Project Sansar To Offer Instancing And Perhaps A Different Approach To Branding Experiences

Second Life Image - Futuristic Guy

Scientists have announced that they have found “The closest twin to earth outside the solar system“. The name of the planet is Kepler 452b and it’s considered Earth’s older and bigger cousin. However that’s not really what this blog post is about. No, this blog post is about me finding “The closest article to the article I found yesterday about Project Sansar, outside this blog“.

I have discovered the article at none other than Variety. The article in question is Second Life Maker Linden Lab Wants to Build the WordPress of Virtual Reality by Janko Roettgers, Senior Silicon Valley Correspondent for Variety.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, yesterday I blogged Ebbe Altberg And Peter Gray Talk To MMORPG About The Future Of Online Experiences, which was based on an article on MMORPG by Neilie Johnson entitled “Linden Lab Looks to the Future of Online Experiences“.

The article in Variety covers a lot of the same ground but it also has some additional and rather interesting information, for example, when it comes to how many people may be able to visit a build in Project Sansar, the Variety article states :

Why spend a lot of money to build a presence in Second Life if it could only be visited by only 70 people at a time? Project Sansar wants to solve this issue by allowing for unlimited copies of an experience. In other words, instead of just opening one restaurant, McDonalds could open hundreds or even thousands of eateries in the new virtual world, and open and close them based on customer demand.

This does indeed mean instancing! Now if you’re not familiar with instancing, imagine a Second Life region that is full. Instancing would address this by creating pretty much a copy of that region on demand, to allow more people to enter the experience. The obvious issue there is that you may not be in the same instance of the region as your friends, but we can worry about things like that later because instancing is a bloody brilliant concept.

Second Life Image - Friends

Then we move onto something that I’ve actually talked about in the past, but it does suggest a difference between the way Linden Lab have approached Second Life and how they are approaching Project Sansar in terms of branding :

Project Sansar will allow brands and other developers to build their own VR experiences, and then deep-link to them from their websites or third-party apps. Users will still have to have the Project Sansar software installed to use them, but it will feel a lot more like custom experiences. “Second Life is a platform dressed as a product,” said Altberg. Project Sansar will be a platform that will allow others to build products. “The experience is the primary brand,” he said.

Now this is interesting. I’m taking this to mean that instead of people heading off to Project Sansar, as they do with Second Life, they will instead be heading off to the experience. So for example people would go to, let’s say, The Wastelands or Remnants Of Earth. Whereas these areas, in a Project Sansar environment, would be running on Linden Lab technology, the brand of the location would be the talking point. Then in the background, in the technical areas of the forums, the more geeky of us would be discussing Linden Lab’s technology that powers these brands.

Second Life - Building Login Image

In the Variety post and the MMORPG post, the issue of WordPress came up and that seems even more relevant now. Now I use WordPress, so do Inara Pey,  Nalates Urriah and Canary Beck. Now we are all different sites, although we can interact via the WordPress software with avatars, likes etc. WordPress is the technology and allows us to get up and running, but the brand is the site itself.

I could of course be getting this arse about face, I haven’t talked to Linden Lab about this, but this sounds like the direction they are heading in. We have to be patient with these things and see what actually transpires, but speculating is exciting!

One more thing from the article, it looks as if Linden Lab are looking at a public beta of early 2016, around the time a consumer version of Oculus Rift hits the shelves. I must admit that this sounds a bit too soon to me. I would have thought public beta would be later in 2016, but we’ll see what happens.

I would advise people to read the article on Variety, there’s a lot I haven’t covered and the article is a good read. However the really big question is one that won’t be answered for some time, but it does bring me back to the start of the article. Second Life and Project Sansar will be virtual world cousins, which one will fit the role of Earth and which one will fit the role of the bigger cousin, Kepler 452b?

9 Replies to “Project Sansar To Offer Instancing And Perhaps A Different Approach To Branding Experiences”

        1. A music gig is one of the areas I can see being problematic, not in terms of visitors, but in terms of people seeing the performance.

  1. One thing caught my attention.
    “Handing over more branding power to companies could also turn away users who aren’t looking for big real-life brands to dominate their virtual worlds.”

    I will try to explain my thoughts in simple and un-complex way (hopefully). Lets say, two big RL and SL clothing brands enters Project Sansar.

    1) For RL brand (RL-b), it will be more like brand building exercise, or extension of customer ‘experience’ or reaching out to customer to simply put.
    2) But, this SL brand (SL-b) is giving a competition in terms of say sales. The sales are skewed in favor of SL-b (because most of the customers are existing SL users who are aware of the SL-b).

    1) Financially, the sales will be just a blip for RL-b. They may not care as much about sales as they would care about ‘visits’ to the store – if we ignore all the ‘SL sales may translate into RL sales’. I mean not everyone can afford expensive RL-b.

    2) But in marketing context, RL-b is losing out to SL-b. SL-b is getting visits which is translating into sales.

    Reactive scenarios:
    Q1) Will RL-b try to get into some agreement with SL-b like co-branding?
    A1) It will be financially suitable for SL-b, and marketing-wise for RL-b because of more ‘visits’ and brand visibility.

    Q2) Will RL-b try to ‘acquire’ SL-b? As in business acquisition and then go for co-branding? A big company acquiring a start-up or a growing company scenario perhaps.
    A2) Assuming that RL-b is big in scale, they may go for acquisition but no revenue sharing leaving it for SL-b but still have co-branding which is now dominated by RL-b. And, RL-b eventually phases out SL-b and still retain all customers. Long shot, extremely utopian or hypothetical, but a remote possibility.

    The reason behind huge comment/opinion:
    If any of these scenarios play out as I am assuming, I think financially, VW big names may actually give a strong competition to RL big names. And, if scenario 2 plays out, some of us might actually come out financially well, unless the sale agreements do not have ‘do not compete’ kind of clause.

    FYI: An America apparel brand eventually closed its store. Just saying.

    1. Fun fact, I contacted American Apparel asking them if they would consider a return to Second Life. I suggested that the mistake they had made was not embracing the community, by that I meant that they should have a region with a shopping area that shared space with Second Life brands and entertainers.

      That way, they would become part of the community, rather than a stand offish corporation.

      I think there could very well be a great opportunity for the most talented virtual creators to make some money if Project Sansar takes off, it would be silly for the big companies to ignore the talent that already exists.

      Thanks for your very interesting and constructive comment, you make some great points.

    2. I doubt RL brands would care much about how many 1 Dollar sweaters they sell in Linden Lab their virtual world. It is pathetic money for them even if they would generate 4000 US$ a month in sales or even in a week.

      At most a RL brand would use Second Life or Sansar as a promo event like some have tried in the past.

      Fact: Mention the name Linden Lab to large companies such as BMW or IBM or Intel and they will frown.

      Fact: Any RL brand does not need any potential software Linden Lab will come up with because these days there are plenty of tools available to create virtual experiences for clients and give easy access to this.

      Let me give you an example:

      click and you are there in your browser. It is possible to just put in avatars so you can walk around. Do you need Linden Lab for this? Not at all it is easy to make using Unity with html5 export. Quality is super.
      The cost is really low because you are hosting a webpage.

      Companies can spam potential customers using google adwords and then link them directly to their virtual experience.

      Unless Linden Lab comes up with a very unique place nobody ever saw and overwhelmes the world like what did happen with Second Life I do not see the need for yet another virtual world platform with user created content even if it is more polished.

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