Remember Second Life? A virtual world launched on the desktop web back in 2003, with 3D avatars and spaces for various social activities. Believe it or not, it has been running continuously all this time, and now for the first time it is coming to mobile devices.
In fact, this will be the first time Second Life has gone beyond the PC (in Windows, macOS and Linux) in any form.
In a post to the virtual world community web forumcommunity manager Second Life shared developer Linden Lab video with some details on the development of the mobile version and announced that the beta version of the mobile app will be launched sometime this year.
The video shows that the app was built using Unity, in part to make it easier to release and maintain the app across multiple platforms, including iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets. It also includes several minutes of video footage. Second Lifedetailed character models and environments, accompanied by comments from developers at Linden Lab on how to bring as much experience as possible to mobile devices.
Recent article at Game Developer regarding the announcement, they claim that the launch of the mobile version can breathe, well, a second life into Second Life. However, there is reason to doubt that this will significantly expand the audience of the virtual world; there are much more modern attempts at a concept that has more recently come to be called the “metaverse”. However, even those are struggling, and it is not clear what exactly Second Life— which, among other problems, seems to be saddled with a lot of technical debt — will offer something that the new upstarts do not have.
Linden Lab has been working on a virtual reality successor second Life, called samsar, for many years, but she eventually stopped working on the project and sold it. samsar Changed owners several times and its future remains uncertain.
While the app probably won’t change fundamentally Second Lifeplace in the market, it should be a welcome development for the amazingly vibrant community of virtual world enthusiasts.
As I wrote a few years ago, Second Life still on par with users and profits. The ambitions have been scaled down – it no longer aspires to be “the second Internet” – and the character of the community has changed significantly, but it’s by no means the ghost town that outsiders might expect. However, this is a niche and a mobile app may not be enough to change that.
List image Linden Lab