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Editorial: Second Life. Brand Loyalty?

by Recka Wuyts
Published November 25, 2012

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In the Tribune this week Netera Landar has an interview with Lazuli Pooraka, 4th Oldest Open Simulator Based Grid. Evidently that is up for debate, whether it is the 4th Oldest or not.

Lazuli Pooraka is one of the team of workers behind The Third Rock Grid.  Netera’s interview and most recent report on yet another virtual grid that is striving to gain an upper hand on Second life in terms of, let’s say, “quality of life”, basically puts it this way:

“Word has been getting out about 3RG’s belief in treating people with respect, being helpful, fair, everyone knowing everyone’s name, that it’s a family-friendly grid and that people with physical and emotional challenges can thrive on this virtual world.”

Not long ago we did an interview with one of the Inworldz builder develpoers, Tranquillity Dexler,  and he basically said the same thing.

“Tranquillity Dexler: InWorldz will be working to maintain a solid foundation as well as improve accessibility to virtual worlds. THe core group of founders also acknowledges how this technology is even more useful and rewarding for people with disabilities that prevent them or dimish their ability to dance, play etc in real life. This is a group we’ll be focusing much attention on to try our best to enable them to do all their favoite activities again, virtually.”

Which boils down to, “We are nicer than The Lab”, so come here instead of Second Life. Here is the rub. The management styles in these grids are nicer and these grids are cheaper to buy land in or build but, how many fashion blogs are focused on InWorldz, or 3RG? I am sure there are some, I don’t know of any.  However, I believe,  because SL is prettier and the shopping is better, in spite of the lag, once you get there SL is a nicer place to buy stuff than any other virtual grid. Why? It isn’t brand loyalty. People are still looking for an alternative to SL. But they keep coming back.

Gwyneth Llewelyn, states in her article,   What makes us return to Second Life? “The super-hard-to-master interface even has a strange advantage. Once someone gets furious with SL and moves to someplace else, they will experience a VW with a much simpler interface. And then they get this odd feeling that there is little they can do in this VW, compared with SL, which has so many options — and they would be right. Blue Mars, for example, didn’t need a complex building interface, because building was not an option for ‘regular’ users. That meant that someone used to build things in SL and moving to Blue Mars would get disappointed: it meant registration as a developer, buy and learn a lot of new tools, and get used to a complex pipeline of content production (and approval) until they could place a plywood cube on their islands. That simply didn’t work.”

No matter where you go on any of these other grids they are not as pretty as Second Life and the shopping is horrible. Try to find good men’s hair.  SL has something nobody else has, a quality of life, “The Shopping is Great.” I suppose that is some kind of Brand Loyalty. I have had avatars on Blue Mars, Inworldz, Cloud Party and some I can’t even remember, I would rather live in Second Life. It is better here. It is like if you had the choice of living in North Platte, Nebraska or Beverly Hills, California, where would you live? The land is certainly cheaper in North Platte, But if you had the choice of shopping on Rodeo Drive or South Dewey, where would you rather shop?

Let’s not diminish anything Laz or any of the hard working people in North Platte or 3RG, InWorldz or Open Sim, do, but virtually speaking, until these other grids have everything that SL has and then some they will never keep people living there like they do in SL. And this is true of all the virtual worlds that compete with SL. Until they are using the very best graphics engine and until their viewer is easier to use and offers a better user/living experience, and their land is cheaper and the shopping is better, and, and,  Second Life will be the place to be.

Until these other Grids can create a destination that is more appealing than SL visually, not just nicer with grander ideals than the commercial, heartless bastards that run Linden Lab, until the shopping is better people will always come back to SL.

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  • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

    You touch on a very interesting point! When we’re in Second Life, we complain about the horrible technical support, the “disconnect” that exists between Linden Lab and its users and how they completely lost the touch with their residents. But we take shopping for granted.

    When moving over to an OpenSim grid, none of these problems exist. But there is no shopping. Interestingly, the ability to shop for quality content is more important than good technical support and proximity with the company running the grid.

    What can OpenSim grid operators do to attract quality content designers? Not just one or two — but thousands of them?

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