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 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, 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 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

VR In Project Sansar

Living In a ModemWorld by Inara Pey posted a blog post about the future of virtual reality (VR) in Linden Lab’s newest platform, Project Sansar.

Ebbe Altberg gave a 20-minute talk titled “The future of VR is user-created” at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference, which opened on May 18th, 2015.

“Those who may have been hoping to gain more of an insight into the Lab’s Next Generation Platform (aka Project SANSAR) will perhaps be disappointed by this presentation. As the title suggests, it isn’t so much focused on the Lab’s NGP, but rather on user generated content (UGC).” says Inara in her post.

Ebbe touched on SANSAR during the third part of his speech, but he really didn’t give much more away about the platform than has already been revealed by the Lab in statements made about it to date: That it is in development, that it will be running in a closed alpha from summer 2015, etc.

Read the full article by clicking here: Ebbe Altberg: “The Future of VR is User-Created” (a look at SL + SANSAR from the VR perspective)

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

Oculus Announces Rift Launch in 2016

Oculus has announced their plans to debut their highly-anticipated VR (virtual reality) headset in the first quarter of 2016, saying that it hopes to “transform gaming, film, entertainment, communication and much more.”

It is anticipated that VR headsets will revolutionize virtual environments such as Second Life (it is my understanding that the “Second Life II” is being built with virtual reality in mind) and High Fidelity, the VR virtual world project currently in alpha testing by former SL CEO Philip Rosedale.

Oculus is probably the most well-known name in the pool of Virtual Reality headset makers, as their Rift headset has been in development for several years. Until now, most virtual reality technology has come in the form of prototypes and development devices shown at trade shows and high-profile announcements. Rift’s launch has been highly anticipated, with some analysts speculating that if Oculus didn’t hurry up and launch, that other companies such as the Vive, a brainchild of a collaboration between Valve and HTC, would edge them out as a contender.

Meanwhile, Sony announced intentions to launch its own virtual reality headset for its PlayStation 4 video game console, called Project Morpheus. Samsung has also thrown their hat in the ring, with their announcement that they plan to launch Gear VR, a version of the headset made to be compatible with Samsung smartphones.

Oculus itself was the brainchild of a virtual reality enthusiast Palmer Luckey, who co-founded the company in 2012 after a mix of money and encouragement from industry veterans. Oculus held a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter that generated more than $2.4 million in pre-orders for its prototype. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.

According to an article on, “Analysts say they aren’t worried which company launches first. Part of the reason is that the resources and investment necessary to attract game developers to make specialized content, as well as the cost of research into next generation technology, leave a lot of opportunity for deep-pocketed companies to duke it out for a while.”

Here is C|NET’s review of the Oculus Rift headset.

Click here: C|NET’s First Look at the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Prototype

Click here for complete article on Oculus to launch long-awaited Rift virtual reality headset in 2016

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

Is Vive the Oreo to Oculus Rift’s Hydrox?

Move over, Oculus, there is a new virtual reality (VR) headset in town. Valve and HTC have officially announced their partnership to produce the Vive, a VR headset that will launch later this year. It will feature pretty much the same specs as the Oculus Rift, while adding a couple of features, such as room mapping. The biggest difference between the Vive and the Oculus Rift however, is that the former has an official release date this year, while the latter is still muddled in rumor and speculation.

Oculus is facing the prospect of becoming pushed aside, similar to the way that Oreos did with Hydrox. Hydrox was a sandwich style cookie nearly identical to Oreos and was first introduced in 1908, with Oreos arriving in 1912. However, due to fancy marketing and a slightly sweeter taste, Oreo took over and Hydrox was pushed to second place. This is exactly the scenario that Oculus Rift is teetering on at the moment.

According to an article on the Attack of the Fanboy blog, Oculus Rift is about to be left in the dirt by Vive. The question that remains to be seen is the quality of product that Vive plans to release. Is the reason that Oculus is late to the table with a release date because it needs refinement and development before being released to the public? Perhaps Vive is rushing to produce a product that isn’t fully tested or developed?

The article states:

“With Valve entering the fray, Oculus is on the verge of becoming the Hydrox to Valve’s Oreo. Players who have been primed to buy thanks to Oculus Rift will flock to the Vive if it offers even a fraction of the experience that the Oculus Rift has promised. If it ends up being on the market for months ahead of the Oculus Rift, and offers a better experience in any way, then it will have cemented itself as the premiere VR headset.

The big question for Valve at the moment is how easy will it be to move from Oculus Rift development to the Vive. Can you simply take the work you’ve done and pop it onto the HTC developed headset? If so, it is easy to see how developers will push their game for both devices, at least until one becomes the market leader. If additional work is required then they’ll likely develop for whichever hits the market first, which for now looks to be the Vive. This isn’t to say that there is no room for a second, or even third competitor in the VR game. But Oculus Rift has had the market to themselves for years now, and they have unfortunately not taken advantage of it.”

