I have just read an article from 2018 about how Roblox company is training next generation of gaming entrepreneurs.
I realized that Second Life as a creative platform has been missing out on a big opportunity to get back at its core mission (the reason for massive initial success of Second Life). I am currently one of the most successful games developer in within Second Life with running social games in which players earn L$ for playing.
In my opinion the reason why Second Life grew in its initial years and was very successful as creative platform that captured attention, the imagination, creative energy and synergies of the people around the world early on was because it gave a promise to all of us that we can come and build our world.
This has happened and is still is happening but it is happening less & less. I think going back to the roots of its core success of Second Life is the obvious path for Linden Lab.
The strategy of rapid innovation and fast growth is the only way in very competitive tech world. Strategy needs to be growth oriented by design. It can be achieved with innovation, learning, teaching and making new opportunities for the users and things to do and try. At the same time there needs to be a constant communication between the company and the users so that the users feel they are taking part in the growth and that they will benefit from it as well. Because the users do participate in growth as they are the key ingredient of the growing successfull platform. For the growth oriented strategy of a company every single user and their feelings and well-being matters. Observing the users and developing your platform with their direct feedback is the only way to develop in line with what the users want, need and what will make them appreciate your investment, work and efforts. It is very important to listen to users not just what they're saying but also observe their behavior. How does your product make them feel, what they like about it what is valuable to them.
If other companies are much more successful implementing rapid growth strategy I am afraid that Second Life will loose its competitive advantage. Collaborative VR and virtual worlds is a very fast growing & extremely competitive field and companies that stop innovating or let others innovate within their domain loose out. I invested 9 creative years of my life to develop content in SL I am a friend of Linden Lab and I want to help, do anything possible to steer the big LL ship in direction that can capture the imagination of the masses so that millions of people come to this platform and continue building this world (for that it needs to be more open). If SL starts loosing core content creators who shift onto other platforms its value will shrink. Theory of reflexivity by George Soros explains well if on any market you loose people's expectation of growth the growth will not happen. Energy investments breed further investments. George Soros is a Billionaire.
I also expressed in a very long message to Linden Lab product development team managers (as I had a rare opportunity to communicate directly with them) that the company Linden Lab's natural way is to develop and provide tools for content creators and we games creators through games make SL a more fun environment. I expressed my view that L$ is the core and main advantage LL has and most and majority of people who register their 1st account are lured in by opportunities to make L$ (earn money in virtual world - it has always been like that).
SL is an open creative platform where we can learn, experiment and develop value that other users access with L$ (according to definition of L$ in SL TOS). If we can not create games that feature emergent player 2 player economy as it is key component of all successful role playing games that grow in player base more than 100 000 players then the value creation by ordinary unskilled players will never happen (like it happens in EVE Online, WOW, Roblox -> children become creators and millionaires). Why Facebook is one of the most successful company? Because of the law of the numbers. When you enable the growth of a massive community on your platform the value comes from the sheer numbers of people. The natural flow of the people is towards the masses... when there is a big mass of people doing something that makes more people want to join. A mmorpg style game where people can make L$ from trading game items with each other is how SL can achieve massive growth. Company Roblox is doing it. They are concentrating on teaching the users how to create content and keep updating the tools for the users to be able to develop even better content.
As a game developer pursuing a personal goal to try to create a KILLER APP - game for Second Life I recently asked Linden Lab for help, assistance and some assurance as I am developing a new role play style game that I envisioned could become massively multiplayer game that SL could become recognized for (http://www.silvereconomy.net/).
In that game players through role playing virtual jobs oriented towards value creation become value creators. As at the same time as they are playing they also provide value to support all activities (health, education, virtual business, art, design, building and even mentorship program for new SL users) in SL. With being aware that SL TOS in its vagueness and lots of undefined space around the use of L$ and creating inworld mmorpg style / role playing game currency (closed loop) that can only be exchanged for L$. I am opening up a new territory and potentially a new use case for role play currencies in SL that I feel are needed to push Second Life forward to open up possibility for emergent and fast growing in-game economies around the mmorpg style games. Why? Because you can not create a mmorpg style of game in SL where people slay monsters for L$ (it has to be gold or silver as a role play material) that can be exchanged for L$ while the buyers of those materials will be the land owners who want to host the game on their sims. I opened a dialog with Linden Lab company, its various departments and am trying to learning what is the LL's case to not allow in-game economies that are crucial for any game designer who wants to create a mmorpg that can grow to have more than 100 000 daily active players. That type of games have value for players as they trade the game materials for L$ that they role play for and earn as reward for achieving goals (slay monsters or in my game case work role playing jobs).
