Clay Shirky on Second Life

From the Valleyvag comes a very level-headed article by Clay Shirky:

There's nothing wrong with a service that appeals to tens of thousands of people, but in a billion-person internet, that population is also a rounding error. If most of the people who try Second Life bail (and they do), we should adopt a considerably more skeptical attitude about proclamations that the oft-delayed Virtual Worlds revolution has now arrived.

My problem with virtual worlds is that the navigation sucks. Normally I have two hands, legs, and a myriad of cells to interact with the world. Online, I am already severely constrained by the fact that I have 100 keys, a display with a small field-of-view, and crappy resolution, and stereographic sound. In a virtual world, I get to use only WASD and the mouse.

Why simulate the real world when you need to constrain yourself when interacting with it? The world is about interaction, not ogling at beautiful graphics. Someone in the comments of the previous article said well:

Why do people build stairs and delicate escalators, if they can fly?

Why do they spend money (real or virtual) buying chairs if they cannot get tired?

Why do they replicate their rather low quality RL architectural, physical environment _exactly_ in SL when they have the tools to create _anything_ they want?




Comments

Just today I read a MikroBitti from 1994 (it's The Finnish hobby computer magazine, has been from 1984 or so). I read an article about virtual worlds, and much of it applies even now.

The author talked about the clumsy virtual reality hardware - goggles, gloves and so on, but also about the keyboard-mouse-screen option. Both had difficulties then, VR hardware being clumsy and expensive, and regular hardware being clumsy and cheap...

SL seems to be somewhat like the aspiration of that time, but it still is clumsy and difficult, and a niche.

I tried it, but for me the main point would be scripting, and I just don't have the time and inclination to script much on my free time, so I haven't logged on for a while.

So, things have changed much in some ways in 12 years, but not so much in some ways. We're still ways off from a virtual world usable by everybody.

I haven't really though what I'd really like to build in SL. Schrödinger's box (with a cat both dead and alive inside) is hígh on my list.

--null, 14-Dec-2006


Chairs, it is probably the fact that people standing up talking to each other give a restless feeling while people sitting down or lounging about doing the same gives lazy, comfy feeling.

On the other questions, I am as puzzled as the next guy.

--AnonymousCoward, 14-Dec-2006


Stupid blog thingy forgot me again. :(

--Janka, 14-Dec-2006


Seems like it forgot my name, too. :)

--Pare, 16-Dec-2006


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