It’s pretty easy: Become a consultant/studio who provides services that get First Life companies onto Second Life.
I say this because it’s about the only way I see to actually be profitable off the site/game/world. The guys at Linden Labs (the company behind Second Life, or SL as they call it) are possibly the best hype-masters I’ve ever seen. For example, today their partner Universal Pictures issued a press release with the title “‘Smokin’ Aces: Second Life Assassin’ Game Proves an Unprecedented Hit in Virtual World.” Unprecedented Hit, eh? There isn’t a single stat of any kind in the release text – no usage, performance, subscribers, etc. Nothing.
I’ve watched two main themes emerge on SL in the past two weeks:
- “Tech leaders” think Second Life could be a “gold mine” (discussion: BlackRimGlasses, CNNMoney)
- Second Life is a pyramid scheme (discussion: ValleyWag, Capitalism 2.0, Duncan Riley)
I also enjoyed Mathew Ingram’s and Webomatica’s thoughts on SL and these issues. All stats below come from one of these or the above sources.
Now I don’t know if it’s a game or a world, and I don’t much care. I know I believe the ~100,000 users number more than I do the 2,000,000 users number. But fundamentally it doesn’t matter to me. When clients come to me to ask my opinion on SL, I just don’t want them spending money on it today. When I see companies like ShowTime launch a show property in SL (congrats to Akela, a former LD blogger!), I don’t understand how they cost-justify it.
Today, like it or not, SL is a small number of people enjoying their free reign in a fantasy world. They are, for the most part, very technically savvy. There’s a lot of gaming, gambling, and sex in SL. When I read there’s a Second Life millionnaire, I want to see that person actually cash out before I get excited. I’ve seen virtual press conferences and read about someone finding a job there. That’s nice.
The bottom line is there are few users and it’s a very narrow niche. Furthermore, in order to get in as a big company, you have to be willing to invest a lot of money, since it requires a very specific skill-set. While some might say “sounds like 1995 and the Web all over again” I point out one quick difference: when new users try Second Life, most do not return. The same was simply not the case 12 years ago.
So, want to take advantage of the Second Life “gold mine”? Jump on the bandwagon and ride the gravy train as long as you can. That is, until the pyramid begins to crumble…
I’d like to check in as one of those “few” who have tried Second Life only to go back to First Life. It’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but I had to wonder how you would actually “live” in this world? Do these users not have jobs, bills, etc. in their “real life?”
It’s a great idea, really it is. Kinda like targeted ads in video games and selling stuff in World of Warcraft. I’m sure you can make money in there, but is it really worth the investment?
I agree that a fortune can be made on consulting to old world companies on how to build inside of second life, but disagree with JT about the users of Second Life. First of all, you have to have logged in at least once and talked to people before you can make a comment about who is in this environment. You might be right, but it’s the same as the press release from Universal — no facts.
My first life rules, but I’ve logged in to check out SL after seeing Phillip (v. impressive) speak at the Long Now foundation. The people I ran into weren’t very tech saavy. I had to explain to one woman the difference between their IM vs. Chat (Private versus public conversations … sounds naughty, but it wasn’t).
Second Life presents a myriad of opportunities for training, conferences, collaboration and creative outlet. It may not be SL that wins (if one metaverse does actually win) but it’d be short-sited to dismiss it as a geek’s paradise with nothing else to offer.
Good post. Like any investments in the first life, there’s risk. And no biggie, but the links to Mathew Ingram and Webomatica point to Ducan O’Riley.
Ron – not sure about your ‘no facts’ comment – I think it is fair to assume from my content that there are generalizations in the writing. Also, while it does provide opportunities, it’s important to really weigh the value of these things. Sure, doing a “virtual” training could make a lot of sense for a company.
