Well I’ve been talking about books, and I’ve been talking about Oskar’s departure and … well I just couldn’t resist! The news of Oskar’s departure has spread, a forum post or two on the official forums. The thread over at SLUniverse is still active, with Oskar receiving a whopping 113 hugs from well wishers so far. Daniel Voyager was one of the first, probably the first, to blog about Oskar’s departure. There has been another post from Prok, who was one of the first to blog about the departure rumours.
Also amongst the first to blog on the rumours was Inara Pey, who had the rumblings on page 2 of her week 44/4 Server and viewer news. Inara has blogged again on the subject, whereas JeuxOnline has an article entitled Linden Lab se sépare d’Oskar Linden. People are a bit miffed, although I wouldn’t imagine, anywhere near as miffed as Oskar. The thing is with Oskar, is that despite his faults (and he’s only human, he has faults), he communicated in an excellent fashion, whether you liked what he said was a different issue, but he spoke to people and people like that. People feel engaged when there’s communication, which is why Linden Lab’s lack of communication is so frustrating, but I’ll come to that later.
Oskar isn’t the first popular Linden to leave the lab and unfortunately, he won’t be the last. Prospero Linden used to be the server rollout guy, he was popular although of course being the server guy, you will have critics, he also communicated very well, I hope there isn’t a theme here! There have been many other Lindens who have gone whom many of us miss for differing reasons, new ones will arrive and be well liked …. I hope! Whereas others have come and gone, or are still working for Linden Lab, who never get the credit they deserve.
The front facing Lindens have always been the most popular, as well as being the ones who take the most flak, which is an unfortunate side effect of being front facing. The problem we have these days is that the front facing ones are so thin on the ground that we don’t hear enough from them. Linden Lab simply don’t talk up Second Life, leaving one to wonder whether they’ve resurrected Harpo Marx as head of communications. However here’s the issue with the lack of news from Linden Lab and their employees, Second Life gets talked about less and let’s use Rod Humble as an example, Rod does of course talk, indeed he was talking not that long back to Giant Bomb, you can read the interview here.
“When I was thinking about leaving EA,” said Humble during a recent meeting. “I was going to do my own company, and it was going to be around creative spaces–games that emphasize creativity tools more. When the opportunity came up and Linden Lab got in touch…first of all, Second Life? Is that still around? [laughs] I looked, and it was really, really healthy. Also, it was a company that was ready made to do a whole bunch of other products, which I wanted to do.”
Right there in that paragraph, we see it, Second Life? Is that still around? I’ve seen that comment several times over the years from various commenters, as I said, Rod Humble probably meant this tongue in cheek, but the less people talk of Second Life, the more likely we are to see comments like that and that’s the biggest problem with Linden Lab’s lack of communication. Linden Lab basically direct the communications and news others pick up on.
However even if Linden Lab don’t want to do the communications themselves, how about they offer something to interested parties, I’m not expecting them to be able to blog and provide developer podcasts like Blizzard can, but preview news of new products, forthcoming changes and news, emailed maybe to people who signup, would be useful, of course it would require someone to actually manage those communications, so it might go flat.
This is why Oskar is going to be missed so much, he communicated and he communicated bloody well. Linden Lab of course choose to do what they think is best and in terms of the direction Linden Lab are heading, I think Rod Humble is doing a bloody good job, but that still doesn’t make me think this virtual communications blackout is a good idea.
I mean all they need is an official guide with some links to find some information, encourage people to create machinima for their official YouTube channel, they do still add the odd one there from time to time and then promote those new videos, it should not be that difficult, however ultimately the ball lies with Linden Lab, it’s their call at the end of the day.