Second Life’s creator is returning to advise the original metaverse company – TechCrunch

The creator of one of the oldest and most enduring virtual worlds goes back to his roots. Second Life founder Philip Rossdale will join the company he founded in 1999 as a strategic advisor after High Fidelity, the spatial audio company Rosedale she co-founded in 2013 and invested in Second Life developer Linden Lab. The deal includes an unspecified cash investment, related patents, and some members of the development team.

“No one has come close to building a virtual world like Second Life,” Rossdale said in a press release. “Big Tech is ditching VR headsets and building a metaverse model on ad-based and ad-based behavior modification platforms that will not create one magical digital utopia for all. Second Life has managed to create a positive and enriching experience for its residents — while creating space for millions more to join in. to it—and build a thriving subscription-based business at the same time. Virtual worlds don’t need to be dystopia.”

As companies like Meta launch their own vision for the metaverse, Rosedale has remained an outspoken critic of some of the dynamics that underpin the current age of life online, from ad-based social networking to the environmental impact of energy-generated energy. bitcoin mining operations.

While quite a few Roblox users are old enough to have more than a passing acquaintance with Second Life, if so, Rosedale’s virtual social platform has pioneered several concepts that have only recently been promoted under the umbrella of metaverse”. Second Life explored the concepts of digital identity, virtual real estate, digital economies, and online multiplayer ecosystems in the early 2000s, when Facebook existed only to connect students at elite universities.

Rosedale is already in regular contact with Linden Lab CEO Brad Oberauger, according to the company, but he will significantly deepen his involvement in the platform’s product plans in the new advisory role. And High Fidelity’s current work remains closely related to Second Life: a number of social platforms have recently added spatial sound to create more immersive experiences, and some, like Clubhouse, are licensing High Fidelity code to remove it.

“Since Philip started Second Life in 1999, his visual approach has not only stood the test of time, but also positioned him for the future,” said Oberauger. “He and the High Fidelity team have unparalleled experience and I can’t wait to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity before us.”

With Rosedale back in the fold, Linden Lab appears interested in capitalizing on the magic of the early engine. But Second Life still has a long way to go back to the topic. Fortnite maker Epic, Roblox, Meta, and countless other major companies are betting on the near future (or arguably the present, depending on who you ask) on virtual worlds populated by digital identities with an endless supply of lucrative virtual goods. It’s unlikely that Rossdale’s own perspective will mimic the glimpses in the metaverse that some platforms offer now, so it will be interesting to see how someone who’s been thinking about these issues for 20 years envisions the virtual worlds that companies have suddenly become so keen on we all move into.

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