I stated in my post I am recommending against it from the perspective of “spending money on it” – keep in mind that most of my clients want help on Internet/viral marketing work, and this is the area I am advising them in. With so much FUD regarding all the new-tech “Web 2.0” stuff, it’s very hard for most companies to evaluate all the options. I also never said “geek’s paradise” – I said “narrow niche.” A geek’s paradise would be a great place to invest marketing dollars…
Webomatica – thanks, fixed the links.
I agree with some of the comments about more to do in real life than second life. But with over 2 million people there it has got to be possible to make money. I have just entered as a newbee my intention to have a good luck round. My fortay is advertising so once I get used to going round I am going to have a good go a making money. Keep an eye on my blog http://www.newbeeinsecondlife.blogspot.com >
All the economics of being in Second Life aside, my observation is that Linden Labs does not have either the physical capacity or the technical know how to keep Second Life up and running.
At only 20,000 logons, users are plagued with extremely slow response times, crashes, and lost L$, inventory and things they’ve built. Unless the technical issues are sorted out, Second Life will self destruct.
The overwhelming problem is the freedom that is unchecked by any simulation of real-world restraints. When I can buy a scarf for 60 (simulated) dollars and yet can fly and teleport for free (not to mention build a skyscraper, if I own a pittance of property) the lack of balance looms large.
Not to sound overly prudish, but to be approached for simulated deviant sex within minutes of first logging on is a bit off-putting. Certainly people participate in these less-than-savory SL activities in real life, but those activities carry real responsibility, real consequence. Unfortunately, consequence is hardly ever modeled in SL.
Second Life needs more restrictions, more rules and more sense. For the most part, it’s just a noisy place to chat. To truly be the place that most people desire in a second life, it’s got to grow up instead of out.
Anything that exists in real life can be simulated in VR with enough work and programming, therefore:
Quote: The overwhelming problem is the freedom that is unchecked by any simulation of real-world restraints. When I can buy a scarf for 60 (simulated) dollars and yet can fly and teleport for free (not to mention build a skyscraper, if I own a pittance of property) the lack of balance looms large.
A) The whole idea of the virtual reality is to leave behind things which DO constrain us in real life, I.E gravity
B) There have been more than 6,000,000 people sign up, with 1,500,000 logging in over the past month
C) People WILL and DO pay such an amount for a virtual and inconsequential items because not everyone possesses the skill required to create thier own accessories in-game, and seriously, for your $1US when you get back about $300 in game it really is peanuts to pay to have some fun
Quote: Not to sound overly prudish, but to be approached for simulated deviant sex within minutes of first logging on is a bit off-putting. Certainly people participate in these less-than-savory SL activities in real life, but those activities carry real responsibility, real consequence. Unfortunately, consequence is hardly ever modeled in SL.
You have enetered a “mature” area anyway – it clearly states that it is X-rated on the island introduction screen. Hence, it is your own fault for being approached in such a way.
I suspect that’s thereason general public want to read blog….Internet visitors generally create blogs to declare themselves or their secret views. Blog grant them same matter on the monitor screen what they specifically needed,so as the above stuffs declared it.
Personally, I think SL is the best thing to happen since sliced bread. I think the login numbers are not being represented properly however. If you divide the monthly login number by 30 for days, and then by 2 for day and night, the resulting number will be the people online now, over a 24 hour period. So the way I see it, only about 60,000 regulars and newbies (many of which will not be able to adapt to the environment because they are tech savvy enough) account for the “1.5 million”.
As far as which virtual environment wins, they will all connect at some point in the future, as soon as the correct software is developed, and as technology can handle such bandwidth number crunching.
Hi…Please can you help me to learn more how to make money out of Second life…I live in Athens Greece…Thanks
I find this conversation very interesting so I can’t help but add my 2-cents…
I’ve been playing Second Life for about 7 months now and In that time I’ve managed to use my game-making scripting skills to make a wide verity of products in SL. The scripting system isn’t too hard once you learn the commands and the building aspect has been made pretty easy to learn (learned most of it within first week of playing). I also became a manager for a mall at once point which helped “bring in the dough”. I can honestly say i’ve been averaging cashing out for about $200 a month (give or take) for the last 3 months. And yes that is REAL cash. It more then pays for my internet bill so yeah, i’d say it’s worth it not only cause it helps pay the bills but I ENJOY PLAYING A GAME which is really what it’s about. Who in the world can honestly say they’d rather play a game with a totally fake money system compared to one that you can turn into real money to make it worth your time playing?
