'Second Life' Proved That Metaverse Won't Work
It’s hard to believe that Second Life is nearly 20 years old. The game, developed by Linden Lab, debuted in 2003 and garnered the attention of millions of players seeking to dick around in virtual space. First came the fans and then came the advertisers. Brands jumped on the Second Life train with sponsorships and advertising spends touting the digital space as the future of the marketplace. Sound familiar? That’s exactly how companies around the world are thinking about the Metaverse.
Believe it or not, Second Life is still around. You can sign up for an account and download the free to play game right now. It looks pretty janky and there’s lots of adult content, but it’s still a game with an active community that a core group is still very passionate about. And that’s great, we’re not here to yuk anyone’s yum, but it’s not the big budget advertising paradise and social epicenter that brands predicted it would be. And Metaverse won’t be either. Second Life in its heyday had big problems with griefers, trolls who went around actively messing with other players’ virtual lives. They’d attack players who didn’t want to be in combat, hack their avatars, or, most hilariously of all, bomb other players with storms of dildos. Hurricanes of sex toys can really ruin a business meeting or family reunion. Meta tries to take action against trolls on Facebook and sometimes succeeds, but its track record of protecting people from abuse is actual crap.
Besides minor disruptions and annoyances, neither Second Life or the amorphous form that the Metaverse is taking has any great ways of moderating their platforms. A company that can’t even treat its employees with a modicum of decency probably isn’t going to go above and beyond to protect their users. Abuse, scams, misinformation, and downright disgusting sex stuff is all too common when people can hide behind an anonymous mask. A dildo storm is the least of your worries if you get your identity stolen or hacked.