It’s Not the Metaverse

Eric Rice (aka Spin Martin) posted on G+ three links to blog posts about Second Life and whether or not it’s fulfilled the promises of the metaverse. The first one was by Fleep Tuque and it generated responses from Wagner James Au and Botgirl Questi.

The response by Botgirl Questi was the most interesting, because she posits that it isn’t Linden Lab or technology that’s failed in making SL the “real” metaverse, it’s the residents themselves. She seems to feel that we have the tools in SL and that any failure for the metaverse as envisioned to appear is a failure to use those tools.

I agree that a lot of it is the failure of residents. I’m part of the problem. If I’d just used SL to build and script and get things done, that would have been great. That’s what SL is best at, IMO. It allows those things and those things are freedom. As it was, I diverted into wandering around and wondering what the point was. But it’s kind of hard not to, with Bloodlines and so many divergent crazy groups. And yet the only place I ever felt like I found people that I wanted to hang out with or that wanted to hang out with me was on Corona Cay. The rest of SL feels like a massive wasteland to me. It’s empty. Or it’s full of people that don’t even want to say hi. Or it’s LAGGY. And all the technical issues I remember from when I was logging in regularly still seem to exist in some form or other. All these things combine to sap the fun right out of it.

But that seems to indicate to me that it’s not just the residents playing vampire or wandering around in bondage outfits that are the problem. I think they ARE part of the problem. But the rest of the problem is that it’s not even close to the realism of a good modern video game, and yet the performance is horrendous. The metaverse is supposed to provide incredible illusion of reality – something SL can’t even come close to – and that’s never going to happen on this platform. Furthermore, SL is a reality replacement, as far as I can tell in how most people use it, whereas the metaverse is more of a reality augmentation. We should be our own avatars. We should just join up in a non-physical environment. That’s really what I want.

Guiding a cartoon character around is ok for a little while at a time. But it really can’t compete with the other stuff going on in my life that I get to use my own eyes and navigate my own body to do. Until the metaverse is ME logging in, and not a pixel guy, it’s not going to be compelling, even if they solve the technical issues that sap my enthusiasm and the social aspects of the world that make me wonder why I’m still logged in. It’s not the compelling vision of the metaverse that was presented before SL, that Philip Linden was striving towards.


  1. Bjezz

    While researching my next blog entry (with luck, to be psoetd today), I discovered a quote from Oscar Wilde:”Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”- – – – – -Isn’t it wonderfully ironic, if not vindicating, to think that the same people who are derided for wasting time in places like SL may become more socially adept, through their lives as avatars, than their “meatspace-only” counterparts?

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