Hey, Linden Labs! I know you’re working hard on two different projects right now, and that’s great. I also know you’ve mentioned being forced to do so because if you didn’t, someone else would replace the virtual worlds you’ve worked hard to build up. Right?
It’s 2017. Here are your rivals. There’s more than one:
This is Tower Unite, a catch-all theme park experience. You buy the game once and that’s it–you earn furniture with points from minigames. There’s also a pet and cooking system in development right now, as well as even more minigames coming in future updates. Tower Unite is popular with the gamer crowd and is very Youtube vlogger-friendly.
Now meet your second rival:
Four Kings Casino is free upfront but contains optional microtransactions. You can’t cash out chips but trust me, it’s addictive to play this anyway. Home customization is upcoming. The user demographic for this is older people with cash to throw into games such as Second Life and the former PSHome (created by Digital Leisure, who now runs Four Kings). Four Kings is not only active on Steam, but Playstation as well.
You might think Second Life and the upcoming Sansar are so different from Tower Unite and Four Kings, there would be almost no overlap of user demographic. Wrong! Watch what Markiplier says at the 4:35 in this recent video. He states this while he and a friend are playing Rust.
Would Markiplier play Second Life for anything other than comedic effect now that you’re promoting Sansar? Nope.
“Okay, we get it. Now what can we learn from our competitors?”
- Keep your planned control on merchant stores. You’ll need it for when someone–ahem–makes something like angel wings that skyrocket av render weight to 700k.
- Do not rely on your userbase to create the communities you want to see develop in Sansar. You need to creates those communities. Think artist micro-residencies as a good start.
- Don’t charge hundreds of dollars for hosting fees. Make maps p2p optional. If p2p maps violate a merchant agreement, then maybe don’t let people sell goods in the game through you, right? Or disable certain objects when users want an offline session.
- Charge upfront for users to purchase Sansar.
- Implement a basic cooking/growing/pet system into Sansar that anyone, anywhere in Sansar can enjoy.
- Still want that casino project to take off? Charge an entry fee to enter the game map. Any “chips” users earn can go to perks such as exclusive, customizable homes, furniture, rare pets, and clothing.
- Most importantly, call Sansar a game. It’s a game. “Game” is marketable. “Game” is Youtube-friendly. Selling a virtual life is not Youtube-friendly. It’s entirely possible to advertise creativity with art and science communities while catering to gamers as well. But you know what no one likes? Advertising a game as a replacement for irl. The tech world has evolved beyond that, and so LL must do the same.
Those are a few suggestions to glean from the games I’ve listed here. Play them! Take a look around. Then jot down some notes and see what you can bring back from the trip.
Have a suggestion? Agree or disagree with my post? Let me know in the comments!