Space Ramblings

Second Life Boom Goes Bust

Odeus’ Third Law of Technodynamics says that the more clueless a company is about the whole future shock ball of wax that comes when accelerating technological change meets decelerating brand value and smacks it in the face, the faster they will randomly and clueless try to hop on board whatever trend their CEO’s read about in the morning paper.

Witness the sudden Second Life boom when companies tripped all over each other to open up points of presence in Second Life. Now Second Life was basically The Sims with worse graphics, more Furries and other perverts and an atmosphere of utter pointlessness. Think of The Palace taking itself way too seriously and that was Second Life. Much like a septuagenarian surfer, Second Life managed to ride the hype wave long enough to convince companies like Reuters which should have known better to jump on board. Press conferences were suddenly being held in Second Life. Product releases were inexplicably happening in Second Life.

And then the same companies began realizing that if they had just spent the same amount of money on flyers and dropped them from the sky, they would have managed a far better return on their money. And then they began to leave.

The key problem of course was that the premise of placing stores in Second Life was itself mostly senseless. People do not play games in order to visit stores. Female themed stores like American Apparel might have had a limited amount of play with teenage girls for whom shopping is indeed a social activity but for most people it is not.

Trying to turn Second Life into a mall rather failed to explain why people would want to come to these stores in the first place and indeed once the initial excitement had worn off, it turned out that they didn’t.

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