Some may not have realised that social-oriented virtual worlds have actually long existed before Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to place a big yet risky bet into his metaverse vision. One of which is Second Life, which has been running for 20 or so years now, with an estimated 62.8 thousand users logging in daily according to MMOstats. Now, it’s been recently announced that the virtual world will soon expand to mobile platforms for the very first time.
This is revealed by Second Life developer Linden Labs through a four and a half minute long video shared on its community forum, showcasing an early build of the mobile version. Unlike the Havok-powered desktop variant, the virtual world’s portable counterpart is instead developed in the Unity engine, which is said to simplify the work of releasing and maintaining the app on multiple platforms. On that note, Second Life Mobile is planned to be available for both smartphones and tablets that run on iOS and Android, with a beta version slated to launch sometime later this year.
As noted by the developers, what’s shown is still a work in progress and may not reflect the finalised product when it releases. Linden Lab added that even though certain compromises had to be made for the port, it still hopes to bring most of the experience from the desktop variant over to mobile. In essence, the latter is aimed at allowing users to log in and enjoy all of Second Life’s offerings via a smartphone or tablet at anytime and anywhere.
For the uninitiated, Linden Lab’s virtual world first launched in 2003, introducing a sandbox virtual online environment that allowed users to create their own digital avatars, items, and even worlds. Second Life also uses its own currency, known as the Linden dollar, which can be used to buy, rent or trade virtual lands, goods, as well as in-world services. Users can purchase the currency with real life money based on the current exchange rate, while those who earn a surplus of Linden Dollars earned through the platform may opt to exchange them back through Paypal.
It’s also worth noting that Linden Lab also worked on a VR-based successor to Second Life called Sansar, but decided to halt the project entirely and sold the rights off. So far, one of the few platforms utilising this particular technology is none other than Meta’s Horizon Worlds, which is believed to be a stepping stone to the much grander metaverse concept that its CEO and founder is hoping to achieve one day.
(Source: Second Life [official forum], via Arstechnica)
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