Nuke Second Life from its Virtual Orbit

Nuke Second Life from its Virtual Orbit

Oh, Second Life. Feel free to take a few seconds or so to recall your favorite jokes for this quasi-popular interactive Web medium before we begin, like: "get a First Life," or... uh... "Second Life sucks." You know. Stuff like that. Because I swear to god, I've spent a little bit of time inside Linden Labs's epic creation, and I remain convinced that it was probably some of the more pointless hours I've ever spent in front of a computer.

To me, Second Life is just a modified version of Microsoft's ancient V-Chat application, which in itself, is just a fancier version of the equally ancient The Palace chat room software. Sure, you can do more than just chat in Second Life. You can run a business! You can design virtual houses! You can lob virtual genitalia at fellow citizens. But at the end of the day -- I simply have to borrow a phrase from Gordon for this one -- who gives a ?

It's a nicer way of saying what BusinessWeek alluded to last month. Second Life has enjoyed its time in the sun as the oft-articled , PR megalith of the last year or so. But as a practical gateway between all things real and virtual, the service is little more than a glorified chat room, hardly the melting pot of ingenuity, business, and cyber-devotion that seemingly every news outlet paints it to be. To which I summarize, again, who cares about Second Life? And why the hell do real-life businesses see this as a viable way to reach a new audience?

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but the absolute last thing I want to do with my time is log onto a virtual world... just so I can experience elements of the real world... in a virtual corporate setting. Yep. I'm just going to go log on, fire up my buck-naked avatar, head on over to the Cnet booth or something, just so I can watch a realtime chat between... fake... creations... that represent reality. Whatever happened to just "going to a Web site" and "reading a damn interview?" Is that too old-fashioned? Because if this is the future of Web journalism, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

But I digress, I just don't get the point of these virtual worlds. Sure, there's some economic value to Second Life -- if you're one of the 1-2% of total users that are actually making more than $10 a month. But even in that, I fail to see the excitement in owning a new hug gesture, or some new clothing, or -- heaven forbid -- some grandiose house. It's a virtual world. Which is far different than a "video game," or an MMORPG, where better loot at least gets you something in return. If given the choice, I'd rather spend real-life money to get a Thunderfury -- an uber-leet WoW item that gives you both astethical and ass-kicking benefits -- than a freakin' virtual abode. At least I could use a weapon to have tons of fun throughout the entirety of the realm. What, am I going to just go sit back in my virtual house and drink a virtual beer or something? Seriously. Not fun.

I realize that's a slightly petty argument to make, but it's the best example I can think of. It absolutely kills me to see the mainstream media, if not society as a whole, giving some kind of credence to these virtual worlds. It's nuts. And it's worse when the courts get involved, like this lovely little story. In short, a dude fixed the system and won Second Life property for a value far lower than what it was worth. And now he's suing Linden Labs, because they took said property back. The case is comparable to a 14-year-old suing Blizzard because his buddy stole the raid drop that he were supposed to get. I hope to god a judge doesn't take this seriously, because in the end, everything runs under Linden Labs. It's their deal. If they wanted to shut down the world and replace it with a giant, virtual middle finger, that's that. Badda-bing. You're done.

Which I suppose brings me to my ultimate point -- virtual worlds, and their game-related brethren, have been around for quite some time now. And it's all just one fad after the next; one year's Everquest becomes the next year's Dark Age of Camelot, becomes the next year's Warcraft, et cetera. I personally think paying any kind of real-life money for in-world material, save for said world's monthly fee, is akin to tossing your cash into a big virtual fireplace. But that's just me. Second Life is more PR than playability, and godspeed to anyone who thinks V-Chat 2.0 is worth the time.

1

Comment

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Marcelo5781

Just have to say I love the article and Maximum PC. Kick @$$ Dave Murphy!!

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.