There goes the neighborhood: Second Life to join Steam gaming platform

Linden Lab recently announced that Second Life will soon be available on the Steam gaming platform, potentially making it available to the 40 million+  Steam customers.

Not being much of a gamer, I have tried my best to figure out exactly what Steam is.Mostly, I just gave myself a headache.Best I can tell, the Steam network was created by Valve, and they describe it like this:

Steam guarantees instant access to more than 1,800 game titles and connects its 35 million active users to each other—and to us. Through Steam, fans can easily buy, play, share, modify, and build communities around Valve products as well as titles from other independent game studios. Steam is available in 237 countries and 21 different languages.

My first impression was “Facebook for gamers”. You can chat with other members, form groups and, for a price, play a multitude of games. There are hundreds of titles, including some of the most popular games on the market. This is hardcore gaming. Steam also plans to add both creative and productivity software to its lineup

So, how will SL fit into all of this? Well, lets here from some steam members:

“This is dangerous stuff, I’d rather get outta the house and find real friends rather than socializing with 50yr old people acting to be in their 20s.”  – XDeepS

“The biggest surprise to me is that Second Life is still going! Is it not full of douche bags like PlayStation Home?” – Phill Watts

As you can see, they are really excited! It will be interesting to see how many Steam members are going to be willing to actually journey into Second Life. If they do come in, will they stay? Currently, Second Life does not have the graphics or the interface offered by most of the games you will find on Steam.Perhaps this is why LL has announced plans to upgrade the graphics ability very soon.

One interesting thing I noticed was that, although games are rated, there did not seem to be much in the way of age verification. It will be interesting to see what happens when Little Johnny logs in and decides to check out the Sexy Nude Beach sim. Do SL users automatically become Steam members? Can Steam members use a TPV? This venture raises so many questions, and there is, as usual with LL, not much in the way of answers.

Criticism and sarcasm aside, this could, possibly, turn out to be a good thing. I certainly like this direction than the previous attempt to turn SL into some sort of Facebook offshoot. Gamers who are interested in creating games and testing them could find SL quite advantageous. Also, from what I have read, connecting to steam will have no impact on how those of us who are already here login or go about our business. Every venture has risks, but at least LL seems to have a vision for keeping Sl relevant and viable in the years ahead. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Steam at Wikipedia

Steam home page

Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble asks how to make new visitors stick

This is interesting.

While surfing through the user-run SLUniverse online forum I found a series of posts by none other than Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble. A lot of us, me included, often complain that the owners of Second Life never pay attention to the users of Second Life, so it was a treat to see Humble not just posting, but talking back and forth about what can be done to make new users opt to stick around in Second Life. Here is a bit of the question he posed:

Actually I do have a question for folks here. Assuming SL improved performance enormously, from region crossings to lag to render times. (big assumption I know but roll with me here) What would you do to insure new users “stuck”?

Right now after performance our biggest issue is not getting new signups or even people to experience SL for a bit, its turning them into long term users.

Any thoughts on what you would do? We have some ideas but before pulling the trigger I would be curious what folks thoughts are here. The more varied the better.

The responses, as you can imagine, were varied and Humble took the time to reply to several. For me personally, the thing that made me “stick” into second life was mainly meeting someone and talking with them. I think the sooner a new resident is able to talk with other residents, the better.

I really do like the fact that Humble does seem to understand that, despite our bitching, most of us love what SL offers and only complain because we want to see it at its best.  In short, Humble gets it:

With SL, I fully recognise LL has a long way to become liked or even trusted, I do get the sense that almost all criticism I read can usually have the line put in front of it “I love this world and I want it to do well, here is how you can do that .”