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Oct Oyen

Remedies to declining SL?

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"SL is dying" is nothing new for those of us who have been around for while. That being said, I'm a bit worry about its steadily declining stats. These days I hardly encounter real new residents who are less than two years old, it's mostly people who joined SL during the hype era and their shinny alts or days old residents who are lost and confused. Is SL suffering from Facebook syndrome? i.e. current state of SL just doesn't appeal to new generations. If that's the case, then LL should be very worry about the declining stats.

I hope to get the conversation started before it's too late. What are things LL can do to retain new residents? IMO, SL is a sandbox game. It's also a huge and complex world. It would be very helpful for LL to create a comprehensive how-to video tutorials.  For building stuff, starting with inworld prims and then move on to open-source software like Blender and Gimp. Like Torley Linden used to do, whatever happen to him? His vids aren't on LL Youtube channel. Tutorial vids on LL channels are piece-mealed together from different authors on various topics. A coherent and comprehensive bite-size tutorials can be a good guide for new comers. This is my suggestion from builders point of view.

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I'm going to guess you haven't bothered to look at the multitude of  tutorials that exist (ETA: created by countless sl residents, and a huge amount of them are pretty decent, plus there are countless websites with "how to" stuff too, also created by residents). Trust me, LL doesn't need to make them, nor should they. Most LL employees don't actually seem to know the things that would be in tutorials themselves, they surely couldn't create a "how to" anything, lol. While that seems like an insult, for the vast majority of LL employees, it may well be that it's not their job to know the how to stuff, so they wouldn't. We may not LIKE that to be the case, and we may think they should know more, but without knowing the remainder of their responsibilities, we can't say what they all *should do*. That said, LL does need more employees more familiar with not only their audience, but also their target audience (for future signups) and what it's like to actually function in sl on a daily basis. Some employees have that, a lot don't seem to though. Whether or not that's by design, I can't tell, but if it is, that's a really bad design choice, lol.

The only thing I think LL could do better, and I say only because this is all encompassing and covers pretty much everything, is LISTEN. If they chose to listen to us more than attempt to squash ideas, they'd do pretty damn good. There would still be issues, still be problems, but, they wouldn't SEEM insurmountable. None of them actually are insurmountable, but to the residents they probably seem that way when LL fails to listen to jack all. There's actually a thread in the merchants forum(which I haven't yet read today, so I am going on the assumption that this change remains as it did when they made it) which perfectly exemplifies LL defiant attitude towards LISTENING. It's not the employees fault, they are, after all, saying what they are told to say, offering words they can of their own volition, but remaining within the confines of their respective positions and responsibilities, so I get that entirely. But this particular change is one that NO ONE WANTS, including the people LL seems to believe it would assist, lol. It's not the first time, it won't be the last, but it's a really good example of what LL actually needs to promote growth and continued retention of current users. This really is their biggest fault, at the moment anyway, but of course along with listening also comes taking people seriously, taking ideas that are only half thought through and improving them, etc...None of which can ever take place if LL doesn't (and this is going to be very, very blunt), sit down and shut up.  Residents know more about SL than LL does, it stands to reason that among the crap ideas, there's bound to be way more awesome, good, successful, efficient, etc.. ones. But, gotta get LL to get out of their own heads and into our heads, which can only be done by sitting down, shutting up and listening. 

Edited by Tari Landar
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Hey Oct! Good to see you here. 

1 hour ago, Oct Oyen said:

These days I hardly encounter real new residents who are less than two years old,

It's been ages since we chatted and in that time I've expanded my SL adventures to include moderating in the Maitreya Lara Friends group, and I can tell you we see new residents in chat asking for help with their newly purchased Maitreya body all the time. So not only are they here but they are making the leap into avatar customization and embracing mesh body parts.

 

1 hour ago, Oct Oyen said:

Like Torley Linden used to do, whatever happen to him? His vids aren't on LL Youtube channel.

Torley is very active in Sansar these days. I had the pleasure to meet and get to know him during my days in Sansar. His SL video tutorials are still available in YouTube. All I had to do was search "Torley Linden turtorials"  on YouTube and this came up:

torley.thumb.png.69a6d72f3634b00664099926aa4bfcd7.png

He has a lot of subscribers and 920 videos. I can tell you I have used Torley's videos myself many, many, many times. In fact, over in Sansar I begged him to start making tutorials for Sansar and he did! :D 

But as others have said there are lots and lots of great videos made by the residents. I am linking tutorials all the time in the MLF group as well as referring people to the many help groups in SL. I think you just need an avenue where you can be accessible to new arrivals and then you'd have a different experience than you are currently experiencing.

