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The Corporate Invasion of Second Life 62

Tyburn Franklie writes "Second Life is entering its 'second phase'. With big-name brands colonizing its virtual earth and the media getting worked up into a frenzy of hype, the alternative world is looking more and more like the old one. There are even worries about virtual office etiquette (sorry guys: no guns in the office). And now Linden Labs has words of warning for would-be corporate warriors seeking a Second Life: 'If you are not authentic and do not offer anything to the community, you are likely to be ignored, at best.' Sage advice — whatever world you're in." A lot of overhype here, I think.
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The Corporate Invasion of Second Life

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  • When I'm competing with Quaker Oats to farm Tempest Keep in Outlands, that's when I'll worry about corporations invading my games.
  • We welcome our new corporate overlords...

    Now sod off you money grubbing entities! :-p
  • Is Sony going to demand virtual DRM to protect their virtual content, and install a rootkit on the Second Life servers? Seriously this is all very interesting, but I have to wonder how long it's going to last... will the graphics become outdated, will something new come along to replace it, or will people just lose interest?
    • will the graphics become outdated... YES
      will something new come along to replace it... YES
      will people just lose interest... YES

      As goes every online/computer based game
  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:36PM (#16840128) Homepage
    I just spent all my L$ on a new house, and a giant pitcher blew through my wall in a cloud of dust, yelling "OH YEAH!!!" It didn't find any kids so it just left.
    • Sadly, I don't have any mod points today, but that's the damn funniest thing I've read on Slashdot in a really long time.
    • You've so got to stop drinking the Kool-Aid!

      What next, you all gather around in a circle to delete your accounts so that you can leave Second Life and start your "real" life?
    • This post deserves Hall of Fame status. Nice.
  • Very interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CXI ( 46706 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:37PM (#16840136) Homepage
    This article has some interesting timing given the recent problem on Second Life in which someone has created a utility which supposedly can copy any object, even those that deny copy permissions. This has sparked a huge outcry from the users of SL who are unhappy that all of their hard work could end up wasted if their creations are copied. I wonder how many of those individuals have MP3's or movies they've downloaded without paying for?

    Copyrights and Content Creation in Second Life []

    The blog mentions "Copying does not always mean theft", invokes the DCMA, talks about fair use and basically points out that it's the same analog hole that always gets digital media in the end. It will be interesting to see how this virtual world deals with the issue, but already Second Life's spokesperson has indicated that copyright is up to the copyright holder to enforce and they can't really do all that much about the copying.
    • Technology that's currently being developed threatens to do this IN REAL LIFE. If you think IP conflicts are getting crazy now, just wait. :-)
    • It is sad that in a world where anything can be copied without harming the original artificial scarcity is still enforced.

      If/when we develop replicators in the real world, I sure hope people are free to use them. Humanity never would have gotten very far if the first person to domesticate fire patented it. Or the wheel was copyrighted forever.

      Why are people so fixated on this? I think it'd be better for everyone if nothing was scarce anymore. We could dedicate ourselves to creative or pleasant pastime
      • by FLEB ( 312391 )
        If everything became plentiful, you're right, that would be no problem.

        The problem as it stands now is that while physical objects have a physically-imposed work:value ratio, services and creative ventures have a natural work:value ratio that is extremely low once the initial work is done. If anyone could farm their own food or build their own house as easily and as quickly as they could copy a DVD, then copyright issues (as well as most other work issues) would likely become moot. In a world of unequal out
      • by CXI ( 46706 )
        If/when we develop replicators in the real world, I sure hope people are free to use them. Humanity never would have gotten very far if the first person to domesticate fire patented it. Or the wheel was copyrighted forever.

        So, tell me this, why exactly would you bother to work if you could have anything you want replicated? Who would bother spending their entire life working in order to make things for the rest of you, who are not working, to copy? The answer is no one. While people still would be creative
        • I disagree strongly. We've already passed the point in the US where you have to work to survive. Sure, there are .01% of the population that panhandles or lives off foodstamps permanently, but you don't see most people doing the bare minimum to survive. There will always be plenty of people who enjoy what they do, or enjoy the prestige they get from doing something well.

          So much of our culture already doesn't do anything productive. I think advertising, politics, spectator sports, most popular TV, movie
  • a necessity? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thelost ( 808451 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:39PM (#16840158) Journal
    does anyone else think that this is a necessity of the maturation of a 'cyber' community. Honestly I think that companies will find 2nd life a bit of a red herring and the hype will soon vanish, but only because I don't think virtual communities are advanced enough. give 'em a couple more years and it might be a different matter.

