* Update - April Fools *
Late Sunday, March 31st, Linden Lab made a stunning announcement. In a press release, they stated that they had sold controlling ownership of Second Life to the Walt Disney Company. It is believed the negotiations were conducted behind the scenes over several months.
"Linden Lab is pleased to have Second Life in the hands of such a prestigious company," Rod Humble stated, "We were happy to run the virtual world we created a decade ago. But as a maker of shared creative spaces, we need to be able to focus on new products. With Second Life being run by Disney, we can devote more time and effort to applications and platforms for today's market."
Disney has been active with online virtual worlds before. It's Internet division, the Disney Interactive Media Group has produced the "Virtual Magic Kingdom" and "The World of Cars Online." Both efforts were considered less than successful and were closed down.
There has been no official statement from Disney, although former president of Disney Online Jake Winebaum, who was involved in the negotiations, wrote on his blog that Disney plans "sweeping changes" to the virtual world, "The company is determined that Second Life and its residents are properly Disneyfied." All sims will be given General/PG status, and all adult content is to be removed from both the land and personal accounts. All human avatars are required to have underwear permanently fixed to them. While nonhuman avatars can still be nude, they must be completely covered in fur, feathers, scales, etc. with no "bits" showing. Adult animations will also banned.
Winebaum stated that there were some concerns about copyright violations. So Disney planned to suspend content creation "temporarily" until a new system could be developed that would ensure "no resident could expose Disney to a lawsuit." Of music and other media broadcasted inworld, "Only those owned by Disney and it's associated companies will be permitted." DJs and theater owners will need a license to continue to play.
For more on this stunning development, Click Here.