Back in December 2015 I wrote; Project Sansar Won’t Eat Second Life. I still hold that view. A major bone of contention, that is still being raised today, was the probably infamous cannibalisation comment from Ebbe Altberg :
Yes, so this is the cannibalisation effect. It’s obviously real; and all I can say to that is, it’s better it’s us than someone else. Because it’s going to be someone, some day. and so we’ve decided it has to be us. It is a complex thing, and we want to make sure that we make it easy for users. Because in the beginning, Sansar might look all shiny and whatnot, but it’s not going to have the level of complexity and sophistication of Second Life, that’s been developed for almost 15 years now. It will take time for a lot of the things that you all love and do in Second Life to be something that you could completely do in Sansar.
Now something that gets somewhat overlooked here is that the cannibalisation comment was prompted by a question, which suggested that the team running Sansar have an interest in cannibalising Second Life.
Another point to note is that Linden Lab have launched Sansar and it’s fair to say that it looks shiny but very definitely lacks the complexity of Second Life at this moment in time.
My early observations of Sansar also back up another of my beliefs regarding Sansar, it’s a different product, with some overlap, that will likely attract a different audience to Second Life. This isn’t just because of the technical differences, it’s also because of the format. Second Life is a virtual world, Sansar is a set of virtual experiences and with Sansar, the experience comes first, whereas in Second Life, it’s the virtual world that comes first.
I see Sansar more as a hybrid of something like Unity 3D and Second Life. People will create experiences in Sansar and be happily and blissfully unaware of what else is going on in other Sansar experiences.
There’s a market for this sort of format because some people turned their noses up at Second Life because it was hard to avoid some of the other conent. Sansar has plans to give people the opportunity to launch a Sansar experience from a website, so the focus will be on the experience running on Sansar, rather than how it works in Second Life whereby you find something within Second Life.
Those who prefer the discovery a virtual world offers, are familiar with the tools that allow them to avoid content they may not want to encounter and enjoy a large virtual world will still be able to enjoy Second Life and Linden Lab are well aware that there’s a market for that too, hence why they have recently blogged : Celebrating 14 Years of SL with Investments in Its Future.
Linden Lab have been putting more resources into Sansar than Second Life recently, they said they would be doing this and as Sansar is a new product, that’s not unexpected. I would expect Linden Lab to continue to pour more resources into Sansar as it finds its feet.
That doesn’t mean that Second Life is being neglected, that there’s no progress and that there’s no future for Second Life.
I will be honest, I’ve enjoyed having a look around Sansar. I’ve been impressed with the facial animations and the technology involved there thanks to companies such as Speech Graphics.
I don’t have a VR headset but I enjoy seeing the animations they produce on those people who do use a VR headset within Sansar, even the quirks when arms go to places they really shouldn’t be going to.
I’ve also enjoyed going to some Sansar meetups, joining in the conversation and meeting people from Second Life, High Fidelity and even new people.
Sansar is in creator beta and it very much shows, it’s far from the finished article but that’s also part of the fun, being able to look at the platform now and then sit back and watch how it evolves.
I’m also still enjoying Second Life. One obvious issue of spending time in Sansar is that I spend less time in Second Life. That’s a time management issue, I also end up juggling time trying to watch box sets, read books, blog, read blogs, play games, do home stuff, work and fitting in time to go to the pub.
There are of course priorities and this weekend I’ll be set a high priority on going to the pub rather than virtual world meetings because going to the pub is still a very important social experience.
I really don’t see Sansar cannibalising Second Life any time soon and if it does start to look like that then I suggest that we eat cannibals, they’re incredible, they bring out the animal in us, we’ll eat cannibals to ruin a few lines from Toto Coelo.
I’ll end this post by saying that I feel Second Life will be around for quite a while yet, I hope Sansar is a success and I hope we can all merrily go about our virtual world business in a bright future.
Here are a couple of videos from Draxtor Despres, one with a Second Life creator and one with a Sansar creator, they both demonstrate creativity, hope and most importantly, fun.