“None of this is to say that the Oculus Rift will be a bad product, on the contrary it might be the best VR headset out there once it releases. But it’s that last part that is the major sticking point, and it always has been for Oculus. With no official release date for the consumer edition of the Oculus Rift, and multiple competing VR headsets heading to the market soon, the Oculus is in grave danger of missing its window of opportunity. If the Vive hits the market first it is pretty easy to see how consumers a few years from now might look on it as the great innovator of VR. Fans can argue all they want, but once that feeling sets in, there is very little that can change it. If that happens then the Oculus Rift could, like Hydrox cookies before them, fade quickly into irrelevancy.”

Read the full article by clicking here: The Oculus Rift is in danger of becoming irrelevant

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

High Fidelity Raises $11 Million

One of the biggest things to hit virtual worlds is the idea of being able to experience it in the immersive Virtual Reality, or VR. High Fidelity is open source software for shared Virtual Reality, and they are the first to move forward with this technology in the virtual world environment. Second Life 3, or whatever it is going to be called, is going to be geared toward that kind of technology also, using the still rather clunky VR headsets such as Oculus Rift. While we are still in the early stages of the development of this technology, it is exciting to watch it grow and develop.

It was announced yesterday in an article posted on the website, that High Fidelity, the San Francisco-based startup from Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, has raised another $11 million in funding in a round led by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital. The funding was noted in a SEC filing recently, and was confirmed to the TechCrunch website by Rosedale himself. Hi Fidelity is clearly a forerunner and a big player in this exciting, developing technology.

I’m quoting directly from the article below. But you can find the original posting by clicking on this link: Hi Fidelity Raises $11M

“Founded in 2013, High Fidelity is building deployable virtual worlds, combining the ease of rolling out a VM instance on a modern cloud platform with the interactivity of Minecraft and the immersion of virtual reality. Over the course of several hours at High Fidelity HQ yesterday, Rosedale demonstrated the state of the startup’s tech and the vision he has for turning it into a viable business.

“The main idea driving High Fidelity forward is the ability to quickly generate a virtual space to meet in and interact with. While the interface is far from final, it’s already at the point where you can pick a template, choose a name, and instantly have a space accessible by others. Each space is essentially a small video game world, filled in with the same 3D models you’d build for a game built with Unity.

“The startup has built enough logic that you can jump in with friends, have a quick virtual chat, and interact with the virtual space. If you want more stuff to do, you can grab or sculpt your own models and create logic in JavaScript to tell the world how interaction should work. Rosedale showed off this capability by dropping a billiards table he’s been working on in his free time into a world. Using two Razer Hydra controllers, you could pick up balls, roll them around, or throw them at one another and see them react with realistic physics. Similarly, the studio has invested a ton of time into naturalistic facial/gesture capture and 3D audio, making it the closest thing to the ideal virtual reality chatroom.

“If you can code it, you can build basically anything into High Fidelity’s worlds. Between alpha users and the team’s developers messing around in their own time, people have built procedurally generated cities and AI-powered animals that wander around realistically — and that’s just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

“As with Second Life, High Fidelity doesn’t plan to sell you a one-time license in exchange for unlimited play. In fact, the base of the experience is open source, letting anyone host worlds on their own machines with less of a hassle than even the kid-friendly Minecraft.

“Rosedale plans to monetize High Fidelity at the points where the community provides value to itself. While you can generate a temporary name to send to friends so they can quickly jump into a world with you, you’ll also be able to pay a fee to keep a distinct name for longer-term use — kind of like reserving a good URL for your site or username on Twitter.

“Since users can make all kinds of content for their worlds, High Fidelity also wants to host the go-to repository for models and code in a digital store resembling Unity’s Asset Store. Given the product’s open source approach, generous users can give out their offerings for free if they’d like, but if they want to charge money, High Fidelity will take a small cut.

“As I’ve noted before, advertising is probably going to be common in virtual reality. Some might hear that and groan, but in “contemporary” virtual settings, ads done right can actually contribute to immersion. Rosedale says the startup is looking to make ads not only feel natural in High Fidelity, but helpful: while there might be ads for “real” products on in-game televisions or billboards down the road, in the near-term you’re more likely to see ads for cool objects you can pick up from the asset store.

“Virtual reality allows for an infinite range of experiences, and the studios and hobbyists working on content for headsets from market leaders Oculus and Samsung have barely touched on what’s possible. For now, the majority of development in the space happens in traditional game engines like Unity and Unreal. High Fidelity’s deployable worlds put it somewhere between those professional tools and the most customizable video games, opening up innovation in the space to those who are willing to get technical but don’t want to build something from the ground up.:

We are on the cusp of some exciting developments!

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