As I've mentioned before, I have ESP, but it's kind of a low-grade partial short-term ESP that doesn't always work so well -- kind of like Second Life itself. No matter, it's the enthusiasm that counts with us amateur clairvoyants, so here I am again making predictions for 2011, or rather, just giving you a report on the actual contours of the time continuum that I can actually see ahead, sometimes as a kind of coiled spring that might uncoil this way or that...
First, what I got right about my 2010 predictions:
1. Not only will LL not opensource the server code it will put in a fairly stringent set of rules for third-party viewers.
I went on as you can see explaining how these opensource thugs would fork and continue their criminality, and boy was I right, the Lindens *did* put in strict rules; they used them to permaban Emerald. And that was that. Most users then switched to Phoenix, where they continue to experience problems, such as Voice crapping out.
3. The teen grid will be closed.
No special need for ESP on that one, with concurrency at...300. And about 300 islands. It was ridiculous. And merging is ridiculous, too, because it's a handful of people. Most teens don't fancy a game that has no purpose, money, jobs or anything they can use to really rapidly have fun and socialize. SL is not for kids.
5. Community Partnership Program will quietly be retired or backburned, and instead Lindens will offer any community that can get the accounts to sign up and retain a $5 per recruitment fee
Well, half right there. Community Partnership closed, but there isn't any sign-up bonus.
6. A senior Linden will return to the fold (I admit having something more on ESP to go on here).
The Linden I figured would return did, and so did Philip.
9. Nothing will happen to Twitter.
Now what I got wrong:
7. The Lindens will not only make an application for the i-Phone, which is "where it's at", they will get into the Augmented Reality business
I'm moving that to 2011 predictions -- just a minute.
11. The Lindens will move land sales to a web interface like Xstreet -- and take a commission
Whew, we dodged that bullet. I hope I'm not putting any ideas into their pointy heads.
12. Philip Rosedale's "Send Love" Love Machine concept will get venture capital funding
I don't know *what* I was smoking on that one...
8. Augmented Reality will become the hugest thing
Again -- move to 2011. So here we go:
See, Augmented Virtual got a lot easier once you stopped trying to put it into some stupid clunky googles, and just put it all on our phones. (Second Life had the misfortune to traverse that epiphany of dropping the goggles and going to a screen before the advent of smart-phones).
Sso it will be everywhere before you know it, and already is in a lot of places. The drug store where I do my regular shopping has a stand now that says AUGMENTED REALITY CARDS. These are birthday and Christmas cards and such that you can buy, open up near a computer that has a web cam to see a chip in them, and it makes a little guy seem to come out of your computer and dance or something. Or it interacts with some page on the Internet doing stuff. So it's already mass culture. If the Times Tech pages are already popularizing it, if the CVS pharmacy already has it, if i-phones have it, it will start to become uniquitous in ways virtual worlds never, ever will and never will be, until suddenly everything will in fact be a virtual world, and then all that VW stuff might come in hand again.
2. The Lindens will somehow get into Augmented Reality along with a browser game. OK, how will they do that? We all get that downloaded worlds and even browser worlds aren't the same as AR. But by having a pet game or pet...shall we call it..."capacity"...on a browser on an iphone, say, being able to display your SL pets on your iphone and feed them from your iphone or something, and of course, connected to some Facebook display miniworld or something, we will get there.All the Lindens have to do is to do the same thing various training pet toys are already doing, hooking up real-life toys to the Internet. Once you can use your iphone or webcame eye to train it on reality, and then have something in reality that triggers something inside a virtual world, you will have virtual worlds on the super metaversal highway of relevance again.
The marrying of the virtual world app with the smart-phone app, how could it look? I don't know, I'm thinking about it still. A visit to a RL museum, a scan of your ticket to show your teacher you were there, a sketch of an Old Master, a scan and a display of it inside SL on shared media -- the depths of the virtual interactive space have not been plumbed.
