothing we can do. Linden Lab is moving forward with Project Sansar, and we can either embrace the change or we can reject it. We can be part of the problem, or part of the solution. Once we realize that this change is inevitable, let’s embrace Second Life and keep it vital, alive, and growing. The only people responsible for making Second Life a wonderful place to be, are the residents. We, the content creators and consumers, performers, artists and all that makes Second Life rich and vital, are the ones that can continue to make it this way. Will Project Sansar be for you? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Project Sansar is the Mercedes of the virtual world platforms, and Second Life is the Toyota. Not everyone can afford a Mercedes, but that doesn’t mean that we stop driving or don’t buy a car just because we can’t afford a Mercedes.

There is a rich and varied technological world out there, and there is room for both Second Life and Project Sansar. If Second Life fails, it will not be because Linden Lab didn’t support it; it will be because the residents didn’t believe in it enough to keep it vital.

Don’t throttle back creating, don’t stand still and refuse to move forward out of fear that Project Sansar will eclipse Second Life. Don’t run around saying the sky is falling when in reality, it is just another star in the galaxy.

There are some wonderful blog posts about Second Life and Project Sansar. I’ve included links below:

Canary Beck: Are Second Life Residents Anxious About Project Sansar?

Inara Pey: The Sansar Summary

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Ebbe Altberg Discusses Project Sansar

From an article on the blog UploadVR:

Nick Ochoa from Upload got the opportunity to sit down Linden Lab’s CEO Ebbe Altberg to discuss virtual reality. In development for two years now, Project Sansar essentially allows people to create virtual environments on a platform without all the technical know-how.

Sansar is being developed as a separate platform from Second Life, partly because Linden Lab could not get the frame rate up enough in Second Life to create a smooth and comfortable VR experience. Built from the ground up, Sansar enables users to create quality virtual experiences by taking care of horizontal capabilities such as hosting, social and monetary support. Ebbe says that Sansar is “built in the spirit of Second Life but doing quite a few things differently.”

Linden Lab is only a few weeks away from bringing aboard a few hand-picked test users, but they are still about six months from a beta program and about a year away from any sort of formal launch. Linden has plans for Sansar to be available on many devices, including mobile. In the words of Ebbe, Linden Labs is “trying to build a Platform that will last decades” in what he sees as the “final medium for creativity.”

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

PaleoQuest: Second Life’s Dinosaur Adventure!

As most of you know, I’m a huge MadPea fan. But recently I’ve discovered a Linden Lab created game that was just opened called PaleoQuest. It’s a skill game (along the same lines as MadPea but certainly not to their level). I started it tonight and couldn’t make it through the First Quest; I kept getting killed. It’s getting late so I will try again another day. However it’s fun and interesting, and I need to figure out how to avoid the traps. Meanwhile, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. I strongly recommend you use the game settings they suggest — it makes a difference. And of course, the game takes advantage of the Experience Keys — one click to allow the HUD and game to control your avatar and no more clicking.

The Story behind PaleoQuest

Here’s the notecard that is given about PaleoQuest:

PaleoQuest Game Play:

Welcome to PaleoQuest. This is a fully interactive game, where you can take part in adventurous quests, collect various common and rare objects to help Magellan close the time anomalies, avoid perils, dinosaurs, and foil Dr Talpa’s evil plans to take over the grid! Receive prizes and L$ rewards for your bravery!

Game settings:

Please use the regions Windlight settings (Select World > Sun > Use Region Settings).
The game is best viewed at maximum draw distance. (Select Me > Preferences > Graphics > Draw Distance > Set to 512).
Please turn your animation override OFF.
Standard sized avatars are recommended.

Game play:

Welcome to PaleoQuest. This is a fully interactive game, where you can take part in various quests, and earn L$ or prize rewards.


When you first land in PaleoQuest, a HUD will automatically attach to you. The HUD shows you:

– Current game information and clues.
– How many common and rare collectible objects you have collected.
– Which Artifact quests you have completed.
– Hands out a help notecard.
– Has a mute button, in case you wish to mute the audio clues that the HUD plays.

Visitor Center:

The first building you enter is the Visitor Center.
Here you will find:

– Game information.
– A tutorial video to play.
– A background story video.
– Paying out stations.