In the end it all comes down to, would you have fun while playing? If you answered yes, why not make some real cash while doing it?
Oh and did I mention I have yet to pay SL a cent out of my own pocket? I’m still on a totally free account. I am thinking of paying monthly so I can one day own and manage my own mall for 100% of the profit instead however.
Second life is not a cash cow. Here’s why. Yamil Dagger says, “I can honestly say i’ve been averaging cashing out for about $200 a month (give or take) for the last 3 months.” This is after 1 week of training (i.e. his first week in SL trying to figure out how to build). Plus, building takes time and being in SL takes time.
Let’s compare that to getting a job in RL at McDonalds at minimum wage in the US. Keep in mind that a job at McDonalds is not the kind of job that people think of as a good money making job. There is not much training, and at $5.25/hr you would be making more than $200 your first week before taxes. Even if you include taxes, you are still making about 3 or 4 times as much money working at McDonalds than you would be in SL.
This is where David is wrong when he says, “The overwhelming problem is the freedom that is unchecked by any simulation of real-world restraints.” The thing is, if you want results in the real world (such as making money) the best way to do that is to live in the real world. If you want to live a fantasy life where you can ask anonymous strangers for sex, teleport and fly, then SL is a better place to do that than real life.
I have built a few things, and played with SL myself. But it crashes a lot on my laptop and even when it didn’t crash on my older machine, I noticed it tended to have a lot of lag. I could buy a new computer so that SL is less likely to crash. But is it worth it? Just to have an online fantasy life?
i joind second life and its nothing but spend spend spend ,its a money pit , i just bought land juat over 8000m2 and whish to god i hadnt ,im broke and its a waste of time ,do yourself a favour ,leave second life to the people with no real life !
I have been playing SL for almost 3 years now and make a living playing the game. In 2008 I made $52,000 USD yes real cash dollars in my bank account. Last week i made over $1000 and i logged in only once. Thats the great thing about SL once you make a product you have unlimited copies to sell and you dont have to be online to sell them. I am also friends with and have done business with a few people that have made millions of dollars in the game. It is possible for anyone to make money in SL and yes it is worth the time investment I will explain.
First off let me say that if you want to make a living off the game you need to be skilled at one or all of these 3 things: Scripting, Art/Design, or a very skilled business man.
It is possible to make a few hundred per week without these skills by selling products for other makers on commission but theres a limit to what you can make. Even then you still need some business skills. The reason why is even if you have tons of great stuff to sell you need to have customers. A business needs a good place to sell its products with a consitant amount of traffic, they also need to advertise. The reason to there being a limit to your profit with this type of business is for one you only get a percent of the profit from every sale usually 25 to 50% max. Second most people will visit the original makers store, and third is that hundreds of other people are also selling that makers stuff on commission like you so you have to compete with them too.
So if you want to make a lot of money playing this game you have to make and sell your own products. Since making a product involves an artisic design, scripting or both you need those skills. These skills can take years to develope. If your already a good artist or scripter then your good if not start practicing.
Since almost every person in SL tries to start a business and most will fail the best products to sell are products that people use in businesses. I will list some of the most profitable products sold in second life. The reason i know they are very profitable is because i sell them or someone i know does. Some of these products require you to invest in programs that can cost a lot of money.
-Sculpted Prims (3D objects)
-Skins & shapes (Avatar upgrades)
-Programs that help designers make there products.
anything usefull or cool people will buy.
Well thats all the info i have for any newbie thinking about starting a business in second life. Good luck 🙂