    Am i the only one who finds 2nd life totally unplayable because of it's atrocious graphics and nightmarish controls?
    • Yep, I'm with you there.
      I thought I'd give it a go, because it's an interesting idea and all, but it just didn't do anything for me. I'm guessing that it would if I dedicated the time and really made it my second life, but I have a good enough first life.
      At some point in the not-too-distant future, I'm guessing some sort of VR interface will be developed for Second Life, and the graphics will mature, if not in this, then in Third Life®.
      The trick is being in the system before the hordes. One of the
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by KinkoBlast ( 922676 )
        "All the land is taken"? Someone is an idiot - there is plenty of electricity to run more servers. If you pay LL enough, you could run your own continent - hell, if you payed them enough, they would probably run you a whole grid.
      • by FLEB ( 312391 )
        I played it for a few months-- mostly I wanted to try my hand at some interesting 3D construction made simple. The social aspect was mostly gravy.

        Land is scarce-- or, rather, expensive-- enough to be a problem. The basic plan is 512x512 metres, which sounds good, until you realize what a metre is, and where you can choose to buy. A beginning player might end up getting a good deal on a "first-timer" plot, which consists of a trailer-park lot wedged in between four other idiots with expansive towers of their
  • Something cool is found by the edge-of-hip peoples.
    Company monitors edge-of-hip peoples to find out what is cool.
    Company markets the new cool.
    Edge-of-hip peoples move elsewhere.
    Company killed cool.

    The documentary Merchants of Cool [] outlines this quiet well (viewable online).
    • You don't even need companies or marketing to kill cool. If the edge of hip people can't keep their damn traps shut, the Californians will find out about it and ruin it sooner or later. Happened to Santa Fe, NM and Sedona, AZ just through word of mouth. You know all that rain in Seattle? A flat out lie, it's sunnier than Mexico up there. They just say that to keep the Californians out. Word of advice: if you live someplace cool, keep your mouth shut, or better yet lie. Say there's vicious Ebola ridden Grizz
      • by KlomDark ( 6370 )
        "Claim that you live in a racist, sexist, redneck hellhole."

        That's how Nebraska keeps it's population below 2 million. Keeps the Californians out. But it is also somewhat true. If you're not a church-going republican, you can end up pretty frustrated. Lot's of mentally-blind people here.
        • Not that having vision would make Nebraska any more enjoyable. In the words of my two good friends...

          Lloyd: I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.
          Harry: I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver is full of shit, man.
      • by kfg ( 145172 )
        P.S. If you live in California (especially San Francisco, but excluding L.A. which is just generally fucked), the same thing applies to East Coasters. The bastards.

        Thousands of folks back east they say
        Are leaving home most every day
        And beating the hot old dusty way
        To the California line
        Across the desert sands they roll
        Getting out of that old dust bowl
        They think they're heading for a sugar bowl
        But here is what they find;

        The police at the port of entry say
        You're number fourteen thousand . . . for today, hey


      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Pfff, amateur. Real misanthropes move to a hellhole specifically to avoid people.

        God, I hate it here...
      • "The Californians." Jeez, pretty much everything west of the Mississippi was developed in the last 140 years at best. The "Californians" were Oklahomans, Missourans, Iowans, Kansans, Nebraskans only one or two generations ago. Most of the Californian demographic boom came during the dust bowl years: except for the gold rush crowd (and the East Coast financial elite that came with it), Californians are returning to these places.

        Nativism on the part of such places, where roots are seldom more than two or thre
    • Underneath all the 3-D prims and scripts and what-not, Second Life is the virtual experience that lets you be a gold jacketed Century21 Real Estate Agent as far as I can tell (but WITH A TAIL! AWESOME!). Not sure if it's about killing cool, maybe just exposing the lack of intrinsic coolness.
  • I tried signing up once, I immediately got pulled on my arm by Linden to get FREE CREDITS!
    After I installed it, it proved utter crap (crash-crap), and isn't worth a dime. But you must get the FREE CREDITS, and get YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN UP!
    I wonder when they will give me FREE V1AGRA when I sign up ? And I take it that the first Nigerian money scam will also be in effect real soon...:

    Dear sir, I write to you this letter on behalf of Prince Mumbaga of island 123. He has recently been wrongfully imprisoned, b
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @02:11PM (#16840652) Homepage Journal

    Clearly the second phase is buying press and spin through under-the-table payments to various industry blowhards. The only way that an underpowered, poorly architected, creatively weak and boring toy like SL could get anywhere near so much press is when accompanied by greasy cash. There is positively nothing "grassroots" about the rise of SL as a "popular" or "powerful" service at all. It's got all the worst attributes of a 1996 IRC server, a 1996 webpage, and and a 1996 three-dee console game, drawn by people born in 1996, all over 1996 dial-up.