Edited by Blush Bravin

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Interesting that so many people are convinced that they know best how to change SL to make it better, but maybe better for them would just drive away the people that use it now. SL has fewer users  because it has moved past the trendy fad stage, that is never coming back because SL will never again be the next new  thing, because it isn't new anymore. Personally I think its  fine just like it is.

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You, the OP,  might want to look at the official year end update here: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2461-second-life-end-of-year-update-wrapping-up-2018-what%E2%80%99s-next-for-2019/

 

Which has included in the info a chart showing very much a STEADY concurrency.  

 

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Sl has retention issues

Linden labs cant do anything about it however only the residents can. Personally I have a stash of links that help newbies for free stuff. If I see them and I am not busy I will im them and welcome them to sl and offer them links and if I am really not busy even offer them a short tutorial in all things sl and take them to see some things after finding out what interests them. I dont regard it as being an altruist I merely regard it as being in my best interests to help people join in

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You are all losers! .. Who wants to be a loser like you?  << Is that what SL outsiders are thinking?

I spend an inordinate number of hours per week logged into Second Life, but nobody I know in the real world knows that I do that. Perhaps a few here and there to whom I've mentioned it to in the past, but I could count them on my thumbs. I never talk about SL in RL. It's as if it's my dirty little secret, almost embarrassing to mention. 

Second Life, in my opinion, outside of itself and its associated peripheral existences on fora, blogs, Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook etc.  is considered naff and untrendy by the outsiders. At least that's how I've begun to feel for a number of years. A game to which only lonely people with no real life gravitate and sexual perverts lurk in order to get their thrills and fulfil abnormal desires.

Because the attraction of Second Life is not easily explained to outsiders makes it an easy target for mocking, for the reasons mentioned above. This often makes me wonder if I am alone in keeping my dirty little secret to myself out there in the real world, in order not to be labelled a loser.

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I've not been actively participating in SL for some times. Each time I come back from months long break, I notice the world feels a little more emptier. SL has been steady, steadily declining as its own chart shows. Anyways, I have no stake in the game. Just hate to see it goes.

Hello Blush, it has been ages. I'm glad to hear you're keeping yourself busy. It's a good news that text based VR still appeal to some of young generations. Consider almost the entire generation practically lives in social medias that have popped up the last few years.

 

 

Untitled-1.png

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SL needs a reboot. Not a Sansar reboot but an SL reboot. Some might say that SL has already made a huge leap in the past few years. Everything made out of prims and system avatars have changed to mesh produced with outside programs. That's quite a sea change. The problem still remains that SL is too complicated. There are just too many mouse clicks needed to do things. There are a lot of tutorials but a good design needs to be intuitive. The mesh rebirth seems to show that SL can survive a reboot. This idea needs something more though. It needs all the building tools to be built into the viewer again. An easy to use 3d -creation tool built into SL with animation, sound and scripting. I think that's asking a bit much of LL though. 

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All things online wane over time, very few things if any have ever retained its initial numbers of users. It is just the nature of how online things work. Look at most AAA console games after a couple of years the total player base drops drastically for some games. Same will happen to sl and is natural that it will. People change over time, they grow up and their likes and dislikes and their social interaction needs/wants change. Nothing stays the same forever.

The chart you show is typical of almost any online environment numbers rise and lower depending upon the seasons and holidays, and peoples rl and what time they have to be online. there is nothing that can be really done to prevent this. People will come and go. You cannot make someone like something or keep coming back if it just is not for them, and sl is not for everyone and never was or will be either no matter how it was ever hyped to be so.

Some of it requires too many other skills that most people are not going to invest the time to learn. Not everyone wants to learn how to write a script to make something happen, not everyone wants to learn to build to have the things they want, not everyone wants to have to spend rl money on virtual items to have that only exist in a virtual world. just these things alone can turn many people away from sl. add in the different viewer and the time and effort to make it look how you might want it, setting all the preferences, or finding and using a tpv that you would like. add in the general rudeness of people in some area's even at the welcome areas at times. all of these things can cause a user to become jaded or disenchanted with the sl experience and not want to stay or come back after a while.

I haven't even logged in the world in nearly a week or longer. I find less reason and less draw to do so as each day passes. Not even animesh or baked on mesh had any appeal or draw to me. And I used to write and make mod's for other games(NWN and NWN online and Tribes to name a few). I even had made a Dream for furcadia a long time ago. But as I have grown older there is less joy and less reason to do this anymore. And that is why the numbers drop. People become bored and disinterested in things and leave them. No game or social platform can ever hold the attention or likes or provide everything that everyone will ever want in life; when it begins to fail to do so, people move on, that is how life works.