Paying Out Stations:

– The Paying Out Stations are located in the left and right wings of the Visitor Center, and are clearly sign posted.
– Here you can REDEEM your Collectible objects (FOR L$) and completed Artifact quests (FOR L$ OR A RANDOM PRIZE).
– Prizes are given out randomly from the Prize Payout Station, and are tradeable.
– Please rez your prizes on a sandbox, or on your own land.


– Stairs to the monorail are located at the sides of the entrance to the visitor Center.
– Follow the signs to the monorail start platform.
– Ride the monorail to take a tour of all the regions.
– At each monorail stop, there are quests to play.
– Touch the quest information signs to find out what the quest for that region is.
– If the Monorail is not working, please use the Teleport Pads to go from stop to stop.

Daily Collectible Quests:

– Once you leave the start region, each region has a series of common and rare objects to collect.
– Blue = common; Pink = rare.
– Rare objects are located in the most dangerous places.
– You can carry a maximum of 99 common and rare objects.
– When you are carrying the maximum amount of objects, you need to return to the Visitor Center to hand them in for L$ rewards.
– Stand on the “Collectible Payout Stations” to automatically get a payout for your objects.
– You cannot hand in FEWER than 20 common or rare objects.
– You can hand in a maximum of 200 common blue objects, and 100 rare pink objects, per day.

Weekly Artifact Quests:

– There are 5 regions where you can take part in Artifact Quests, and collect artifacts.
– Depart from each Monorail stop, and click on the quest sign to find out what you have to do for each quest.
– If you find a key object to complete a quest, and it attaches to you, DO NOT DETACH IT UNTIL YOU COMPLETE THE QUEST.
– Once you have completed the first quest, the icon lights up on your HUD.
– Each Artifact Quest needs to be completed in consecutive order. Completing the first quest gains you access to the second quest, and so on…
– Once all 5 artifact quests have been completed, and all icons are lit up on your HUD, you may return to the Visitor Center, and can then choose a L$ reward, or a random prize, by standing on the relevant platform.
– You can complete the Artifact Quests (must be in consecutive order) once a week.


– When you die, you get teleported to the nearest resurrection circle.
– You lose everything you have collected.
– You do not lose any artifact quest progress.


The following scenarios will result in players being moved to a Resurrection circle:
– Flying.
– Moving faster than the standard Second Life run speed.
– Being idle for over 9 minutes.

Tip and tricks:

– PaleoQuest is a game involving skill.
– Take your time, observe your timing, walk, jump, run, look around carefully, and listen.
– Remember to always watch your step.
– Always read the text messages on your HUD.
– There are also audio messages, and signs to touch for more information.
– If your audio message repeats, click on the mute button on your HUD, and then unclick it.
– Sometimes it is better to complete the quests, and then collect the collectibles afterwards.

To get started, please watch the videos, and then make your way to the Monorail start platform. Stairs to the monorail start platform are located behind you, and are clearly signposted. Your adventure awaits!

Here are some photos I took:

Entering the area

Entering the area

The portal to enter the game.

The portal to enter the game.

Entering the Visitor Center

Entering the Visitor Center

The Monorail that takes you to the quests.

The Monorail that takes you to the quests.

Make sure you get on the Monorail at the Start Gate.

Make sure you get on the Monorail at the Start Gate.

The Monorail and surrounding views.

The Monorail and surrounding views.

Dino Falls

Dino Falls

Here’s the SLURL to the Portal Park. Find the PaleoQuest entrance, and off you go!

Click here: Portal Park — PaleoQuest


I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Linden Lab Gives a Peek into Project Sansar

Project Sansar June 2015

Now that the new platform is well underway, Linden Lab is giving us a glimpse into this other platform and what it means to Second Life residents, as well as new users of virtual worlds.

In an article published on the Xconomy.com website, and in an interview Ebbe Altberg gave in world at the SL12B celebration, more is being revealed about the timeline, the economy of Project Sansar, and more.

In an article on xconomy.com, Linden Lab is preparing to test this “parallel universe.” This article emphasizes again that Project Sansar is not a different version of Second Life. While Linden Lab has been making improvements to Second Life, “It would take more than just tinkering to retrofit it for current virtual reality hardware while keeping the site up and running,” stated Ebbe Altberg. Project Sansar is being created to be used with the virtual reality headsets, such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Oculus Rift (those two companies are still duking it out to see who becomes King of the VR).

