Expectations are personal. When we get our hopes up, the film turns out lousy. The question of whether Second Life met or failed one’s expectations is conditional upon prior knowledge and experience. Personally speaking, I feel a lot like Neo about to take the red pill in The Matrix. With very little idea to begin with, and a smidgen of prior experience with 3D interfaces, my expectations weren’t demanding. After spending a few hours in my Second Life, I find:
- The level of immersion is immense!
- The simple flow of basic movement and interaction is smooth.
- The graphics are generally stunning for such a diverse range of worlds.
- The avatar modification process is cumbersome. Computer-literate reporter Kristina Dell of Time magazine, agreed it is not intuitive, spending her first hour wearing both sneakers and high heels (simultaneously).
Money is the sore point for me. Bar monthly access fees, so far the internet has been free for most of us. A serious limitation in Second Life is that it seems I cannot experiment with building a house without buying virtual land with real money (converted into virtual $).
There are several purposes that interest me and I can see huge potential for. As a social networking tool, it truly excels over facebook and the likes. People are not only meeting over the internet, some are virtually married in Second Life. See for yourself the birth of a son! Truly this is collaborative construction gone crazy.
In this 3D version of the web, you can also experience simulations and interaction like no other. Architects could utilise the platform to provide great experiences to clients in virtual models before the foundations are laid in the real world.
From the arts, sciences, health, languages, to history, music, and so on, the benefits for educational uses are truly mind-blowing. Additionally, entertainment industry applications are endless – for example virtually visiting a U2 concert is a dream that you can experience.
Nonetheless, these are not the top crust applications. Matt Cowan, a Rueters reporter, describes the second wave, in enterprise and education, as the new driving force behind Second Life.
Dell also reports on some of the real world problems for Second Life.
Every business has its growing pains. But as companies explore why their expensive virtual outposts remain largely empty, Second Life has other, potentially more serious, issues. Governments are scrutinizing the four-year-old site as a possible haven for tax-free commerce, child-porn distribution and other unsavory activity.
Further on, Dell tells of disgruntled users uniting against commercialisation of Second Life, and attacking shoppers. One participant grumbled on the site’s blog, “the only things left to do on Second Life will be getting griefed in sandboxes and going to church.”
- 2007. Virtual Social Worlds and the Future of Learning
- Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2jY4UkPbAc [Accessed May 8, 2009].
- 2009. The birth of my Son Jacob Cleo Khandr
- Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y5u2Vk8m5E [Accessed May 9, 2009].
- Cowan, M., 2008. The ‘second wave’ of Second Life. [[News]]
- Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=92549&videoChannel=6 [Accessed May 8, 2009].
- Dell, K., 2007. Second Life’s Real-World Problems. Time
- Available at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1651500,00.html [Accessed May 9, 2009].
- Second Life – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life#Fee_schedule [Accessed May 8, 2009].