Phillip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life and metaverse pioneer, is returning to the company with plans to evolve the game for the metaverse. Second Life was arguably the first metaverse, launching in 2003, and Rosedale is betting on Second Life becoming one of the most popular ones.
Co-founding High Fidelity in 2013, Rosedale made the shift to focus on VR technology. In recent years High Fidelity has shifted focus from virtual reality to other technologies such as spatial audio. The shift is due to Rosedale’s belief that VR technology is not yet good enough for many consumers.
According to CNET, Rosedale feels VR headsets are blindfolds to reality and few are comfortable using them. While he believes virtual reality headsets may become as popular as the iPhone but likely not for a few more years. Therefore, Rosedale chose to turn his attention back to Second Life, where he plans to make VR headsets optional until hardware improves.
Other companies are setting aside VR headsets to reach a wider audience. Considering, Brelyon’s recent display of its headset-free virtual monitor, headsets may eventually be a thing of the past. Although, some are still eager to create virtual reality headsets, like Apple who currently has an AR/VR headset in the works.
Second Life: Still Lucrative
Despite being around for nearly twenty years, Second Life is still a financially lucrative platform with one of the largest metaverse communities. Since its release, the platform has hosted over 73 million accounts and now averages 900,000 active users.
Rosedale has interests in allowing users to use their webcams to animate their avatars via facial tracking. “Using the webcam to animate an avatar, that’s a really interesting in-between,” Rosedale told CNET. “Not enough people are looking at that space, that’s one that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.” Second Life’s upcoming evolutions may even include a way to access the platform on mobile devices.
Rosedale considers Second Life’s sellable content to be like NFTs. However, NFTs and interoperable content are not on the platform’s horizon. According to Rosedale, both the platform’s currency and economy are stable. “There are 375 million things a year sold in Second Life at about two bucks apiece.” Rosedale told CNET, “So it’s about $650 million a year in transactions. Those are all NFTs — basically, the core idea of allowing digital assets to be marked and allowing them to be tradable and shareable.”