Monday, 29 November 2010

Second Life Web Browser Beta

Screenshot of SL on web client BETA

















I happened to see the Linden Lab blog announcement yesterday asking people to help them beta test the web browser client they want to release for Second Life. (my experience is detailed in the last half of this post)

A web browser client is what  IMVU uses and the last time I looked IMVU had 140,000 people logged in.

I love IMVU as a business concept but not as an alternative to Second Life.

Unless you actually enjoy cartoon avatars and cell shaded graphics IMVU is kind of lame on the face if it, realism is not a feature.
But IMVU is doing very well indeed.

As I posted a few months back, I love the way IMVU has been set up, how it navigates users to the Market place and encouraged us to spend money or earn credits by doing simple but good things like verifying their ID and age or verifying their email for example. (you know,  things that SL has allowed people to get away with for years)

Another thing, unlike SL not just anyone can be a content developer (that's what they call them over there) You have to be a VIP (premium/paid for) member to be able to create and sell content.
You also have to electronically sign a contract which clearly explains about copyright violation and the consequences if you breach someones copyright. (education is key)

Yep, they had their heads screwed on at IMVU when they thought about cash flow. Shame the actual platform sucks, I logged in once and it is the total opposite to SL,  really lame ass avatars, very anime.

Anime Type Avatars IMVU





This look will appeal to many Asian game players I am sure, but I don't know, it just doesn't sit well with me for a number of reasons.

I don't want to look like I am 12,  I run a business and I don't even like being referred to by my stupid SL name , LillyBeth Filth which is why I tend to include my real name in a lot of publications and in world communications.

How can anyone be taken seriously as a business owner in SL with names like Buttercup Trixibell?

Perhaps more importantly IMVU like SL,  has an adult area but with IMVU you have to pay for a "pass" to have access to adult themed areas.

I am not sure what "adult" means in IMVU but I don't think it means streaming porn.  I just think it means you can swear and talk like, well, an adult.

But with "adult" comes sex and whether you like it or not, sex is part of the online territory period. Chat rooms and online games alike all attract adults looking for something a bit stronger than swapping cooking recipes.

Now, we all know that sex happens in SL and by sex I mean avatar sex or "The Simpsons Sex"

It's more like soft porn than anything but it happens, we all know it happens and apparently sex is the biggest cash spinner in SL just as it is on the internet. Sex sells, we all know that.

But you apply that to IMVU and then take a look at those cute avatars above and its just wrong on so many levels. Anyway, regardless of my opinion, they have bucket loads of members (140k!)

This leads me back to the SL web browser client I beta tested last night.

Lets cover the basics first.
The first picture in this post shows your typical ocean shore scene in SL. Nothing new there then,  but the important thing to realise is the speed at which textures and in game assets appeared which was lightning fast.

When I logged in with beta, I landed on some main land, normally if I even attempt to visit main land in SL I am rubber banding and getting trapped in buildings that had not rezzed at the point of me flying into them, the whole business is an absolute nightmare. (I have an iMac with 50 megs of bandwidth so nothing wrong with my PC or internet speed)
Because of this, I avoid main land as much as I can these days and I really do pity those people who rent or own a piece of main land.

But with the web browser client, LAG was not much of an issue, certainly nothing like how it would be normally and I could see things from a distance too,  I could navigate smoothly and with some speed.
In short, even on a beta client it was clearly better than the current system which is great news, of course.

But what excites me is something I don't think everyone really understands and that is by running SL on a web browser it means Linden Labs can start to advertise again and start pulling in more users, something they haven't been able to do for a long time.

I read a few of the comments from SL users in response to the blog announcement and as usual the moaners were aplenty.
One person was moaning about how Linden Labs should "advertise more like IMVU do and get more people into SL!!" They totally miss the whole point of the bloody post!

Second Life cannot handle more than 70K logged on at the same time, the grid is already laggy and choppy and that is exactly why Linden Labs are "trapped" and can't promote SL too much.

The current client is too taxing on the servers and this is precisely why they are wanting to move to a web browser client (like IMVU) so they can advertise and increase population, increase in world spending, increase brand recognition, increase positive user experience, this is a good thing!

My only regret is I suspect they had to see the success of IMVU before it occurred to them to do follow suit.
This "coulda shoulda" been done 2 years ago, but hey, that's hindsight for you.

Also, there is a red button at the top which says "Full Access" I assume this means that like IMVU, people will have free access to some of the places in SL but not all. That means if you want "full access" you have to pay. Again, good idea and a system that IMVU uses and it clearly works for them.

Anyway, there are a few more screenshots at the bottom of this post, they don't really show anything "new" they just show that textures are loaded well and you will just have to take my word that it really was much faster and smoother than the current client.
Or see if you can test it yourself by clicking this link: http://interest.secondlife.com/beta

Note - The beta wouldn't work for me on a Firefox browser but it did work on a Safari. It also picked up on the fact I was running a mac computer too and I am from the UK.
The reason why I mention this is because there was a lot of bitching and moaning in the comments about how unfair it was that people who weren't from the US couldn't test it  *groan*

I just wanted to clarify it has nothing to do with bloody geographical locations.

Because it's only a beta, I am assuming they have made it compatible for a specific set of "specifics"
Your gender, country of origin, colour of skin and colour of underwear you are currently wearing has not been a deciding factor when they released the beta client.

Second Life Web Browser beta Screenshot 2
Second Life Web Browser beta Screenshot 3





Second Life Web Browser beta Screenshot 3

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