Identity is that which defines us, something that has evolved and changed through the years with us, maturing and perfecting itself whilst keeping the true essence of ourselves alive, this is in second life our overall image, chosen look and name, much like Tony Stark when facing adversity decided to make the most of what he was given and become Iron Man.
After 11 years around, SL has managed to stay somewhat profitable, through good times and bad times where media attention has fluctuated, not without the occasional shock and surprise from non users who seem to be amazed our virtual world is still alive and kicking; rumors have been going around for quite a while now that second life would be going through some changes or eventually close as it was no longer profitable, but as years went by without any actual action or statement on that matter from linden labs we all moved on and ignored them, turns out all that talk was essentially true.
Linden Labs has announced the development and future release of Second Life 2, a project driven by the main goal of not only revitalizing the brand but also taking advantage of the current advances in programming and technology, starting our beloved virtual universe from scratch and making it so good that in their own words “existing users will want to migrate to be a part of it”, a number of questions have been raised by many thousands of users, the big one being our inventories, our names and the major issue of the no backwards compatibility.
As much as we would like to deny this as active users of second life, it is essentially a game and it all has been done before by other companies releasing an upgraded product or an expansion, which out-dates the previous version and not only helps the company developing the product stay innovative and fresh but keep existing users excited whilst attracting new business -Sony with the PlayStation, The Xbox and even non gaming software like windows don’t have backwards compatibility, windows does in fact have forwards compatibility, namely upgrading older software versions so they can run on the new operating system but the essence still remains true-, the conundrum here being the emotional ties and time invested -and let’s not even cover the money invested as well on either creating an original product to sell or bought- which simply means all of that will be lost once you migrate to the new version.
Linden Labs did cover themselves for this minor issue of the backwards compatibility by making any original content or creation in Second Life a “mod” on their latest change to the terms of service, which simply means that you will not be able to complain about your creations getting stuck in the old version of second life, but also that you agreed for them to literally become part of the game and property of Linden Labs the minute you uploaded them, which means you as a content creator will have to re-upload everything to the new version once it is up and running.
Is it too soon to panic? I would venture a yes, an announcement has been made which means that the speculation and rumors can finally be over and we can finally be informed of what will happen and after the first few words and expected reaction from users worldwide, Linden Labs decided to add to the fact that the migration, when it does happen will allow you to keep your profile and name -essentially your identity-, personally speaking I am not overly concerned, the only thing I expect to happen smoothly is for my two sons agreeing to migrate when the time comes so my family can stay together, losing the rest? it comes with the territory, I am Spike Clemenceau-Silent and no one will be able to take that away from me, much like Tony Stark uttered more than once “I am Iron Man, no one can take that away from me”
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