2008 Predictions

7:17 pm child avatars, economy, forecast, last names, software development

Everyone else is doing it. And, NWN has set a deadline of midnight tonight for our official predictions for SL 2008. Naturally, my 10 predictions focus around what I know best: the child avatar community, last names, software development, and virtual finance. Hey! The convergence makes total sense, to me. .
I’ll start with the three headline-style predictions cross-posted over at NWN:

1. A RL celebrity will sue for the rights to use their own real first and last name on Second Life, which someone in Second Life has already reserved months or years ago either on purpose or by coincidence. If the settlement is reached within the year, then the outcome will be that the defendant will have to give up the name but can keep the avatar.

2. A major virtual stock exchange, perhaps The World Stock Exchange (WSE) will close or will be shut down. Customers will lose money. It will re-invent itself in another form, in a move widely seen as a way to avoid paying liabilities associated with this failure.

3. There will be a significant change to the “Community Standards” document. Specifically, section 5 will be significantly changed or removed.

5. Indecency
Second Life is an adult community, but Mature material is not necessarily appropriate in all areas (see Global Standards below). Content, communication, or behavior which involves intense language or expletives, nudity or sexual content, the depiction of sex or violence, or anything else broadly offensive must be contained within private land in areas rated Mature (M). Names of Residents, objects, places and groups are broadly viewable in Second Life directories and on the Second Life website, and must adhere to PG guidelines.

4. Child avatar boy and girl shapes and outfits will be added to Library available to new users, or a 3rd-party registration portal that includes such shapes or specifically markets to adults wishing to join a community centered around child and family simulation will emerge.

5. Total residents will not exceed 16million. Refers to http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy_stats.php Number of users logged-in in the previous 30 days will continue to hover around 1million, its current average for the last six months, until next summer, when it will take-off to 1.25million by the end of the year. It will not exceed 1.5 million. Or, the way the statistics are calculated will change in an intractable way.

6. New last names available for new accounts will be released sporadically in 4 batches of 150 to 500, for a total of 1200 new last names available to the general public. This includes last names exclusively provided by alternative registration portals as long as they are open to the public.

7. Very few mainland regions will be released. LL will not return to auctioning new mainland regions until Q2. It is difficult to find statistics about mainland supply. But, supposing such statistics are available, however many regions were added to the Mainland in 2007, only half that number will be added to the Mainland in 2008.

8. The distance between the world of Second Life and the Second Life Grid technology behind it will increase. Linden Lab the company will remain attached to the technology side of the equation, but will divest itself of the community and end-users even further than it has already. At minimum, it will outsource all aspects of end-user support. At maximum, LL will completely sell off the main grid to another company, or a subsidiary, and license the software to it.

9. This will be the year of intellectual property in Second Life. My specific prediction is that a patent will be issued on a virtual invention. This will not be a patent on virtual world software or the underlying platform, as we have seen here already in application form, here. Rather than a concept or broad technology, it will be a specific gadget, perhaps a very popular HUD with enough revenue to make the costs worthwhile, created by an end-user. Subsequently, a company will be established that pumps out patents on virtual inventions. Some things that will be patented will be widely considered obvious or trivial among veteran SL developers, but current patent officers won’t have the background to discern this. At least one major patent on a virtual gadget will be contested publicly or in court. The opponent will cite prior art or triviality. Thus, a functioning IP system pertaining to inventions in a virtual world will be established.

10. There will be a breakthrough in technology that allows integration of 2D and 3D internet. For example, there might be a Second Life plug-in for Firefox.

7 Responses
  1. Benjamin Duranske :

    Date: January 2, 2008 @ 17:19

    Really good thought on the celebrity lawsuit — I like that one. Re: patents, have you noticed the language in the SL TOS? It is brutal on patent rights.

  2. Adz :

    Date: January 4, 2008 @ 02:30

    Benjamin, oh wow I didn’t know about that clause in the ToS. That explains alot. I wonder if it is enforceable. It seems quite oppressive.

  3. Adz :

    Date: January 10, 2008 @ 12:46

    I can’t help but comment on this… my prediction #2 … its pretty close to having come true already. Its too early to make an official announcement but, man, it sure is on track.

    And, Wagner James Au of New World Notes has selected my prediction #3 among 9 others for his event, Future Vote: Select Three Second Life Predictions for 2008!

  4. Adz :

    Date: January 24, 2008 @ 08:54

    Just popping in again to note that out of the ten 2008 predictions New World Notes offered to a general vote among its readers, my prediction #3 about the Community Standards document was chosen for third place! I posted a comment, which I’ve cross-posted, below.

    In its original form I predicted
    3. There will be a significant change to the “Community Standards” document. Specifically, section 5 will be significantly changed or removed.

    There is a major inconsistency in this section. On the one hand, it says “broadly offensive must be contained within private land in areas rated Mature (M).” Those of us familiar with the basics of logic quickly spot the implication, that broadly offensive content is allowed. On the other hand, several posts on the Linden Blog have made statements that contradict this. First to mind is “Keeping us safe together” (http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/05/31/keeping-second-life-safe-together/) by the ex-Linden Daniel which states, “…[long list of stuff], and other broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life.” He does not specify a region designation restriction. Robin Lindens lovingly nicknamed, “dob your neighbor” post also seems to contradict this part of the CS.
    LL will move to make one consistent with the other. Its just too glaring of an inconsistency to ignore. How are we the faithful users of Second Life supposed to live by the rules if we don’t know what they are!

    Posted by: Adz Childs | Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 05:48 AM

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