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Wait. The younger generations don’t have Facebook? Am I Old now? Have I hit my prime? IS THIS THE TELLTALE SIGN.  :/ 

 

*adjusts her bifocals* Much like @Candice LittleBoots, nobody in RL knows I play SL (aside from my husband). It’s MINE and I’m not willingly to share it with somebody I know. 

LL is less than likely to make something easier if it results in a loss of money/income. The billions of linden that pass through the linden bank each day are (at this point) enough to keep things from being a snap of the fingers. Like anything in this new technology age, there are many  tutorials. LL also has a feature now that you have to do a series of tests before you can get off Welcome Island to be sure that you know what you’re doing. 

SL isn’t a piece of cake, and that’s also the beauty of it. If it were easy peasy, why would so many of us continue to stick around?

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I don't think there's any way to get it back to what it was; as a previous poster said, it'll never be the new zeitgeisty thing any more and the world around us is very different now.

I joined SL in 2007. I'm not technical and it took me quite a while to figure out how things worked. But it was still a new and original enough idea to keep me trying and exploring even though I hadn't a clue what I was doing. My av looked truly dreadful for quite a long time (I hadn't figured out about skins and shapes and was trying to do everything with sliders and colours - did I mention I'm not technical?) but nobody was rude and initially I had no interest in cybersex so I didn't really care.

At the time my life was very different and I had a lot of time to spend inworld, which I think is key. SL does require quite a time commitment if you're going to get something significant out of it, especially if you're new and trying to learn the ropes. And especially now with mesh because Christ, my last mortgage was less complicated than this system. I've had a couple of users be snarky on the forums when I said it's complicated, but I know I'm not the only one who struggles with it (I'm not technical - did I mention that?). I've had plenty of conversations inworld about it and the number of calls for help in the mesh body/head groups plus the number of tutorials online about it prove that a lot of people have the same trouble. For my part, even after I thought I'd worked it out, my HUD disappeared, when I finally got it back by unboxing it again it disappeared again, then I couldn't remove it, and right now my legs and stomach are poking through my mesh clothes even though they should be set to invisible according to the HUD. I've decided I DGAF right now and I'm walking around looking like a rubbish wannabe 80s punk.

So anyway. I now have a lot less time to spend inworld, which for me is very much a good thing, and most of my friends' lives moved on too. The recession passed and a lot of people who had been struggling with work got RL jobs that limit inworld time (definitely a good thing). SL always had a learning curve and now with mesh it's much, much steeper. No way on earth I'd stick around if I hadn't been here before, mesh is beautiful but a royal pain in the bum. Agree with PP who said SL is considered naff and unsexy now; even when it was relevant enough for The Register to report on, its nickname was Sadville. (Which is funny, to be fair.)

Anyway, all this brings me to the trouble of "remedying" SL. Those of us who had the time back then often haven't got it now. It's not zeitgeisty; if anything, it's very dated despite all the very talented builders and scripters. There was always a bit of snobbery about "noob" looks, but now that people are expected to get to grip with mesh (which does look terrific) before they're taken seriously, the learning curve is perpendicular and will put a lot of people off. Social media, gaming and mobile have truly taken off and changed the landscape around SL. 

I don't think there's anything we can do to "remedy" it because it's clearly never going to be what it was, and maybe that's a good thing because it could come at the cost of progress. Mesh is an arse, but it's progress. I guess it's just going to change its nature and perhaps become a more exclusive place that is more for technical people who can build, script and figure out how to control their mesh HUDs without their bums hanging out their jeans. That doesn't make it worse, by many people's standards it would be better. Just different.

Would be lovely to see roleplaying back to its heyday but I guess nothing lasts forever.

Edited by Amina Sopwith
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5 hours ago, Candice LittleBoots said:

You are all losers! .. Who wants to be a loser like you?  << Is that what SL outsiders are thinking?

Yes. Press coverage in recent years:

  • "The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future" - The Atlantic (2017). "Second Life is no longer the thing you joke about; it’s the thing you haven’t bothered to joke about for years."

  • "First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia" - Wired (2017). "Yet some communities have quietly continued to thrive in the virtual world. One of these is the disability community, a sundry group whose members include people who are blind or deaf, people with emotional handicaps such as autism and PTSD, and people with conditions that limit their mobility, such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. There are no official tallies of their numbers, but Wagner James Au, who has written extensively about Second Life, estimates they may account for roughly 20 percent of users. Some active members estimate the number higher — at as much as 50 percent."

