Second Life creator Philip Rosedale has cast his doubts over Facebook’s plans to create its own metaverse.
In a recent interview with Axios, the Rosedale spoke about his doubts over future attempts to build a metaverse and the questions that still remain over the digital spaces.
Rosedale somewhat pioneered the idea of a playable metaverse with Second Life, an online platform that saw players create avatars and take up residence in a virtual world. Those visiting Second Life did so for a number of reasons – whether that be on a smaller scale to socialize with friends and check out the surroundings or at a more in-depth level by taking up jobs as performers, politicians, or teachers. There was certainly plenty to keep people occupied.
Rosedale founded Linden Labs in 1999, where he worked until 2013. During that time, Second Life became an increasingly popular way to live digitally. Over the years, a huge number of people engaged with the platform, which peaked at over a million users, even leading the Swedish government to set up an embassy within the platform.
Having worked for the best part of two decades on the concept, Rosedale explains how his views on the concept have changed over time. “I think what we’ve learned — and somewhat with some sadness, given the work that I’ve done, I would have to agree — is that it’s not for everybody, and maybe it’s never for everybody,” he says.
As part of the interview, Rosedale spoke about the draw of the metaverse at the time stating that there was a belief that, “inevitably we would all spend an increasingly large fraction of our lives in a virtual world.” Despite the game’s popularity, however, the creator highlights a number of lessons that he’s learned from his time with Second Life.
According to Rosedale, despite Second Life granting the freedom for people to escape reality and live altered lives in a digital setting, people didn’t generally want to spend long periods in it. The creator cites that people felt uncomfortable controlling avatar versions of themselves and communicating that way with others.
Rosedale says that a number of those factors are still yet to be answered by newer companies like Meta, who are looking to build toward new versions of a metaverse. “There still arises this weighty question of what is it that’s going to cause, you know, normal people, a lot of the time, to be willing to go into these online spaces,” he says. “And I think we still haven’t answered that question.”
Despite casting his doubts over further pursuits to build a metaverse, Rosedale is still optimistic that virtual worlds will play a part in how people interact in the future. “You might be able to create a public space that could be a positive thing for people — where you could go and make new friends, where you could cry out about injustice,” he says before noting that this modern vision would necessitate public freedom and not be controlled by one large corporate company.
For more on Facebook, make sure to check out this article detailing the company’s recent rebrand to Meta and how it coincides with the company’s big focus on creating a metaverse.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.
Source: IGN Video Games All