Before transitioning the new game from a successful proof of concept (ALPHA version to BETA) and even more investment into game development I felt the need to get in contact with Linden Lab for help and guidance around SL TOS and LL's vision regarding the L$ and in-game role play currencies for purpose of helping to facilitate the role play game growth and creation of an emergent player to player role play economy for game items they win through the game). I got more worried as more money and time I invested and hundreds players started playing (in ALPHA test phase) that LL will simply tell me you can not develop such game as they might decide they do not allow role play currencies. It is very hard for me as a game developer in Second Life because SL TOS to me from a perspective of game developer does not give me enough information and assurance that my investment (I've invested few thousands of USD and lots of time and energy) is not for nothing.
I hope Linden Lab can work with me as we have mutual goals to drive Second Life forward with new and innovative content that will incentivize people around the world to create an account with Second Life, play the games and invite their friends to play them as well. This way we can create a network effect that I feel SL needs to achieve its breakthrough that will lead towards massive growth and that can only be achieved through massively played games. But there can be no massively played multiplayer game if it is not allowed to have its own in-game economy (based on fluctuation of in-game materials that players work for, earn and trade in for L$ with each other).
We noticed in successful proof of concept of alpha version of SES rp game (with 1800 total players and 500 daily active) that all the players who role played jobs used their earned L$ to buy better clothes and appearance. Games have this effect of boosting the economic transactions. A massively played game if let to be developed can massively boost the whole of Second Life Economy and benefit all of the content creators. And the growth in number of new registrants who buy L$ on Lindex exchange to spend for all of the different content in SL already helps all of the content creators to have more sales and better earnings for their creative work. A successful massively multiplayer game with its own growing economy can boost the growth of SL and support all of its other use cases. My game that I started designing was designed to support all of the value creation and value creators in Second Life - like for example we started building a successful Art Center and started getting traction with various artists who were exhibiting their art in our role playing Art Center and in effect we had a successful marriage of role playing game with art and players while playing were at the same time inspired by art. That would otherwise naturally not happen for most of the thrill seeking people (they are not the type to enjoy art) but within an innovative game they did.
My business partner who I met in SL (an incredible designer and marketing specialist) left SL many years ago as she did not want to invest her energy into platform that she felt she won't be able to make millions of USD as she did a very simple calculation from total daily active users. I stayed and kept learning and kept innovating and believed if I can learn to create just the right game product Second Life can get a Second Life and the numbers of users will massively grow and this platform will attract those that have unique skills and talents to push it forward even more.
Running my successful games and large community and organization around them I was gaining unique knowledge of what people look for in Second Life, why they stay and what is that they want more of and what makes them leave. I always did and still keep studying all the different fields psychology, economy, sociology, business management, philosophy and learned from everything with a purpose to become a better game designer. I am an innovator that sees a potential to influence society through a cleverly designed game that can help people motivate them to develop their skills, talents and self actualize through reaching different stage in within a game and a supportive online game community. I offer everything that I learned my human capital I grew, skills and potential to try to achieve massive growth within Second Life if I am allowed to innovate.
I still stay in SL as my income supports RL and I am a friend of Linden Lab. I did not create personal connections with LL employees but its obvious that me as successful content developer on their platform and LL as owner of the platform are in relationship of mutualism. Our goals are aligned in the same direction and we benefit from each others success.
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=mutualism (there is also economic theory of mutualism & what Jeff Bezos built Amazon on & is still Amazons core philosophy to offer products at min possible price).
I am very thankful that Linden Lab is open to me as content creator and communicates with me so that we can find ways that keep the possibility for someone who wants to be able to try to create KILLER APP for Second Life (a game that becomes a reason why people come to SL because it achieves network effect of growing number of players and through history only mmorpg style of games who enabled emergent growth of player to player ingame economies - like EVE Online that thrives on thousands of players mining the asteroids for ISK). In SL not everyone can become a top designer. Not everyone can become a programmer. Not everyone has enough money in their wallet to buy L$. Less and less people can afford things. Millionaires don't play Second Life. But if there was a game that would attract their interest they would play if they could gain. And just about everyone loves to play games where they can achieve something and build up their character, their persona to become a valued player with various new skills they acquired through playing a game. Everyone person on this planet has human potential to learn. Everyone likes to play game its is also through a game that we learned to walk and learn everything. As we have all been kids and the world around us was a fun game where we develop our skills and talents. The best target audience or target market for a virtual world is "All of the human population".
As I read the article about Roblox company and their growth it reminded me of an amazing opportunity that Second Life still has if SL users can be insipired again, are allowed to have growth expectations and all of the energy from expectations will be focus to make what is expected to happen and growth will happen. More open systems advance and grow. More closed systems stagnate and don't grow. It is basic law of nature. Growth can only be achieved if people are allowed to expect growth. Expectations of growth breeds growth.