Electric Sheep Company To Change Core Business?

ESC LogoThe SLogosphere has been busily trying to “interpret” the meaning of the Electric Sheep Company’s layoff of about a third of their workforce and since some of their projects are being shut down, there have been all kinds of wild speculations. There isn’t a real official press release about the layoff, just some comments from some of ESC’s representatives and an explanation by a former employee, so this is a good background for rumours, on a week where all we read is how companies are leaving SL or other virtual worlds are growing like crazy.

So it’s time for a new round of metahype and doomsday predictions? You bet!

Let’s get back to the facts. The media doesn’t know what to report about SL. 15,000-25,000 new users registering every day is not news. SL having more registered users than World of Warcraft is not news — but Kaneva doing a stress-test of their grid to reach 750 simultaneous users shows that “all other virtual worlds are growing”. A hundred new companies and organisations entering SL per week is no news — but two leaving, after their one-year-project finished, makes the headlines. A tiny not-for-profit organisation opening up 25 sims for some social and cultural work gets mostly unnoticed; but if supportforhealing, an in-world support group with a single sim which is around since late 2004 or so, announced that they’d leave SL, that would be on the front page of the New York Times or on prime time on CNN.

What this means is that the perception of what has become “news” in SL has changed. Nobody gets “media splash” any more — at least, not massively — if they announce anything interesting. On the other hand, if you have bad news to give, they’ll spread like wildfire.

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