Second Life’s creator is returning to advise the original metaverse company

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The creators of the earliest and most enduringly iconic virtual worlds are returning to their roots. Second Life founder Philip Rosedale will rejoin the company he founded in 1999 as a strategic advisor high FidelityRosedale, the spatial audio company he co-founded in 2013, invested in Linden Lab, developer of Second Life. The deal includes an unspecified cash investment, relevant patents and some members of its development team.

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“No one has come close to building a virtual world like Second Life,” Rosedale said in a press release. “Big Tech is giving away VR headsets and building the Metaverse on its ad-driven, behavior-modification platform to create a magical, single digital utopia for not-all. Second Life has made both a positive, enriching experience for its residents. Have managed to create – with millions more people to join – and have built a thriving membership-based business at the same time. Virtual worlds don’t have to be dystopias.”

As companies like Meta launch their own approaches to the metaverse, Rosedale remains a vocal critic of some of the dynamics that underpin the current era of online life, from ad-based social networks to the environmental impact of energy. Huh. bitcoin mining operations,


While some Roblox users are older than a passing acquaintance with Second Life, if so, Rosedale’s virtual social platform has pioneered a number of concepts that have recently been promoted under the umbrella of “the metaverse.” Second Life traces the notions of digital identities, virtual real estate, digital economy and online multiplayer ecosystems to the early 2000s, when Facebook only existed to connect students at elite universities.

According to the company, Rosedale is already in communication with Linden Lab’s executive chairman Brad Oberweger, but the new advisory role will significantly deepen his involvement in the platform’s product plans. And High Fidelity’s current work remains extremely relevant to Second Life’s Second Life: several social platforms have recently added spatial audio to create more immersive experiences, and some of them, such as Clubhouse, have adapted to High Fidelity’s code. License to close.

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“Ever since Philipp launched Second Life in 1999, its visionary approach has not only stood the test of time, but has prepared it for the future,” Oberweger said. “He and the High Fidelity team have unmatched experience and I can’t wait to capitalize on the huge opportunity before us.”

With Rosedale back in the fold, it looks like the Lyndon Lab is interested in tapping into that early mover magic. But Second Life has a long way to go for it to return to relevance. Fortnite-makers Epic, Roblox, Meta and myriad other major companies are betting big on the near future (or arguably the present, whoever you ask) of virtual worlds populated by digital identities with endless flashy virtual goods on offer. Rosedale’s own approach is unlikely to mimic the glimpse into the metaverse that some platforms now offer, so it will be interesting to see someone who has been thinking about these issues for over twenty years imagines a virtual world. That companies are suddenly so eager we’re all moving in.

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