The buzz among Second Life residents for the last while has been the announcement that Linden Lab is developing a next-generation virtual world – though it won't even be in Alpha for a year or two. At the same time, they have committed themselves to maintaining Second Life itself and continuing its development.
The technical issues surrounding this decision are largely imponderable at present, with virtually no information out there. But the social implications are enormous. Will residents migrate to the new world and leave SL in ruins? Will creators be able to rebuild their creations in the new world? Will people be interested in moving?
We assembled a panel to discuss the issues, in our studio on Garden of Dreams, including virtual and RL librarian JJ Drinkwater; Firestorm Viewer project manager Jessica Lyon; Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica; Pathfinder Lester, community engagement specialist and former Linden; and Jo Yardley, creator of 1920s Berlin who has had several ongoing discussions with Linden bigwigs. All are particularly well-informed on the potential and pitfalls of virtual worlds.
This is the first part of a two-part programme.