  • "Virtual world provides a real-life haven for the disabled" - Los Angeles Times (2018) "UC Irvine anthropology professor Tom Boellstorff ...  published a book, “Coming of Age in Second Life,” and then turned his focus to the disabled, who make up 40% to 60% of the game’s population."

That's most of the mainstream press coverage in the last two years.

 

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2 minutes ago, animats said:

Yes. Press coverage in recent years:

  • "The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future" - The Atlantic (2017). "Second Life is no longer the thing you joke about; it’s the thing you haven’t bothered to joke about for years."

  • "First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia" - Wired (2017). "Yet some communities have quietly continued to thrive in the virtual world. One of these is the disability community, a sundry group whose members include people who are blind or deaf, people with emotional handicaps such as autism and PTSD, and people with conditions that limit their mobility, such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. There are no official tallies of their numbers, but Wagner James Au, who has written extensively about Second Life, estimates they may account for roughly 20 percent of users. Some active members estimate the number higher — at as much as 50 percent."

  • "Virtual world provides a real-life haven for the disabled" - Los Angeles Times (2018) "UC Irvine anthropology professor Tom Boellstorff ...  published a book, “Coming of Age in Second Life,” and then turned his focus to the disabled, who make up 40% to 60% of the game’s population."

That's most of the mainstream press coverage in the last two years.

 

Yeah. Even in its heyday, it wasn't considered mainstream cool. Quirky at best. I remember reading articles in national dailies about it in which the authors berated themselves for finding it in any way intriguing. One journalist, on being told that her avatar was too nooby, wrote something like, "I can't believe it, some part of me actually cares." Plus The Register always referred to it as Sadville. It got a slightly better ride in some of the gaming/technical press but that wasn't for a mainstream audience. 
 

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Another thought...last time I was very engaged in SL, it was not at all unusual for people to vanish and, when I checked their profiles, to see something along the lines of, "Due to recent events I have made the decision to leave SL", "I cannot stand the drama and fakes here any more, goodbye SL", "Farewell SL, the one who broke my heart knows who they are" and so on. Or something like, "I think I've found the one in RL, goodbye SL", which was much nicer to see. I also had a few friends who felt that SL had encroached too much upon their RL, they were worried about their addiction or it was killing their RL relationship, and jacked it in for that reason. I think that also accounted for the ongoing exodus we've seen in the years since its prime. A lot of people who were highly involved at the peak will have had experiences like that and not wanted to come back. (When my RL moved on, I definitely thought it was time to focus solely on that for a bit. I wasn't really happy about the amount of time I'd spent on a screen.)

And if they did come back, it's likely they'll find it either too different or too underpopulated to provide whatever they were looking for, and not stay. 

The more I think about it, the more I think that if SL is to "recover", if it requires that, it'll just have to appeal to a new audience. The old one isn't coming back in any significant volume. Perhaps this means a more exclusive and technical user base. 

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9 hours ago, Candice LittleBoots said:

You are all losers! .. Who wants to be a loser like you?  << Is that what SL outsiders are thinking?

I spend an inordinate number of hours per week logged into Second Life, but nobody I know in the real world knows that I do that. Perhaps a few here and there to whom I've mentioned it to in the past, but I could count them on my thumbs. I never talk about SL in RL. It's as if it's my dirty little secret, almost embarrassing to mention. 

Second Life, in my opinion, outside of itself and its associated peripheral existences on fora, blogs, Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook etc.  is considered naff and untrendy by the outsiders. At least that's how I've begun to feel for a number of years. A game to which only lonely people with no real life gravitate and sexual perverts lurk in order to get their thrills and fulfil abnormal desires.

Because the attraction of Second Life is not easily explained to outsiders makes it an easy target for mocking, for the reasons mentioned above. This often makes me wonder if I am alone in keeping my dirty little secret to myself out there in the real world, in order not to be labelled a loser.

You are not alone Candice. My family just wouldn't get it, so it's my personal indulgence, my personal relaxation lounge.

Who cares if it isn't trendy. I probably wouldn't be here if it was "trendy"..............:)

 

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Without the kind people here from this forum, who have repeatedly and generously been there for me while i learn everything there is to know, I never would have stayed beyond the first day. That's a fact.

