Sansar Springs Closer

Sansar Screenshot 2

Linden Lab’s Sansar is said to be heading for an Open Beta spring release, this has been exemplified by a new video (which I will embed at the end of this post) and a slew of articles on the subject.

The articles show some of the hopes, aspirations and excitement surrounding Sansar. We also see that some people appreciate the work done by Linden Lab and its community when it comes to Second Life, as well as pointing out that Second Life got some things wrong.

Ben Lang over at Road To VR writes : New ‘Sansar’ Video Glimpses More Virtual Worlds Made on the Social VR Platform. The article starts with Second Life, which is a very good place to start :

There’s no denying that Linden Lab did some things right with Second Life, a $500 million GDP in 2016 is a testament to that. But they also did some things wrong, even Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg will admit.

“Between the Creator and the Consumer, Second Life never really settled on which was our primary customer,” Altberg told Road to VR in an interview at the company’s San Francisco headquarters in January.

The article also touches upon something that will feel different to Second Life users, which the eagle eyed may notice in the video. Visting Sansar experiences looks like it will be a case of visiting individual experiences, in a similar manner to High Fidelity and back in the day, Cloud Party.

Unlike with Second Life, the Linden Lab is shifting away from having a single massive virtual world, choosing instead to set itself up as an enabler of creators by making Sansar a platform, rather than an all encompassing virtual landscape.

This will feel different to Second Life users initially, but a lot of Second Life is already similar to this model with Islands that can only be reached via teleport. The lack of a contiguous mainland may disappoint but I’m sure people will soon get over that if the experiences are engaging.

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Sansar Marketplace And Sansar Dollars Set For Debut

Project Sansar Concept Art

Linden Lab’s Sansar (formerly known as Project Sansar) has hit the new year running with press reports of a new round of creator invites, a Sansar Marketplace, news of monetisation with the introduction of the Sansar dollar and a video giving a sneak preview of Sansar which appears to have been produced and directed by Draxtor Despres of The Drax Files : World Makers fame. I will embed the video near the bottom of this post.

Dean Takahashi over at VentureBeat reports : Linden Lab debuts marketplace for Sansar VR world. The article informs us that Sansar will allow creators who are already in Sansar to buy and sell content from today. Ebbe Altberg makes an appearance in the article :

This sets the tone and shows creators they will monetize what they create on day one, when we open our doors,” Altberg said. “The buying and selling will get them comfortable with the new platform.

Those of us who are familiar with Second Life will not be surprised to learn that the Sansar Dollar will work in a similar way to the Linden Dollar, with Sansar Dollars being used for purchases and then redeemed for a US dollar to Sansar Dollar exchange rate. Linden Lab will take a cut of these currency transactions, as they do with the Linden Dollar.

The currency and sales transaction fees are likely to be higher than Second Life because the aim with Sansar is for hosting fees to be much lower than they are in Second Life. The VentureBeat article again turns to Ebbe Altberg for further information :

We want it to be low enough that it does not add unnecessary friction to the economy,” Altberg said. “But we do want to get a piece of the GDP and then make the hosting fees for Sansar as low as possible. We charged quite a bit for the hosting fees in Second Life and didn’t have a consumption tax to take part of the GDP. So now we will balance the hosting fees and the consumption fees in the economy.

There’s plenty more to read in the VentureBeat article and I highly recommend that you read it if Sansar interests you. There’s also an article about Sansar by Kevin Carbotte over at Tom’s Hardware : Linden Lab Introduces Sansar Monetization System, Reveals First Video Footage. This article includes an interview with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg and Gray of the Lab from San Francisco (AKA Peter Gray, Senior Director of Global Communications at Linden Lab).

Pete Linden at VWBPE 2015

The above is a picture of Peter Gray in Second Life, I have no idea how he looks in Sansar!

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Virtual Reality And Virtual Worlds Should Pay Attention To Older Participants

At the Game Developer’s Conference 2016 Professor Bob De Schutter of Applied Game Design at Miami University, gave an excellent presentation : Beyond Ageism: Designing Meaningful Games for an Older Audience.

Now you may be thinking that virtual worlds are not games, they aren’t, but they contain games and the mechanics of accessing virtual worlds are game like. The presentation Professor Bob De Schutter makes has themes that apply to virtual worlds too and platform providers as well as content creators would do well to pay heed to what he says.

That’s before we get to the sort of games older people play. Professor Bob De Schutter presented research from Quantic Foundry regarding the games people over 50 play. The top three, by gender :

Women over 50

  1. FarmVille
  2. Glitch
  3. Second Life

Men over 50

  1. Railroad Tycoon
  2. Second Life
  3. Microsoft Solitaire

This tells us that a certain virtual world that many of us are familiar with is popular amongst over 50’s. Many of us already knew that Second Life was popular amongst a more mature audience. Plenty of over 50’s also inhabit the likes of OpenSim, High Fidelity and more.

Now, as virtual worlds have an older crowd, the rest of the presentation makes for interesting viewing, it covers issues such as accessibility, ageism and the fact that older gamers want to be challenged, not patronised.

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SH//FT – A Non-Profit Organisation Aimed At Sponsoring Underrepresented Groups In VR And More

Hamlet Au over at New World Notes published an article regarding SH//FT : VR Industry Leaders Launch Pro-Diversity Non-Profit SHIIFT.

This prompted me to take a closer look at SH//FT, where I discovered that SH//FT is :

a non-profit organization that partners with industry leaders in emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality to sponsor and create opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Helen Situ, who is behind this also has a Medium Post about this in which she explains more :

But I’ve noticed something unsettling. There are very few women in virtual reality.

To whoever is reading this, I’m sure that wherever you work, it’s true that the majority of your coworkers are male. In the tech industry, women only represent less than 20% of the workforce. We need to change this.

I’m really a fan of “Whomever” for some bizarre reason, but that’s not important right now! More women in tech and VR is important. I have taken a look at this subject before : Women Probably Don’t Want To Feel All Alone On A Crowded VR Island.

There is, without any shadow of a doubt, a shocking lack of women in tech and we really need to address the reasons why as we move boldly on to the brave new world of VR. I’ve worked in tech for many moons, I’ve worked in tech for many moons in an education environment too and there you see the shocking lack of women in the classroom too.

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Last Few Hours To Comment On DMCA Via US Government Website

The US government have been inviting comments regarding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and how it works. The comment period has been extended until 11:59pm Eastern Time today, you can see more here.

The main document describing the reasons for comments is Requests for Public Comments: Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor Provisions. Comments are closed there, but as I said the commenting period has been extended, so follow the first link if you want to comment. The main document however is summarised as :

The United States Copyright Office is undertaking a public study to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions contained in 17 U.S.C. 512. Among other issues, the Office will consider the costs and burdens of the notice-and-takedown process on large- and small-scale copyright owners, online service providers, and the general public. The Office will also review how successfully section 512 addresses online infringement and protects against improper takedown notices. To aid in this effort, and to provide thorough assistance to Congress, the Office is seeking public input on a number of key questions.

This should be of interest to Second Life and other virtual world content creators, although I suspect it’s intended for an American audience, being an American law being discussed on an Amercian Government website. The results of this discussion however, are going to be of interest to content creators worldwide.

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