I’ve finally given in and taken my first tentative steps into Second Life (it’s legit once it has an Economist article; or something…). My first impressions are so-so; it’s obvious that there’s a lot to explore and do that I’ve only just scratched the surface of (see Andy Piper’s blog for a lot more posts on Second Life; including how IBM are getting involved). But the system obviously needs some work - the client crashed twice within the space of two hours, once bringing down Windows. The movement is pretty jerky, despite turning the detail down to minimum, and the graphics flickery, almost unusably so. I’ve already been forced to upgrade the client once (~25MB download). It’s possible my T43 just isn’t up to the job (dodgy graphics drivers?), but I don’t have anything more powerful or different to try it on.
What I’m more interested in, though, is what’s available in this virtual world and how easy it is for me to create and trade. The Economist article above touches on some of the theoretical economic differences between Second Life and ‘First Life’, but it’s obviously going to have to grow a lot bigger before the implications become obvious. I’m still doubtful, particularly given the technical problems I’ve seen above, that this particular technology can cross the chasm, but it would become an interesting lab if I were proved wrong. I suspect there’s a future for something like Second Life, even if Second Life itself is not it.
I shall continue to explore.
Update 2006-10-15: Link to Andy’s blog fixed.