When Linden releases its GRID to the world as an open source server application it will turn in-world upside down. What will happen to the thousands of people who have spent time and money investing in land? What will happen to the intellectual property rights of those who have spent a great deal of effort to create under the protection of Linden Labs?
Will Linden be able to police the GRIDS of other developers? What happens on the Vegas GRID stays on the Vegas GRID.
Does Linden have the right of eminent domain? I suppose they could just pay individual land owners the fair market value of their land, but I would think that when the virtual real estate market gets flooded, the value will fall to the virtual bottom.
The Wild Wild West
Herman states that MMOG’s ” function as ongoing social systems replete with their own forms of governance and moral economies of practice that vary depending on the structure of relations established by the respective game’s End User License Agreement (EULA) and
Terms of Service (TOS).” This is true of Second Life, but may not be true of the Second Life derivatives that come to fruition once the platform is released as open source. If truly and open source platform can Linden make demands on developers? I haven’t heard of restriction on the use of Linux, or PHP?
It is an interesting move for Linden to make. It seems to be a move in the collaboration, collective commons vein, a movement that is sweeping the Internet and electronic community. Advancement through collaboration has been shown in many cases to be a successful model, but will this work for Linden?
The current Linden business model is based on real estate sales in-world. As Mitch Wagner writes this “leaves the business model up in the air.” He suggests that there are some new models for linden:
- “Continue in the land-sales business, only now they’ll have competition.
- Provide proprietary extensions to Second Life.
- Become a not-for-profit, coordinating Second Life development on behalf of other companies doing business in Second Life.
- Consult to other companies doing business in Second Life, going into competition with companies such as Electric Sheep and Millions of Us that now provide that service.”
I just don’t buy it.
I would think that by opening up the platform Linden is really putting their virtual neck on the chopping block. They are inviting a plethora of competition, and losing all control. They are also inviting users to leave, something that I don’t believe they can afford.
Having spent some time in-world, I have a reasonable sense that the reported Linden numbers on usability are inflated. The place is empty most of the time. Unless you go nudie Beach Island, there is usually a crowd there. Linden is going to open the doors and let out the users.
I am thinking of setting up a Second Life server just for kicks. Set up the server, open the doors and invite users to a land grab just like they did in the wild west of America. First come first serve, stake your claim, and build your future: a homestead, a high rise, or a nudie bar.
Establish our own rules and laws, our own currency value, our own virtual Vegas…