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Linden Lab's New CEO

BK Linden


I’m happy to announce some very exciting news today: Rod Humble is Linden Lab’s new CEO. Our press release is here. You’ll hear from Rod himself after he starts in mid-January, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a brief introduction.

Rod has an impressive depth of experience in developing and leading fun, immersive entertainment experiences that have been great successes. As a 20-year veteran of game development, he’s worked on more than 200 games, and last year, the gaming magazine Edge named him #2 on their annual list of Hot 100 Game Developers. Rod is coming to Linden Lab from Electronic Arts, where he was Executive Vice President and led EA Play, including the best-selling PC game franchise of all time, The Sims. Prior to EA, he was a VP of Product Development at Sony Online Entertainment, where he led the EverQuest Studio.

Rod has a deep appreciation for what makes Second Life special. He’s already been exploring and experimenting inworld to familiarize himself with the pluses and minuses of our product and the successes and challenges faced by our Residents. He’ll officially start at the Lab in mid-January, and I’m excited for us to begin 2011 with fresh perspective, renewed energy, and creativity.

To give you a sense for Rod’s creativity, personality, and perspective, here are few links to his personal creations and a couple of press interviews he’s given:

Art games Rod has created in his ‘spare’ time:

Press interviews with Rod:

Happy holidays to you all from Linden Lab! We wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year -- it’s going to be a great one for Second Life!

Rod's bio:

Rod Humble is Chief Executive Officer at Linden Lab, and he leads the company’s strategy and the development of Second Life. Humble’s 20-year career in the game development industry has included work on more than 200 games. He joined Linden Lab from Electronic Arts, where, in his role as Executive Vice President, he led the EA Play label, which includes the best-selling PC game franchise of all time, The Sims. In 2009, he was ranked #2 on the annual list of the Hot 100 Game Developers from gaming publication Edge. Prior to his work at Electronic Arts, Humble served as Vice President of Product Development at Sony Online Entertainment for the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) EverQuest.


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According to our friends at Merriam-Webster, "game" is an English word derived from a mediaeval German word meaning "amusement".  Certainly Second Life is amusing.  "Game" can mean either (1) an open-ended pastime or (2) a structured competition within narrow rules leading to a pre-ordained outcome.

The beauty of SL is, I think, in its LACK of mandated structure, which has permitted enormous variety and creativity.  It is a world, populated by imaginative people, not just a game, and that's what sets SL above and apart from most "games".  Like Real Life, SL evolves, sometimes in fascinating ways.

Many of us take SL quite seriously.  Just ask the business person who earns real income here, or the disabled person who is able to have rewarding social relationships.  Or the wonderfully creative artists who make SL beautiful.  Or the hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens of the world, who conduct a meaningful part of their daily lives here, interacting with real friends.

To think of SL only as a "game" in the stricter sense of the word would be sadly limiting.

In any case, welcome to Second Life, Mr. Humble.  You're certainly "game" to tackle this job.  It's a daunting task to digest SL in a few short weeks, and LL and SL may prove spirited horses to ride, but I wish you good luck, and will await your ideas with a positive and receptive attitude.

Welcome, and my best wishes to you, and to all of my fellow residents of SL, as we enter the brave new world of 2011.

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Welcome. I'll add my 2 cents worth:

- Lower monthly land tiers to motivate the population to return and provide incentive to remain: Its a dead out there compared to what it used to be a couple years back. No point in owning land when there isn't anyone one coming by.

- Listen to the residents because we spend lots of time in world- we know whats going on.

Good Luck

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I worry that what SL really needs is some organisation. A good managing director in the meaning of the words. Events listing still aren't replying to tickets after MONTHS and businesses trying to operate in SL are still hung out to dry.

Inverness City, Urquhart, Augustus, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy sims are excellent examples of how real business is trying to exploit SL to the benefit of everyone, yet, even with 5 sims, no one gives a damn about our problems or listens to what we need or wish to discuss.

