Second Life: Merging of Main Grid with Teen Grid

Categories and Featured Stores on 8/21/2010 10:44:00 AM

I logged into Second Life today as always just to get this memo from SpiritValley NightClub & Studio:


Phillip Linden

The final thing I wanted to talk about, which is probably the most contentious thing, but it's important to have it out, is the teen grid.

Our long term goal, and we've touched on this a little bit publicly before, is to unify activities on the main grid. If you think about the economy statement that I made earlier, the big thing with Second Life is that people can create and share content. The strength of the grid and the success of many of us in here is the fact that we have access to content.

We made a mistake when we launched the teen grid; not letting teenagers in - that's been fantastic - and the educational activities and all the things that have happened in there are great. The mistake that we made was setting it up so the content couldn't be shared between the two grids. And as you guys all know what that caused is essentially the main grid grew exponentially. The teen grid grew, actually for the statistic nerds, the teen grid grows exponentially as well, but it started much later and did not get as many people on it initially...when you have competing exponential growth curves, it's kind of forever hampered, it can never win because the content on the main grid essentially dwarfs the content on the teen grid and there's no access to the two.

So the question is how do we deal with this, what's the best strategy going forward given that we have a ton of activities on the teen grid... and I'd call out educational activities as a special, very wonderful and opportunistic part of Second Life's forward edge of development that are happening there.

So here's what we're gonna do. Very soon, and you'll see an announcement on this, I think next week, you'll see an announcement imminently on more details on this...some of them I don't even have in my head, although you can ask me questions about it.

The first thing we are going to do is we're gonna take the 16- and 17- year old users on the teen grid and we're going to convert them into the main grid. We're going to give them notice on this and there will be a process, but basically we're going to allow those users to transfer onto the main grid.

We believe that the content filtering and protections that we've put in place over the last couple of years are adequate for that age of users, and you'll see us doing other things to support them in the coming months, but we think that's a reasonable strategy. We think that age of user is fine interacting on the main grid with the content controls that we've set in place.

The younger part of the grid, for now, we are basically going to turn off, so that is going to be a big concern short term, but what we are going to do on that front is we are going to work with the educators and other individuals who have been doing specific content development inside teen Second Life and figure out what forward-looking changes we can make to Second Life to support younger ages of users. We're going to be very careful...thank you...we're going to be careful about how we do that, but you will see us doing it. But the change that I can promise right now, step one, is to bring the 16- and 17-year olds onto the main grid and not...and basically shut down the rest of the teen grid for, and you'll see announcements on this in the staging, but for the younger users, but, and several of you have already had communications with folks like Terrence Linden who are talking about how to basically move this forward.

But that's a big change and that change has costs associated with it and I recognize that. We as a company have got to focus on where the greatest sort of resonance and exponential growth can be for all users, so that's a tough call, but I wanted to tell you guys about it here since there are a number of educators here and people who have thought long and hard about this...and I'm gonna be here over the next couple of days, today and tomorrow, and we can have a conversation about this and a few of those conversations have already started. So, okay, well. That's the end of the commitment list. Watch for us to do those things. Thanks. One a more entertaining note to wrap this up and move on to questions...

Cons: What the hell? Second Life is heavily covered in adult content and places. Sure Linden Labs have set up a nice amount of ways to keep un-age verified people out of places but who's to say that a group of smart teens just don't find some way around them? And if the 16 and 17 year olds are dragged to the main grid only, I could see some 15 year olds wanting to follow there friends at all cost. At this rate 90% of the residential houses will have to be age verified places. Nice job!

Pros: We'll get to see some our Grid counterparts; "getting a taste of the other side". I've always been curious about the Teen Grid. I'm sure they're curious about our Grid as well, especially if they glanced at Xstreet and saw all the awesome things it has to offer from clothes to game replicas. Besides curiosity, I can see adoption agencies getting some interesting traffic. I wouldn't mind taking a 16 year old under my prim wing.

Linden Labs seems like they're going through with this one, so let's wait and see what happens.

- Inuoko