Rodvik Linden has arrived in the People List -- that's his name. Rodvik was a gaming name he used (or maybe the full version of his name?).
What will he do?
There's a huge thread with all kinds of suggestions and tips and harangues and threats -- I started a forums thread urging three word recommendations so it is more coherent -- and started with "Log in often" (I find some of those senior Lindens never log in, it's shameful.)
I don't suggest that magic things happen if you log in a lot, but one thing for sure, your messages won't cap and you will see the IMs and notecards sent to you (of course you should link those to your offline email). And logging in can force you to look at things, especially if you set a log in to an infohub. Imagine if Rodvik Linden logged in every day at Waterhead or Moose Beach and saw the shenanigans there but also the obstacles for newbies. Imagine if he just flew around to those destinations on the destination list, it might inform some of his decision-making.
Lots of other three-word adages -- "fix search now" would be one and "set safe default" for land -- but I'll leave it to your imagination.
One thing I really hope is that Rodvik won't suck me into an i-phone.
We had all heard rumours that Blue Mars might be folding in June when the VC cash ran out or something, but with all the blustering hype we've had about it from Desmond, DanielRavensNest, etc. I thought it might really make it at least until June if not December.
All of a sudden there's an announcement that it is closing NOW, and turning to work on avatars for i-phones and i-pads. Ouch.
The curious thing is that rather than shutting down their servers with the virtual world, the way EA.com with the Sims Online or There.com did, instead, Avatar Reality, the company running Blue Mars, is going to leave it running, and stop charging tier -- or the equivalent of it, for cities, as far as I understand. I wonder what that means. Do virtual worlds left running but uncared for by their makers go feral? Do bands of wild junkyard dogs and zombies begin to roam the streets? Do mafias begin taking protection money? I can't imagine how that will work. I also have to wonder what it means not to collect tier, whether that will eventually result in having to shut off the servers. There was kind of a casual thing there with the tier, where some people didn't pay it or got bonuses or tier-free for life if they built something attractive...or something. I wasn't sure of the system, and it seemed a kind of BM FIC in the making.
Of course, there's the creepy issue of what happens to your "investment," which is what you call money you have put into this hole in the Internet called "a virtual world" like you would a boat that is a hole in the ocean into which you pour money.
It's funny, the thing that Desmond and others have often raised as a spectacle of fear around SL for which they were smugly prepaired with lots of cushioning of tier in advance or whatever, is what has hit him and others in Blue Mars. He may have lost thousands, I don't know, or maybe he can still collect rent?
There's a thread about this at Sluniverse (Sharia Court).
I can't get this idea of "avatar on my phone". I remember Yahoo tried to push the making of avatars to go on Yahoo Messenger, it didn't have uptake really. Then there was another place whose name I can't remember now that had little avatars on horses and IMs sort of like Meebo -- well, I can't remember it's name.
People on i-phones don't want avatars. They want either Facebook, where they have their RL picture, with other pictures available, or they want just IMs or texts where there's just a name. I can't think of any demand from the people out there for avatarizing their i-phone. Either you use the smartphones as is, with their Facebook or Twitter or whatever attached, or you simply play WoW on your desktop or laptop. Or ipad games that have those. I'm not seeing the demand. I know I personally wouldn't bother to kit out some avatar on a phone that couldn't go anywhere or be in a world with everybody else, it's too dinky and too laggy and too stupid. If I want to go in a world, I go in a world.
If Blue Mars is pushing avatars on phones, they would seem to be the least likely company to be doing this. Their avatars look like ass. A big part of why I didn't want to go to BM was because I didn't want to look like a drooling bozo. To be sure, some fashion got started there and the dressing of the avatars apparently got better, but their shapes were from hunger. I would think IMVU which has more experience in this sort of flatter-dimensioned socializing world with avatar skins and accessories might make the jump to i-phones more smoothly, if they aren't on their way there already.
Cityville has all these little tiny people -- fake people -- crawling around your little town, and every once in awhile your friends who have been horsed into playing this stupid game with you arrive in the form of a little miniature icon in a square hovering over a franchise building or some other thing like crops they are watering. Of course, it would be better if instead of those odd square picture frames, there were actually dressed and accessorized avatars -- like Raph made in Island Life, where you could visit other people's islands and actually see them there in real time in their avatar they had chosen and dressed -- not in fake time, which is what Cityville has when my RL friends or relatives seem to appear in my village with their picture -- they appear as a game mechanic, not as someone I can actually talk to. (I found that particularly creepy in Cafeville, which seemingly had the avatars of other people coming and cooking and eating -- but they weren't real, even with real people's names on them, they weren't "there".) Didn't I once say the definition of a virtual world is: 1) has a sense of place 2) has drama. That would require real people talking in real time, not fake time.
There's been a lot of talk about Mineshaft, it's the geek's new hobby, but I don't think you can go in to someone else's mineshaft and talk to them, right? it's solo.
Anyway, I don't want to be either a) avatarized on a phone or b) having to stare into a virtual world that has been miniaturized to fit on a phone screen and dumbed down to fit on a phone's capacities (and here cube points out something else: and is more expensive ultimately as a result -- I could play SL for $9.95 a month and even get 300 to spend and 512 meters, and I could pay an Internet bill of $37.00 a month, but a phone is going to cost $100-150 a month.)
The Lindens became preoccupied, you will recall, with the i-phone world back in 2009, when they said they were "restructuring" to focus on the web. Since then, they've ruined stores inworld and immersion in world by moving goods to SL Marketplace, and as much as somebody might complain about this, the reality is merchants save money on tier and avoid inworld hassles like casual copyright theft and griefing and garbage clean-up, and have a clear interface that they can leave open to sell 24/7 without their involvement. Can't beat that with a stick. Of course, sure, you can copy stuff from somebody's house, but note that I said *casual* copying of the sort that happened in stores versus on private islands where there might be security orbs or group-access only.
I don't think the Lindens ever succeeded in making a mobile application, although we heard it was in the works, and of course we know about all this Hamlet-incited ecstatic adulation of this teenager named Katherine who hacked something up on Ajax. But she's no longer a child wonder and no longer a teen and her hacked-thing wasn't usable because people don't want their passwords yielded. I don't know where this stands now, anybody? I think a Japanese company had a mobile SL but they also foundered on issues like passwords and I think they went out of business or ceased their SL business.
Please please please don't shrink me into an i-phone, Rodvik. There's no percentage in it. I am not an app. I don't want to become an app. I want to raise my chickens in a *world* not on my phone.