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Ultimately we are all in sl to communicate , when there must be at least one full sim for every user its not exactly easy to find someone to communicate with . The destination guide is the most useful feature for a newbie because it shows places to go where you might actually find someone else . People not places make SL and i would love to see the destination guide expanded so we can seek others of similar interests instead of being herded into specific regions .

I spent 17 months wandering , the search facility is useless , so i click on peoples profiles and tp to their picks - sometimes - just sometimes the sim in their picks actually still exists , though you could probably build a house in the middle of the dancefloor and nobody would notice for months .

What i'm saying is SL is to big , if you book a hall that holds 1000 people for a party of 20 its never going to be a great party .

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11 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

You, the OP,  might want to look at the official year end update here: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2461-second-life-end-of-year-update-wrapping-up-2018-what%E2%80%99s-next-for-2019/

 

Which has included in the info a chart showing very much a STEADY concurrency.  

I think many long-term SL residents forget how extraordinary it is that SL has survived at all over the last 15 years, let alone had such a consistent playerbase over such a length of time. It's not quite unique, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of games (sandbox or otherwise) that have survived and thrived for so long. SL is a rare and special thing that has long outlived any reasonable life expectancy.

11 hours ago, KanryDrago said:

Sl has retention issues

So does every single online game, sandbox or world out there. Once you're out of the launch honeymoon phase, more standard games will have a <1% retention rate to 30 days. You really think that someone as unconventional as SL is going to do better than that? There isn't some magical alternate reality in which any online world or game retains the majority of its signups, that's pure fantasy.

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2 hours ago, McCuno said:

Ultimately we are all in sl to communicate

What i'm saying is SL is to big ,

to the first... depends.. not all all here to have a replacement for FB or whatever social app, SL is not only that, many users never visit a club or social events. And to be honest... a small club with 10/20 visitors that come all the time is a lot more fun than the absurd 60+ clubs where you not even can walk, talk and dance by all the lag and floating bodyparts.

i think SL is not too big, it is wat it became by it's users. All private regions and also quite some mainland regions have paying landlords. And a lot of smaller parts of mainland is owned by other premium members. The amount of abandoned mainland was in 2017 21% i think it's quite less now because of the higher free levels of tier in premium memberships.
2/3 of all regions is private owned, only 1/3 is Linden land, so even the abandoned land is a real problem it's only 20% from a 3th of the total.

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I believe there's a threshold point, once daily concurrency falls below it. The decline will accelerate exponentially until it bottoms out, if it doesn't bottom through it. It is my hope to get the conversation started and try out different approaches before we hit the threshold point.

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From looking at the graph, the decline seems to have leveled off some time ago. I wouldn't say "SL is dying" it seems to be in a state of inertia seeing as the graph has pretty much flattened. That line of thinking is a bit chicken-littleish. A drop of 30,000 people is nothing to sneeze at. At the same time if you go back to 2010 the "Golden Age" of SL, you can chalk those 30,000 people to being lookie-loos. There was quite a bit of buzz about SL back then, compared to the coverage it gets now, its minimal.

The last exposure I'm aware of is the link between the movie Ready Player One, which when you think about it wasn't a bad plan since the author probably modeled the Oasis after SL. Too bad the movie flopped though because it would've been a good way to renew interest.

The first thing that needs to happen is SL needs to give people a better reason for being here. If you think about what's possible, it sounds awesome. Thing is, it doesn't really do a good job of keeping people here. Social? Ok....it can be social, but then you can go spend hours on here and not meet a soul. That's....not going to keep people here. Gaming? Ok....sure, you can play zombies or go bowling or whatever. It just....doesn't quite scratch that gaming itch either. Being creative? Sure, you can create things. Just about any way there is to create something, takes you out of SL. Going back to 2010 if you went to a sandbox, you'd be bound to run into someone making something. If you go now, you're just as likely to see someone making something as getting attacked by giant phalluses. You want to work with mesh, you're in blender or maya. You want to work with appliers? You're in PS or Gimp. SL becomes secondary. SL shouldn't be secondary, you should be able to do all of these things natively in SL but as it stands, you really can't. That's not good.

The only way for SL to come out of the inertia is it needs to reconnect with the social and creative element. It'll rustle some jimmies, but Gaming should also have some consideration after some improvments have been made to the social and creative aspects of SL. Whatever LL decides to do, it's not going to make everybody happy. It should definitely focus on the social and creative side of things next.

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5 hours ago, McCuno said:

the search facility is useless

SL searches like it's 1999. LL could fix that. Search is a standard web site component. Google used to offer Google Site Search to do this sort of thing, but that disappeared in 2017. There are alternatives available.

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