Linden Lab took a huge step forward in the growing market for virtual collaboration and business telecommuting with its announcement that companies could now purchase business-grade Second Life software.
Organizations as far-flung as IBM and the Navy are in on the new software, which also has an upscaled security and authentication process and the ability to protect sensitive company information, launches Linden Lab into all new forms of virtual interaction.
Pixels and Policy investigates what Second Life Enterprise means for the virtual business industry.
Moving the Workplace Online
One of the biggest benefits of Second Life Enterprise over the existing version of Second Life is the fact that Linden Lab's business environment provides enhanced security and business networking tools. For $55,000, companies receive seven dedicated business islands decked out with ampitheaters to meeting rooms.
Perhaps the feature with the most potential involves granting Second Life Enterprise users the ability to transfer content produced in the standard Second Life world to their new business server:
Existing Second Life customers can move the content
they created in the hosted iteration over to the Second Life Enterprise beta
environment, effectively saving their work. Second Life Enterprise can support
up to eight regions simultaneously and 800 concurrent users in the same
This fully realizes the possibility of rapid prototyping of real-world goods without the risk of the general population taking notice.Sure, islands can be locked down and visitors can be hand-picked, but the Second Life security system isn't foolproof, and Second Life Enterprise takes this into account by sequestering users on a private server.
Businesses previously lukewarm to entering a world where sex shops and flying penises abound now have a private way to take advantage of the virtual office, complete with the same quality content creation tools open to regular Second Life users.
A New Model for Corporate Involvement in the Metaverse
This is the opposite of the American Apparel theory of Second Life – instead of attempting to attract visitors, companies will work on internal operations and projects in relative seclusion, with an eye to traditional real-world product launches.
Perhaps the most useful addition to Second Life Enterprise will be how small-time content creators can reap financial gain from companies already shelling out $55,000 for Linden Lab's private server kit. Coming soon: The Second Life Work Marketplace.
Second Life Work Marketplace [lets]
customers find, test and buy content from Second Life's third-party developers.
This way customers can save the time associated with creating 3D applications,
while Second Life developers can make money from their 3D work. Linden Lab will
take a cut of the proceeds.
By opening up Second Life's sprawling content creation market to corporations – and by allowing small producers to profit off the potentially massive corporate interest in purchasing ready-made products – Linden Lab manages to please all parties.
This is a shrewd business move, with the potential to grab the Lindens a financial share from both corporations and individual creators. It could be the spark of innovation that keeps Linden Lab ahead as new worlds come online.