    • I had been wondering the same thing myself, Speare -- although I'm more inclined to lean less towards the 'palm-greasing' theory as the culprit and more towards the unstoppable naivete of tech journalists. Much like sports journalists are apt to call every promising basketball player "The Next Jordan", I think that almost every techie write post-Neuromancer is eager for the opportunity to brand any sort of avatar-based pervasive enviroment as the missing key to the Gibson-esque cyberspace fantasy that most
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @02:21PM (#16840814)
    of a virtual world where you can't go on the rampage and kill everything?

    • by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @02:29PM (#16841010)
      Apparently the sex. Or at least that's the impression I got seeing HORDES of minimalls, sex shops, fashion stores, and "pubs" scattered around the place. It's like a MMOVSC (Massively Multiplayer Online Victoria's Secret Catalog)
      • It's the sex AND the fashion. Other stuff too, but the sex industry and fashion industry are probably the biggest in SL.

      • Yeah, it's the sex. And the amusement of how many people assume you're female just because you have a female avatar.
        • glad you brought that up, because it's especially hilarious that you can switch from specific outfits and models with a double-click.

          The woman you're flirting with one second may turn out to be a Tentacled Space Monster the next!
          Sadly, there are no Tentacled Space Monster outfits in the game yet. :(
          Or I'd have even funnier stories to tell.
    • There are places in SL where you can rampage and kill. Shooty shooty bang bang
    • by dpilot ( 134227 )
      I thought the point wasn't the rampage, but the one-on-one swordfights with Katanas. Do the garbage-collection routines pop up out of the floor to carry away the dead?

      Oh, and the motorcycle races, too.
    • Escape from reality?
  • No guns at work? Ah, man! Why can't I play around at work while I'm playing a game where I pretend to be working?

    I suppose this also means that when I find a way buy or craft the Sword of a Thousand Truths, I can't bring it in and show everyone how easy it is to cut the snack machine in half?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    'If you are not authentic and do not offer anything to the community, you are likely to be ignored, at best.'

    Or elected president of the United States, at worst.

  • A lot of overhype here, I think.

    Wouldn't this apply by default to absolutely everything in a 'game' in which people go to fake work, purchase fake goods, create fake sex toys, and have their little fake people watch fake little advertisements on the fake subway while wielding a fake gun or having fake sex with a fake person?

    Anything to do with second life is 'overhyped' the instant anyone not in second life hears about it.

  • If you are not authentic and do not offer anything to the community, you are likely to be ignored, at best.'

    That's what we said to Canter and Siegel.

  • Paint your wagon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @03:34PM (#16842238) Homepage
    Watch the movie, other than the bad singing it's an analogy to what is happening to the net. At first it was a kind of 'wild n wooly' thing, but eventually civilization moves in. Same is happening with Second Life. Eventually people will move on to other virtual worlds because Second Life is becoming 'too civilized'.
  • I logged into Second Life to see what all the fuss was about. It had all the action of a retiremnt home and all the allure of a burnt out cortina. In order to actually enjoy second life you really are saying you have no life.
  • this is exactly why 2nd life will fail.

    Entrepeneurial successes moving forward will empower the individual, not the corporations. Linden is binding it's revenue stream with company contributions, making its direction at odds with what people really want. Who would buy land in an advertising wasteland?

    sad - it had such potential.

    Good thing 3D technology is getting out there. others will swoop in and fill the gap and give the people what they really want.

  • So it wasn't enough that people had to build sites like WoW detox [], now we need a "Second Life Detox"?
  • I found this quote disgusting:
    She said Linden is using a "hands-off" approach when it comes to the mix of in-world businesses, real-world brands and individual residents, and that at the moment "the concept seems to be working well".

    Of course its working well - because to the Lindens 'working well' means they don't have to, well..., actually work.
  • With the advent of CopyBot, and it's potentially devastating consequences on SL's economy, I wouldn't be surprised if SL disappeared before 2008.

    CopyBot is a program that allows anybody to copy in-game objects for free. Most objects in SL are created and sold by individual users. SL's owners, Linden Labs, relies on this virtual economy for a large part of it's income. When people can freely copy any content, this will destroy the economy as there isn't really any incentive for people to create and sell item
    • by jafuser ( 112236 )
      The CopyBot drama is an orgy of hyperbole.

      When people can freely copy any content, this will destroy the economy as there isn't really any incentive for people to create and sell items.

      Just like how music and movie industries were destroyed a few years ago after online file sharing took off, right?

      You do realize there was a time in SL's history before you could cash out to US$? People made nice content back then too, and they were a hell of a lot more willing to share it as well. All of this hysteria is a

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.