The article states, “Although Second Life is still a popular online meeting place, as well as an e-commerce marketplace with a GDP greater than $500 million, Altberg says Linden Lab’s leadership team decided last year it needed to build a new world from the ground up if it wanted to succeed in the future.”

Alpha testing for Project Sansar will begin toward the end of July. Handpicked, eager to build something in the new virtual reality medium will be invited to the alpha testing, Altberg says. These guests, (they are not going to be Linden Lab staffers) will use each other’s games and other invented environments, trade feedback, and tweak their own work, he says.

About a year from the alpha release, Linden Lab will begin inviting ordinary users to explore Project Sansar, with a more public beta testing sometime during the first half of 2016, Altberg says. A version 1.0 might be ready by the end of 2016.

Quoting directly from the article:

“While Linden plans to do many things differently in Project Sansar than it does in Second Life, it will also draw on its dozen years of experience operating a pioneering site in several different fields: virtual reality, user-generated content, e-commerce, and virtual currencies. In Second Life, users can buy its currency called Linden with their credit cards at an exchange rate of 250 for one dollar. They can also earn Linden as participants in the Second Life economy, and cash out their virtual currency. Altberg says users redeemed a total of $60 million in 2014.

“Among the products and services for sale are makeovers for one’s avatar. Second Life’s standard-issue, free avatars all look like minor Marvel Comics characters—maybe to appeal to the male fans of digital games who flock to virtual reality sites. But users have also used Second Life for more diverse activities—to host meetings, offer college classes, teach each other languages, open fashion design houses, and set up real estate businesses. (The pirate ship with dirigible shown above is a Second Life creation.)

“Linden [Lab], which is profitable, earns revenues by renting “land” where users can build their virtual homes, museums, shops, or racetracks, at the rate of for $295 per month for a plot of a little over 16 acres. Users who only want to pitch a tent or open a taco stand can rent smaller spaces from virtual real estate businesses that lease large properties and then create subdivisions, Altberg says.”

Linden Lab continues to state emphatically that Second Life will live on after Project Sansar opens its doors as a parallel universe, probably under a new name.

“It’s still very popular and very successful, so we have no plans to discontinue it,” Altberg says. Second Life now hosts about 900,000 active users a month—a bit lower than its peak of about a million years ago. As a private company, Linden Lab doesn’t disclose its revenues. It had raised a total of about $30 million in equity financing by 2006.

The article on xconomy.com goes on to state:

“Linden’s employee count is now more than 213 “and we’re hiring as fast as we can,” Altberg says. Most of the new hires will support Project Sansar.

“Linden plans to make it easy for Second Life denizens to migrate their virtual activities to Project Sansar. But the alternate virtual world will have new features, and will operate by somewhat different rules.

“Altberg says the company is looking to scale up on a number of fronts, including the size of events that can be held in Project Sansar, the number of avatars participating, and the amount of money users can make through their projects.

“For example, Linden wants users to be able to make an unlimited number of “copies” of profitable constructs they’ve created. If an entrepreneur builds a virtual chemistry lab for a college class, that lab could also be sold to other colleges that want to teach chemistry, Altberg says.

“Competition within the virtual community might heat up in Project Sansar, because Linden wants to lower the barriers to entry for creators and entrepreneurs. The company is working on tools to make it easier to build something for advanced virtual reality hardware without being a professional developer. It’s also changing its revenue model.

“Rather than making most of its money renting land, Linden would make land cheaper, but charge taxes on users’ revenues from in-world businesses once they’ve succeeded. This could open up the site to new kinds of businesses, Altberg says.

“Some businesses in Second Life may not have the same success in Sansar,” Altberg says.

The full article can be found by clicking here: Second Life Creator Linden Lab Prepares To Test Parallel VR Universe

Clearly, things will be completely different in Project Sansar, VR will be the norm; the economy will be more resident-driven than land-driven. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Meanwhile, here’s the video from the interview Ebbe Altberg (a.k.a. Ebbe Linden in world) gave at the SL12B celebration:

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Blogger/Social Media