Second Life Revamps Metaverse Plans with Returning Founder and Key Investor

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Quick take:

  • Second Life is largely regarded as the pioneering company of the metaverse.
  • Launched in 2003, it reimagines people living a parallel life in a virtual world.
  • The company has received a strategic investment to revamp its metaverse plans while its founder also returns.

Second Life is making a ‘triumphant’ return into the limelight of metaverse discussions after securing a strategic investment from High Fidelity. The social virtual reality company revealed on Thursday that it invested in Linden Lab, the company behind the online multimedia platform that lets people create avatars of themselves and engage in a parallel life.

Announcing High Fidelity’s new stake in the company, Linden Lab also revealed that Second Life founder Philip Rosedale was returning in a strategic advisory role. Although the company did not disclose any figures, it said the deal includes a cash investment and distributed computing patents, High Fidelity revealed via a Twitter post.

Also included in the agreement is that members of High Fidelity’s metaverse team will be joining the team tasked with taking Second Life to the next frontier. Second Life is in the process of scaling its metaverse ecosystem. 

Linden Lab said that the investment serves as a commitment to the process, and will help Second Life “grow an innovative, inclusive, and diverse metaverse where its inhabitants’ ingenuity drives real-world value for themselves and others.”

An executive of the company revealed to the Wall Street Journal that Second Life will focus on revamping the social aspects of the platform to boost user growth. The exec also said the platform allows users to withdraw money pinned to in-game items in the virtual world to wallets in the real world, thereby potentially serving as a feature of attraction to younger people. 

Despite the explosive growth of the metaverse last year, Rosedale, who also co-founded High Fidelity thinks no one has come close to building a virtual world like Second Life.

“Big Tech giving away VR headsets and building a metaverse on their ad-driven, behaviour-modification platforms isn’t going to create a magical, single digital utopia for everyone. Second Life has managed to create both a positive, enriching experience for its residents — with room for millions more to join — and built a thriving subscription-based business at the same time. Virtual worlds don’t need to be dystopias,” he said.

Brad Oberwager, chairman of Linden Lab echoed Rosadale’s remarks saying that since founding Second Life in 1999, his visionary approach has not only withstood the test of time but also positioned the company for the future. “He and the High Fidelity team have unmatched experience and I can’t wait to capitalize on the vast opportunity in front of us.”

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