Not yet a party but soon?

So to be able to predict Cloud Party’s success we will need to understand how their business model is presented and how the company will promote its product, and what their target is going to be. Right now, it’s a tempting beta application, gathering as much attention as Blue Mars did when Blue Mars was in beta, too. The real test will come when it gets officially launched and has to struggle to survive in a very small market.

Because even the OpenSimulator grid operators have learned a tough lesson: it’s very easy to launch a virtual world (specially if the software costs are zero!) and announce prices to undercut Linden Lab. But as soon as a grid starts attracting people, the costs will skyrocket very quickly. The largest OpenSimulator grids are charging prices closer and closer to LL’s own, but offer a worse service — for residents disgruntled with LL, it’s the only option, but there aren’t that many as one might have imagined from the forum discussions and blog posts. A new technology with new features which radically departs from LL’s technological platform might be very welcome, but one also has to wonder how well it will scale. For example, when a Cloud Party island reaches the 25-avatar-limit, it gets sharded — a clever way to allow many more people to see the same content! — but obviously that means that the next 25 avatars will not see the first 25. They will be on separate islands. If you’re planning to do a mega-event with 400 avatars on the same location, you won’t be looking for Cloud Party to host it. Second Life might just barely manage it, assuming you’re willing to fight the lag. Intel has developed a technology called Distributed Scene Graphs to allow “hundreds of avatars” on a modified OpenSimulator version (it’s currently publicly available on Dreamland Metaverse) which is perhaps the only way to get huge regions with lots of content and lots of avatars share the same experience — but it’s not (yet) in widespread use as it’s still in the alpha development stage, although it sounds promising.

To conclude, it’s not that easy to compete with Linden Lab’s Second Life as most people would like to believe. What has Cloud Party and that makes it so special that Blue Mars, Project Wonderland, etc. and all the “missing” virtual worlds had not?

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