Did you know that Linden Lab is hard at work on a sequel to its Second Life virtual world? Yep, it is, and Recode has published a lengthy piece that not only looks at Linden’s Project Sansar but also at a handful of other companies who hope to create some sort of metaverse in the vein of Stephenson’s Snow Crash over the next decade or two.
Original Second Life creator Philip Rosedale is also in the mix thanks to his firm High Fidelity which has raised $17.5 million in venture capital to date, as is a company called Altspace VR that has $15.6 million and counts evil cable empire Comcast and Chinese MMO publisher Tencent among its investors. Those are just a couple of the companies profiled, and then of course there’s Facebook which famously acquired Oculus Rift in 2014.
Oculus co-founder and VR evangelist Palmer Luckey says that although his company and others are taking the long view in terms of mainstreaming virtual worlds, there are numerous benefits to be had including a theoretical improvement in online behavior. “Virtual reality will make it a lot harder to be a total dick to somebody online,” Luckey supposes, and Rosedale concurs. “The more synchronous, the more real-time you force the interaction to be, the better everyone behaves. In VR, it’s much harder to be a bully or be abusive if you’re doing it face to face. Harder — not impossible — but it’s harder.”