Over the years I have heard a lot of good suggestions about how to handle the first hour, and had hope that the browser “guest” viewer and this new “basic” viewer would help, but it doesn’t seem to — yet. Because no matter how easy something is, if there is no intriguing CONTENT — and by that I mean something to do, people to talk to — why bother? People like IMVU because they want to talk to other ppl and they can do that easily, with no learning curve (and no new computer). In SL new people are dropped down in some spot where they are likely to be harrassed by idiots. The chance is small that their computer will be able to rez anything worth seeing anyway.
The Linden Homes have worked as hoped — I get a lot of pretty new people looking at my houses, and I know from talking to them that a lot realized the limitations of their Linden homes pretty quickly. So, LL did something right, yay!
It’s really not about the technology, it’s about the content — the interaction. The easiest viewer possible will not fix that. And the hardest viewer — and lag, and inventory loss — is just something people learn to work around if the content is compelling enough.
So by all means, add the shiny stuff. Fix the lag and inventory problems. But don’t expect that to result in population growth.