Wednesday, March 25, 2020

News and Commentary: Can Second Life Replace Real Life Events Amid the Coronavirus Scare?

By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)

With the advent of the global breakout of Coronavirus (COVID-19), major events are being canceled left and right. Many have joked that the year 2020 is canceled, but does it have to be? It would seem that Second Life has indeed seen a resurgence since the pandemic started. Linden Lab has even set their sights on the corporate sector since many businesses have had to halt business travel plans.

So can Second Life be a valuable alternative to group gatherings? First, I’ll provide a possible example of a large scale event: The Electronic Entertainment Expo was one of the big events that were canceled this year. The event itself is no different from a car show or computer fair. You have vendors there showing off their products to the public, explaining why they should buy them, and letting the public try out their hardware and software. Would this work in Second Life?

No. This wouldn’t work in a virtual world like Second Life. This large trade show had 66,100 attendees last year. A Second Life sim would fill up pretty fast with that kind of crowd. Most big events in Second Life only can hold 60-80 people. You could try to spread out the crowd amongst multiple sims but even then there would be issues. There’s also the problem of there being no real way to try out the products. People want to touch and feel a new video game controller. They want to play and experience a new game. They want to sit in a new car. They want to do these things so they can write about it or spread the word through other means. You can’t do that in Second Life. You could maybe stream a conference, by why not do that on YouTube?

What about smaller events such as corporate meetings? Why bother? There are much cheaper options than renting a sim just so everyone can have their own virtual avatar. There’s also the problem of everyone having to learn how to use Second Life. Can you imagine Jill from accounting trying to figure out how to dress her virtual avatar? GoToMeeting would be a much better option in terms of cost and time investment which is what companies look for when choosing such services.

Second Life only is an option for very niche events; the kind of events that already take place on the platform. What Second Life can do in this time of turmoil is provide a unique social platform as well as an escape. What do you think? Are there other events that could take place in Second Life that I haven’t thought of? Sound off in the comments.

Sources: New World Notes, Skift


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