When I first landed at the repeater site to hear the Town Meeting, I was surrounded by a wall of fire.
Then I realized it was a bonfire some women had made at the Tropicana. They joked that they were burning witches at the stake. I peered closer and saw pentacle particles spitting from the fire. It was the usual pagan culture you find in these games.
Before I hot-footed it out of there, I stayed for a while to hear Philip talk about this fabulous new investment of $8 million from Pierre Omidyar, founder of e-bay, acting on behalf of his Benchmark Foundation. Philip Linden then proceeded to tell us that the investment wasn't actually from e-bay itself. When a player naturally asked if the e-bay connection would "help iron out issues with land auctions," he seemed surprised to hear that the system was even broken, commenting, "I think our land auctions work okay." Not!
I do have a few things to say to the powerful man behind the curtain.Download wizcurtain.wav
I've been struggling for days, even with Live Help and even with Actual Linden Help to do a seemingly simple transaction, buy land on two of my accounts, and merge them. To my horror, the system forced me to tier way above my actual holdings, and fearing I'd lose my land, I just went along with it. Somehow, during the transaction, I was showing way more land than I ever possessed, possibly due to glitches in the system (or my ignorance about how to work the complicated levers) involved in "buying for a group" and "deeding to a group", or possibly due to the system not really being set up for an avatar buying from himself. (Yes, I followed expert advice and had everyone in the group donate their allocations first before making the transition.) I went from two accounts at $40 each for a total of $80 on the 2 land parcels, to two accounts within a group, one paying $75, another paying $125, a third paying $5, and a fourth paying $8....all for exactly the same amount of land...This is very scary.
I live in hope that some sort of live helper will unravel this horror for me, which has definitely taken the thrill out of turning my first LL4000 into something like $15 RL dollars on GOM
The yuppie groovie metrosexual hip programmer geeks at SL are horrified at anything making it "commercial". Of course, like the buyers described in David Brooks' Bobos in Paradise, as long as the advertising is about cool, groovie, metrosexual hip geek programming type stuff (like at Avalon), then it's ok to advertise it -- ermmm...discreetly and cool and hip-like, of course.
This laughable paradox couldn't have been more better summed up by Philip Linden himself, when he waved away players' concern about "GM selling RL cars" in the game (a game where BTW he and his confreres have built a lot of ugly roads with yellow lines down them as if they were expecting GM to come in and sell RL cars LOL...), and talked about streaming old movies.
Streaming old movies like the Wizard of Oz is funky and cool, but God forbid if anybody came in and tried to place The Grudge trailers or sell Hummel ware or collectors' plates with Wizard of Oz logos on them!
Jarod Godel: Question: You say real world stuff doesn't work well here, and yet you say it needs to integrate with the world better. can you explain how those two aren't mutually exclusive statements?
Philip Linden: Sure I can.
Philip Linden: The coolest things in SL will have the majority of their intrinsic value on the SL side, I believe.
Philip Linden: So let's look at movies as an example.
Philip Linden: Let's say we add the ability to play back movies in SL.
Philip Linden: Like a texture or something.
Philip Linden: So if we add that capability, there are different ways you could use it.
Philip Linden: I think that a compelling example would be a sort of mystery science theater...
Philip Linden: where we all watch old movies in a group like this and comment on them.
Philip Linden: Good grief that would be hilarious, and so very very SL.
Philip Linden: But what if you use that feature to just advertise some dumb movie that is coming out...
Philip Linden: put up billboards all over the place with trailers.
Philip Linden: That is using the same feature in a way that doesn't leverage any of the uniqueness of SL.
Philip Linden: So I think tech connecting SL to RL is neutral...
Philip Linden: it is a question of how it is used.
Philip Linden: And I doubt that the totally non-SL uses like pure advertising will be very compelling.
Streaming old movies like the Wizard of Oz is funky and cool, but God forbid if anybody came in and tried to place The Grudge trailers (It never forgives. It never forgets). Or worse, tried to sell Hummel-like figurines or collectors' plates with Wizard of Oz logos on them!
I don't know why I feel like the $8 million is something like all that bubble investing in Amazon.com when it first got started and everybody said it was really losing money...And at least one commentator has expressed angst about the game devs then being forced to listen to high investors instead of their subscriber base.
I try to ask everywhere why the Linden has been on a steady nose-dive on GOM since August, but only get a lot of mumbling about "cycles" and "finding its natural level" etc. It's creeping back up to $4.11 per 1000 as I write, but that's just a bump from its steady decline.
The real currency of the realm of the uber-cool in SL -- when it isn't feigned indifference to dwell -- is vehement mall-hatred. That's why it's a little surprising to hear Philip wax enthusiastic about malls...but then they generate more trade and that has got to mean more income for Linden Labs.
You: Zapoteth Zaius: Question: How do you feel about all the malls cropping up in SL? (Not bashing them, I own one too :-))
Philip Linden: I think malls are great cause they are one of the first thing that has worked really well in SL
Philip Linden: so that is cool... emergence.
Philip Linden: Same thing with night clubs.
Philip Linden: they are a trip, right?
Philip Linden: But they aren't the only thing that will be great in SL
Cereal Milk: yes, there's also casinos!
Philip Linden: I am waiting for the next few big ideas.
Philip Linden: I don't think we will have long to wait. I suspect that malls are far from the top of SL's potential.
From Phil's blog, we know that his "Big Ideas" for SL potential consist of...golf. We wonder if he ever played Sid Meyer's Sim Golf? And his other Big Idea is...real estate agents. And there is also praise for sky-diving...something we have to wonder about, given our inate in-game default ability to fly...leaving us to wonder if SL's biggest sell, especially for TSO refugees, is the ability to fly over a more-or-less seeable, unfolding landscape, with songs wafting in and out of earshot like when you search for a radio station out on the Interstate at 3:00 a.m. and here everything from country to classic for hundreds of miles...
What's most troubling about the Town Meeting, we would have to say as a newbie, is how much of the discussion was devoted to lagging, crashing, graphic cards problems, etc. etc. -- and this something like a year into the game, no?
Makes me rush back to Alphaville...There's no place like home...