2012 – Not So Dark

Nevertheless, the Linden Realms game seems to have attracted some success. I was expecting it to become a complete and utter failure, but apparently, people are playing it. SL game designers are excited to be able to get their hands on the new LL tools allowing things like automatic HUD attachments and the announced NPC programming tools. How all that put together will turn SL into a feasible platform to develop the next Half Life 2 “killer application”, and, more importantly, allow game designers to turn a profit from it (considering the nightmarish cost of leasing hundreds of regions to run a large-scale game able to “compete” with established MMORPGs) is anyone’s guess. Even if LL slashed the costs to merely a tenth of what they charge today this would still be unfeasible (compared to the alternatives) — and no matter how fast your graphics card is, you simply cannot walk into an area with hundreds of avatars and NPCs and lots of meshes and expect SL to provide you with the smooth lag-free experience of other platforms. We’re simply not there yet — not in 2012, and probably not in 2020 or even 2030, at the current pace of LL development.

So what’s the alternative?

Frankly, I don’t know. A professional 3D designer I randomly met in SL the other day told me something interesting: he was just developing content for sale in IMVU, because there are no overhead costs — no need to lease land, no need to build shops, no need to advertise (which is so hard to do effectively in SL). Just publish your content and see the cash trickling in. I wondered why he was logged in to SL at all. He answered: “Oh, this is my sandbox: this is where I have fun.”

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