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Really savvy analysis, Sarah, as to why user-generated virtual worlds have not taken off in the US in the same manner as games have done. Sadly, SL today has fewer educators and, from my limited perspective, artists than it did in the "Hype" era. High tier rates for renting virtual land, and ham-handed policies by the company Philip Rosedale founded have forced us gradually out.
For the "play Barbie" crowd there remain plenty of options in SL, since it can offer an interactive version of "television, music videos, or RomComs set in Manhattan where everything winds up okay." But even these users have to work harder at achieving that sort of fairy-tale life online than may be comfy for the bored YouTube watcher or those point-and-shoot gamers who have the story made for them.
Today SL is hardly the utopia Philip set out to make, a utopia that would change our physical lives. Instead he made a sustainable company that profoundly changed life for a niche population online.
2 years ago on Philip Rosedale: The Media Is Wrong, SecondLife Didn’t Fail