THAT needs to change and only good management with specific objectives will ever achieve that, not the chaotic, uncommunicative, and downright childish attitudes you are walking into.

Good luck

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Welcome Rod,

As far as leaving things alone, I hope not. The prices are way too high. I have been pondering giving up for a while. I pay a tier payment to somebody that has 6 sims and he has been considering giving it up too. I agree with the educational aspect and there are many non-profits that can benefit as well. With the prices so high I see people giving up all the time. When I explore I see empty shops everywhere. Sometimes there are sims with just a couple of merchants and many many empty buildings. SL has the potential to be even more awesome. I admit I have tried other grids and virtual worlds and SL is the best, however it is also very expensive. I would have given up months ago, because of the cost, if it were not for the people in my group helping to pay. I am sure there are many that feel the same way.

On a more positive note, I have seen many great creators that have low prices and lots of gifts. I have seen people pull together to help keep myself and others going, simply because they appreciate what is being done. I have a lot of hope of improvements and accomplishments.

Thanks Rod for answering the call,

Katrinaceleste Bravin

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Hi Rod

Welcome to SL and a very happy New Year. I wish you well in your new role as CEO, and hope you have the vision to push SL forward.

With the virtual economy in almost as bad a state as the real one, there will be many challenges ahead, I do not envy you the problems you will need to face and overcome. The only advice I can give you is to listen to your customers, both basic and premium, unlike many "games" basic accounts can inject a lot of real money into the economy. There are some obvious issues I am sure you are aware of, I can list some here:

Support is far worse then before, for basic users pretty much non-existent, I understand the need to cut costs, but it is very poor PR.

Increasing sales in the marketplace are good for some creators, however that leads to a decline in inworld shopping, meaning virtual Malls are closing. Those malls support a wide variety of good content, it they go so does the reason for some to login.

Non-profits policy, may be worth reviewing this, but I do agree the old GC invoicing system was a nightmare for LL and the customers so needed replacing

Land value has fallen to an all time low, sometimes it is not even possible to give it away. with large amounts of abandoned and derelict land, this is bad for everyone LL included. Possible ideas to reverse the trend are to review tier pricing, halt new land creation, offer incentives to high traffic sims, review the free homes for premium policy. To an extent the value of your virtual land is the value of secondlife, so important.

Clarify what is happening with merging the teen grid, many are not even aware of this change yet.

Viewer v2 was very unpopular with the majority of heavy users, still is. If you can see a way to correct this it will make youself very popular instantly.

Separating usernames from display names means that your displayed identity is no longer unique or permanent. This is a problem in a virtual economy and makes identity theft possible for the first time in SLs history. I can see the attraction of being able to change your name, and why it was done, but the current free for all is likely to cause issues. A suggestion, why not let users change their display name for a small fee, that reduces its appeal to those who might abuse it, and even gives LL some much needed income. Win win as far as I can see.

Good luck with the challenge, lets hope for an amazing 2011

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Congratulations, Rod!

I believe SL has huge potential for writers and illustrators, as well as for those learning to write and illustrate. I've bought/sold land, learned how to build, rented, launched a shop for writers, hosted a learning centre for children's book writers and illustrators, and am now working on ways to help writers and illustrators to promote themselves in RL using SL.

I look forward to learning more about your vision for Second Life.

Inkygirl Omizu

a.k.a. Debbie Ridpath Ohi in RL

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Well met Rod, happy to have someone with your depth of understanding and foresight to see the ultimate potential of this virtual world.  All the best on your endeavors and Happy New Year to SL, may 2011 be a banner year for us all.

Hugen Ocello, CEO Imagine Magazine

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Yeah, am I the only one not impressed? Personally I think they could have done better than some EA exec. I'm not holding my breath on this CEO decision either. Second Life jumped the shark a long time ago. It has lost it's soul, and will never regain what made it fun an interesting. But hey, I'll still gank money from the economy, that's all SL is good for anymore anyway. Oops, did I say that out loud?

