I hate Second Life

Second Life: 4.6m+ "residents", supposed to be exciting… But frankly, it's not

Second Life
(or SL), a 3D Virtual Reality platform, is being touted as the next big thing for learning, and just about anything else you care to think about, for that matter.

Here's the Future Technologies Advisory Group (who describe themselves as "a consulting and media group") raving about it:

In other words, 3D is a much better user interface. This is not surprising: while we have been working with documents for only a few hundreds of years, we have evolved fast responses to the real 3D universe, like running from predators and hunting prey, for hundreds of thousands of years. Now that technology permits doing so, 3D VR will become the preferred online interface for users with powerful PCs and enough bandwidth. Nothing exceptional though: your home PC and DSL are probably more than good enough to run Second Life.

First of all, it would be interesting to have some stats on what percentage of the population are currently "users with powerful PCs and enough bandwidth" and what percentage could fix things if their home PC doesn't prove to be "good enough to run Second Life"… Like, you've got the wrong kind of videocard. Duh! What do I do now…?

Beware of, be skeptical of any and all claims that are made for any and all technology, I say. To say that "3D [and hence Second Life] is a much better user interface" strikes me as being utter nonsense. To suggest that we've been "running from predators and hunting prey, for hundreds of thousands of years" and will thus take to SL like ducks to water is, frankly, utter crap.

What percentage of the population… :

  • have ever run from predators or hunted prey in the real world?
  • actually like First Person Shooter (FPS) video games?
  • actually like any video games?
  • actively hate video games?

I mention FPS video games [definition] because that's essentially what SL is. You "see" yourself in a virtual world, and wander round doing things (er, what things, if we're supposed to be teaching/learning languages…?).

But there is one important exception: SL is not exciting (unless you happen to be into cybersex, that is) — you don't run away from anyone, shoot anything, get excited or feel scared (etc).

According to Wikipedia: "[Although] Second Life is sometimes referred to as a game, it does not have [my emphasis] points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy." Er, the point of "playing" it…?

What percentage of FPS video games players like SL…?

More about Second Life
Second Life | Wikipedia entry | Second Life Education Research

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  1. I should add that I am a fairly big video games player (though I've never liked FPS games…)

  2. Wikipedia quotes this Guardian article, which suggests that the drop out rate, of people trying but not returning to SL is in excess of 85%.

    The 4.6m+ current "residents" is a figure that needs to be slashed by that percentage, in other words.

    Interestingly, the same Guardian article draws a comparison with World of Warcraft and its 5m plus (paying) subscribers [Wikipedia entry]… complete with its "points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy"

  3. Well said Tom. I tried to return to 2nd life after boredom twice, and lately I signed up for some live activities on a brazilian Distance Learning seminar. They were held at Second Life.
    I know how to replace my video card. My newer computers have corroded from sea breeze (thankyou eastern Asia manufacturers) so Im back using the same computer I had no problem using to log into SL the first time. Game said I couldnt, so I added an extra video card and it was extremely slow (because I lack RAM too).
    And the interface isnt good at all okay. I love WoW, Lineage II and Runescape- which doesnt have much of a structure but it is neatly well programmed it will run on shitty old computers like this one.
    I googled "i hate second life" and clicked myself into your page. On the way I saw a webpage full of testimonials from spouses saying their mates were addicted to some 'Gor' world in there.
    Funny enough when I was 'born' into SL to go to my seminar, before teleporting I saw a male avatar, naked. I said: 'dude this is a virtual world, you could have made your junk so much bigger lol' then went to class. And they want to use second life to educate people!

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