I paid a visit to Linden Lab's website today (basically I was lost on the Second Life website looking for a link to the grid status page) and, to my surprise, I found four new projects sharing equal billing with Second Life: Patterns, Creatorverse, dio and Versu (Living Stories).
Call me stupid, but after reading through the descriptions of each of these, I had a very serious "what the hell are they thinking" moment. Then after playing with dio (was it named after Ronnie James Dio??) and looking at the others more in-depth, my feelings of doom, despair, defeat and dread only grew.
Dio, it seems to me, is nothing more than a do-it-yourself, point & click version of the old computer text game, Colossal Cave Adventure. I wasn't old enough at the time to know about or play Colossal Cave, but I've read enough references to it that I think I'm safe in saying that dio seems like much the same thing. Which begs the question, why? Why cobble up a full beta site for a game concept that's 40-years old? Why put resources into it? Where did this silly idea come from? And they're going to use ad revenue to drive it? Is the target audience 60-something bookworms?
Next up, Versu. OMG boring. I do a lot of writing for a living but the thought of doing interactive stories on an iPad totally underwhelms me. If I'm going to write something, I'm going to use something with a real keyboard. If I'm going to read something on a tablet, it's going to be a real book by a real author. Or I'm going to be browsing Coldwater Creek or Zappos. I can think of 100's of things to do on a tablet before I'd consider something like Versu. :P
Creatorverse - on multiple platforms no less. So you get to put cartoony, 2D shapes and things in motion and watch them do shit? Woohoo! Sign me up Rodvik! I guess it's kind of like Flash for the unskilled. Well the unskilled part fits me but exactly what am I supposed to do with something I create? Show my friends? "Hey Justin, check out this cool rocket I made on my iPhone! Can we get married now?" "Lookie here Flo! I made a happy pink poodle out of circles that runs in place. Isn't she cute?" I mean seriously Lindens? This creates revenue?
And finally Patterns. Make your own giant canyon or mountain that looks like a crazy quilt and walk or fly around it. Gosh, where do I sign up? Oh hmmm. Maybe at www.SecondLife.com where the mountains you make actually look real and not like something in a Torley Linden nightmare.
All this seems like a grasping at nonexistent straws if you ask me. (Well you didn't really ask so I'm telling you.) Maybe some of my blog readers can tell me the silver linings or paths forward in these ventures. Is this sort of creative direction coming from Rodvik Humble or further down the food chain? I welcome your comments!