OK, I'm mixing up browser, Facebook, etc. And that's just it. What is augmented reality, anyway? It's stuff overlayed over reality. It's going to a scene in real life, and seeing through the viewer on your pone elements of it that are pre-tagged and display as information or commentary (that's why Google is taking pictures of everybody's streets, see). It's what we have called "mixed reality" with virtual worlds and real scenes -- isn't the real scene augmented by the virtual reality? Is the only reason nobody is yet saying that about "mixed reality" is because it isn't on an i-phone yet?
I have LOTS of question about that, of course, and not the kind Tish and friends have, generally, because the people who get to code and write the copy for the interface are going to win, like they win when they write negative hotel reviews on Yelp.
3. Web GPL will seem like the Next Big Thing, but not really be. There will be lots of geeky, edupunk and tech blogger bloviation about it, but it isn't the same as an interactive world, and once people realize you can't quite shop there yet, nor do that other stuff like have pets and cybersex (in that order), it will not be SUCH a big thing, but still, preoccupy everybody, and loads of SL cynics will say, "See? We told you so. Virtual world technology is obsolete". More coming on this in the next post.
4. Philip will come back to Second Life, and do something with artificial intelligence (pets or flowers or something). This is all connected. I am the Sun. You are the Moon. We must all bathe in Beingness.
5. Second Life will not be go public; it will not merge; it will not be bought out. It will just go on bumbling along. Someone will have decided that the new guy from the Sims (EA.com) should be given a year to turn it around, so he will have that year. Good!
6. Search will not be fixed. Boy, you sure don't need ESP for that one! And here's my prediction for 3-5 years from now: Google will buy just the search for virtual worlds and games and create some Youtube like property where there is search for virtual goods to buy. Google takes over everything. They can't have helped but notice that Second Life is the only new media/virtual world/thingie that makes any money -- all the other things, including their own Youtube, lose money. So they will figure out that all these Farmvilles and Sims and Second Life and Blue Mars and stuff needs a marketplace that manages the economies better than they are managed by the clunky searches inside these worlds -- it will embrace gold-farming not as an aberration, but as opportunity. So they don't have to buy Linden Lab or Second Life itself, they just have to buy its search or marketplace.
7. SionChicken's Sion Zaius will either make a comeback or will be bought out and the new owner will emerge to create v. 14 (he would have to skip the unlucky v. 13) with new capacities and rares. The company will merely send one legal letter to the other breedables that he is claiming his patent and all the other lawsuits like Ozimal and Amaretto will collapse.
8. Dusan Writer will sell or pass on Metanomics to another owner or close it, and won't leave SL exactly, but will announce some Augmented Reality related story-telling business.
9. Dave Winer, the Calyx guy, Doug Rushkoff, and even Tim Berners-Lee, plus a lot of "progressives" from Daily Kos, the Nation, and Huffpo, will create and populate a new Darknet to get away from evil corporations that "place a chill on free speech" blah blah. Mitch Kapor will pay for it for awhile. Nobody much will show up. It won't have shopping. It may only have WikiLeaks. It will be DAMN boring. Also, no pets.
10. And speaking of places without shopping, the edu sims will fail on OpenSim and Hypergrid will not grow by much. Few people will populate them. They will not have audiences. They won't be fun. They will not have any commerce or community beyond the same tired politically-correct librarians and opensource geeks. Meanwhile, those edu sims that stayed in SL proper will do better.
11. Mesh will be implemented too soon, badly, and will be buggy and laggy. It will flush into SL some of the 3d swiped stuff out there, but it won't sell much. A middle class that already has an inventory in prims may not budge on buying Mesh.
12. The high-end merchant class will be certified and offered faster cashouts, faster response time on complaints about copyright theft, access to discount or free advertising, and other perks, most likely streaming of the newbie signups, possibly through a chit-earning strategy that will have games or skill contests for newbies that pay them chits to use in select merchants' shops. LL will cash out these chits at some certain rate if merchants are above some certain volume of sales and cashouts already. Some caper like this.
I may think of some more soon.