A lot has changed since the early 2000s. Probably the most noticeable change is the massive advancement in technology. We went from flip phones and PlayStation 2 to smartphones and VR headsets. Now Mark Zuckerberg and former Facebook, now Meta, are taking on the new frontier of virtual reality and online role-playing. However, online roleplaying through large multiplayer simulation games continues to and has happened before. One of the biggest and once most popular online virtual worlds is Second Life.
What Was Second Life?
Second Life is a 3D online game / digital world that launched in 2003. By 2013 it had captured the eyes and minds of nearly one million active users. Since then the number of users had declined but almost everyone remembers when Second Life was popular. In Second Life, players could create their own avatar, have their own business, interact with other people and places, form relationships, trade property, and most importantly, build and create. This game was in a lot of ways a literal second life for many people. Sometimes people would spend whole days living in their virtual life instead of outside in their real life.
Why is Second Life Still Relevant in 2022?
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) like Second Life still have many active players today. Now with Meta introducing its own version of an MMORPG, it only makes sense that we look back on what the invention of Second Life introduced to society and draw conclusions about what this means for Metaverse and the future of virtual gaming.
Will Facebook's Metaverse Become the New Second Life?
There have been many recent advancements in technology and the digital economy that have bolstered the idea among many companies of creating a new virtual world. With the crypto market, NFTs, and the pandemic precluding everyone to the security of their homes it's no wonder that monopolistic companies like Meta have decided that profiting in the physical world is not enough and have now set out to profit in a digital one.
Facebook has already infiltrated the lives of nearly everyone on earth. Social media has been used to win elections, spread propaganda and show an already fake or manufactured version of ourselves. In Second Life, users were free to build, create and say almost everything they wanted. In the outer realms of the game, there was little to no copyright infringement and Second Life really could be better than some people's real lives, that's why the game was so popular and has so many loyal users.
If the Metaverse is nothing more than that of a corporate space whose rules are determined by companies and not people, then it will be more similar to our real lives than Second Life. Thus, the Metaverse won't be a new Second Life, it will be a virtual shell of the life the western world has now.
When Will the Metaverse Be Available for Access?
Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse is years away from being the full-fledged perfect virtual reality wold it is planning to be. However, certain aspects of the Metaverse, like modeling 3D figures, will be available on the Oculus platform to all companies by 2023. Look for future development updates to the Metaverse over the next 2-3 years.
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