Breaking News! Second Life 2 in 2016??

Ebbe Alberg RLWe interrupt your regularly scheduled perusal of our website to bring you the some breaking news.

The interwebs are abuzz with the latest news leaked from the headquarters of Linden Labs. After cagily sidestepping any questions about the future of SL, and stating staunchly that he is 100% behind growing SL, the grid has exploded with rumors of a “Second Life 2” that is set to be launched in 2016.

Rumors? or Fact? Or a giant marketing scheme?!? You make the call.

According to Jo Yardley’s blog, she says, “In an interview with ‘The Next Web,‘ Ebbe Altberg (CEO of Linden Lab) says that a beta of ‘Second Life 2′ (no official new name yet) is expected to be launched in 2015 while the final version should be ready in 2016.”

Cue the record needle scratching across the vinyl.

You can see the entire interview here.

“A new version of Second Life is being built from the ground up, with a little help from the Oculus Rift” screams the headline, in giant red letters.

With help from Oculus Rift, Linden Labs plans to create a whole new world in an attempt to go mainstream. Linden Labs CEO Ebbe Altberg says that Second Life has plateaued.

“It’s a massive project to do a new virtual world. To start from the ground up we’re hiring 40-50 more people,” Altberg told TNW.

“With technology, market interest, hardware and software available, now is the time to give it another big shot. We have the experience to do it more than anyone else,” says Altberg. The new Second Life will offer more robust tools for creators. Games, designs, goods, all the things that make the current incarnation of Second Life the go-to place for current users will be part of the new world. When asked why not just update the current world Altberg said, “We’re not going to constrain ourselves with backwards compatibility.”

The new version of Second Life is still a ways off though. A beta is expected to be launched in 2015 with the final version expected in 2016. In the meantime, Linden Lab has already told its users that a new version is coming, according to the TNW website.

There are two virtual reality frontrunners — Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus, meaning that virtual reality is finally hitting the mainstream. The reasoning behind the change is that SL must change with the mainstream, and the original grid is not built for it.

While I can certainly understand the need to create an entirely new grid based on the latest technology, I have to wonder what this means for the countless residents and content creators who have tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of RL dollars tied up in inventory and real estate. What happens to landowners whose investment in their real estate is suddenly valueless? The thought of having to start over in a new virtual world and not being able to sell their old real estate because it is no longer of any value in the abandoned world, may not be palatable or even do-able for many.

While this cutting edge technology is exciting, and possibly necessary, there has to be a way that Linden Labs will make this right by business owners, content creators and landowners in the current SL platform.

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