next-gen virtual world by LL

VWBPE logoYesterday, at VWBPE’s Second Life auditorium, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (Ebbe Linden in-world) gave the opening keynote. The auditorium was packed – at various points, there were up to 170 people in-world with their avatars. Mal Burns recorded the speech and uploaded it to his YouTube channel so that it can be watched even by those who were unable to attend. As had happened last year, Gentle Heron was hard at work transcribing Mr. Altberg’s speech, and there was an interesting Q&A afterwards, with people from the audience having a chance to ask questions directly; I must give Mr. Altberg kudos for handling this task with great aplomb, and for his relaxed, approachable attitude towards the users who came to the venue to listen to him and ask about things they were interested in, w.r.t. Second Life and the next-generation virtual world platform that Linden Lab is developing.

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Blizzard Entertainment logoIn a recent blog post, Ciaran Laval wrote about Blizzard’s cancellation of its extremely ambitious project Titan, and opined that it could affect the fate of the new virtual world platform that Linden Lab is working on. What makes the cancellation of this project important is that it’s been in the works for about seven years now, and what makes it seem relevant to Linden Lab’s actions and product portfolio management is that Blizzard and Linden Lab both have MMOs as their main source of income, and that Titan was touted as the “next big thing”.

In comments to Polygon, Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mark Mohaime and Chris Metzen, Blizzard’s senior vice president of story and franchise development, offer partially useful insights into their decision to axe this big-budget project. Note that I say “partially”, because at least some of the real reasons will remain for a considerable amount of time with the people involved. Truth be told, it’s rare for any company to cancel without very serious reasons a large project it’s been working on for years.

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Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab's CEO.

Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab’s CEO.

As I’ve already reported, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (in-world name: Ebbe Linden) dropped by at the TPV developer meeting this Friday (June 20, 2014) and mentioned that the Lab is working on a new, next-generation virtual world.

Please note that TPV meetings are held in a combination of voice and real-time text chat. Besides the next-generation virtual world news, important developments for Second Life itself were discussed, and this prolonged the meeting greatly – two full hours.

Important updates were provided by Oz Linden, Jessica Lyon (of the Firestorm Team), Dolphin Linden and others. To listen to Ebbe Linden, skip to 0:51:19 (51’19”) in the video. For the latest reactions to the next-gen viewer news, skip to 1:39:00 (1hr 39′). You can watch the video after the break:

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ebbe-altbergAs I wrote yesterday, Latif Khalifa reported on the SL Universe forums that Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg confirmed in an “oh, by the way” manner during the TPV developer meeting of Friday 20th that the Lab is working on a new, next-generation virtual world. The story was reported by Ciaran Laval, and Inara Pey blogged on it in far greater detail (complete with an excerpt of her audio recording of the meeting) – and I hope her reports might help (to whatever extent) do away with the FUD that started circulating shortly after Latif made his post on the SLU forums. In the meantime, the story was picked up by various blogs and commentary platforms of varying reliability and credibility.

What will follow will be the details I gathered from the initial posts, from Inara’s post, and from Ebbe Altberg’s replies on  the forum and on Twitter, and also I’m going to give my own thoughts on the matter.

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