Linden Lab just announced that Second Life would henceforth be associated with Steam — some service through which millions can connect to different game platforms. I was reading a thread in the Second Life Merchant forum about Steam’s potential effect on SL business and came across this insightful post by Madeliefste Oh, which I thought bears repeating here (the bolding is mine):
Madeliefste Oh wrote:
It will help, maybe not enough for all merchants to survive the crisis, but anything LL does to promote their world is better then keeping silent.
I really don’t care that it might bring in people who have different expectations. When I first arrived in SL I came with a game mindset as well. And I had no clue where to start, trying to get stronger, trying to get money, getting to know the right people, finding a home, or learning how to make things.
But soon enough I met people, and I talked to them in my attempt to find out how to play ‘this world’. And they learned me everything what a newbie needs to know: how to travel around, how to use IM, where to go for freebies and how to make money by camping or dancing in a club.
In I simply forgot my expectations that came from gaming experience, because this whole concept where you set your own goals seemed much more interesting to me, then playing around in a preprogrammed world. Above that I was highly fascinated by the idea this world was completely made and owned by it’s residents. To me this seemed the place where the collective fantasy took place, all with all a place to be.
Virtual wolds will never appeal to the masses who are looking for easy amusement. Freedom is not the easiest toy to play around with. You must be willing to take initiative and make your own meaning. I’m convinced that there are still millions of people who will enjoy SL, and have the potental to become a loyal resident. Some of them will be hanging around in the gaming community, some of them will be playing farmville sort of games, some of them will have no gaming experience at all, and some of them have even never touch a computer for their fun.
But I see nowadays is the threshold to become a participant in the economy much higher then five, six years back when we had camping all around. When it was easy to get some startmoney by camping, almost every new resident did get involved in the economy. That stopped when LL banned camping.
There is less money coming in the economy, but the supply of goods continues to increase. The more goods available, the harder it will be to get your product seen by potential buyers. So the profit per product will decrease for every merchant.
We definitely need a lot of people with empty inventories around to keep this pyramid economy working.