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Is SL a game?

What right does anyone have to tell anyone else what they believe something is or isn't.  I would like to tell those ppl straight out that as long as I am paying the bill for my "experience" it isn't any of their business what I percieve SL to be.

Is SL a game to some;  YES

Is SL a business to some; YES

Is SL a marketing tool to some; YES

Is SL an undefied entity to some; YES

As far as I am concerned SL is ANYTHING that the USER wishes it to be.  Until LL/EA decide to make a change; to that open ended experience;  SL simply "is what it is;  UNIQUE".


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What do you mean 'it sucks'? What right does anyone have to tell anyone else what they believe something is or isn't.

Sorry, i'm just playing games with you. Couldn't help myself

The kids were already here. There was no ID check. It's all just a smoke and mirrors play to allow the lab to show numbers that inflate the grid size and population a little in the next report.

It don't change a thang.

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Everything I have ready and watched about Rod is contrary to him just turning it into a "Game". He is into being "creative" and I have the impression that creativity is more important to him that turning it into a game. I am also willing ot venture that he has used SL himself and is quite aware of the dynamics.

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It about time that someone with the knowledge creativity and a vision came on board. SL has lost it's way over the last couple of years.  I tried SIMS 3 and found it entertaining, but always was thinking if some of that experience could be put in SL it would be great! 

All the best in 2011!

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Welcome Rod,


I hope you have a good job, second life is much more than a game, is where we put our hearts ....


Good luck my friend

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Welcome Rod,

  Let us sincerely hope that you do not continue your predecessor's penchant for driving older creators out, in the hopes that they will build "open life" for you.....

  One OUTSTANDING place to start is to get rid of that damn viewer 2.  You have an 80% disapproval rating on that thing and when it becomes mandatory (in a few months) you are going to have a good 90% population on 3rd party viewers or gone.  Myself, will NOT go to open life to build it for you, we are not stupid out here.

  A lot of the new improvements can be incorporated into the old interface, as is aptly demonstrated by the third party viewers.......  I hope that you have a bit better business sense than the last CEO, I would hate to see a wonderful place bite the dust.

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Well Rod, it is a bit of a concern to me that no one is exactly lamenting and tearing their shirts at your departure over at the Sims Online. One criticism is that you took an open ended 'sandbox' experience that people very much enjoyed and made it task/quest orientated, and the other is that you didn't listen to the users. Hoping you don't repeat those patterns in your management of SL.

In regard to the ill fated Viewer 2 that is scary news from Smoke that it could become mandatory. Why not licence the most successful viewer  'Phoenix ' , soon to develop to another level in Firestorm, and start with a proven success? Or just let Third party viewers continue and let us vote with our feet as we are doing now conclusively.

Here is an interesting extract from an article I found online at The Metaverse Journal. Author Lowell Cremorne dated December 31, 2010

Virtual worlds predictions for 2011

1. Second Life

It’s fair to say that Linden Lab had a mixed year during 2010 with Second Life. 2011 is likely to be even more turbulent. I’m not going to fence sit on this one too much: the next 12 months will see Linden Lab finally sold to a big tech player based in the US. Whether it’s bought out or not, expect some more significant user-interface improvements but an overall decline in number of hours in-world per user. That decline will be driven primarily by diffusion as dedicated content creators, educators and long-term residents increasingly spread out to OpenSim grids, Blue Mars etc . Second Life might see an increase in concurrency, coming from the more casual / social users attracted by an easier to use interface. That seems to be Linden Lab’s strategy anyway. Oh – and legally compliant gambling will be provided in-world by Linden Lab.

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Vryl, Thank you so much for posting this link.

I LoVe the things he had to say about games vs. toys; SL is Not a game. The residents of Second Life are ReaL PeoPle and this video made me have a lil more faith that Humble just may understand this and make the residents lives even better =) 

Thoughts become things, choose the good ones !

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