In theory, virtual worlds give users the potential to live an alternative life, and virtual reality adds to the sense of escape. In practice, you realise pretty quickly some people have really weird dreams. Not saying this is a recipe for disaster or anything - this is a fantasy millions of people around the world are willing to pay for. But reading this article brings back memories of my experience in Second Life.
As part of a human-computer interaction research project (specifically, 3D Input for 3D Worlds if you're curious), we performed usability tests within a Second Life public sandbox. For those of you who know a bit about Second Life, you're probably shaking your heads right now...
Part of our tests involved getting the user to perform a wave gesture with their hand, which in turn, got the avatar to wave as well. This, naturally attracted the attention of other avatars walking (or flying) past. As a result, our avatar got a couple of marriage proposals from people who wandered into the same sandbox (yes, you read that correctly), including one who offered to change their avatar's gender to suit our "preference" (yes, you read that correctly as well - also an interesting "perk" of having a virtual body).
Imma just say, good luck with Sansar, Linden Labs. It's probably gonna be hugely successful, and I'll leave it at that.
The space we’re both inhabiting is part of Sansar (formerly known as Project Sansar), a new virtual reality experience from Linden Lab. In the mid-‘00s, Linden Lab struck gold with digital world Second Life, which played host to 1.1 million users at its peak. Second Life retains a user base of some 900,000 monthly active users, and CEO Ebbe Altberg brags that creators earned $60 million in real-world cash last year selling digital goods.