The first thing on Saturday morning was the opening keynote by Philip Linden. While the keynote last year seemed a bit philosophical this year’s was definitely filled with some facts.
He started with an apology by showing his T-Shirt showing “missing image”. This he explained stands for Linden Lab being in the community’s way. And this needs to be different. Linden Lab should not be the most visible part.
This led into a in-depth discussion of downtimes, crashes, inventory loss and the like. He had a nice metaphor in which he stressed that Linden Lab is indeed a “Lab”. And if LL is a lab what are then the residents?
He got a bit into detail that they really behave like a lab and were changing stuff quite quickly sometimes because they felt that they needed to. As a results residents indeed felt quite often like being part of an experiment in the interest of human nature. And in fact they were. According to Philip this simply was necessary because the critical mass was missing. There was no time to make proposals, discuss these in depth with everybody, refine them and at some point finally implement them. Instead they just implemented.
Nowadays the critical mass is there and Philip promised that they want to become a lot less a lab. This is due to the fact that Second Life has been proven to exist. Even if it’s going down tomorrow it will get rebuild – by the community. This wasn’t the same 1-2 years ago. And now Linden Lab is listening.
Resident satisfaction: Concurrency and Outages
Apparently there are still many problems with the grid these days. Philip is fully aware of that and in order to prove this he showed a couple of graphs. These graphs should soon be available additonally to the economic data.
In this photo you can see the concurrency graph with outages (red). In the photo below you can see the satisfaction graph additionally (yellow).
In this graph you can see that there really hasn’t been any movement in crash frequency. On the one hand you can see that nothing improved over time but you can also see that you can also not recognize certain releases of new features.
As Philip states it: “we are not actively screwing things up as you might think”
In the graph of inventory loss you can see at least a small improvement. Philip said though that these things are hard to track down and there are about 20 different ways to lose inventory which are spread across all cases. So it’s hard to fix “this single problem” as there is no single problem.
A rather new feature is the satisfaction survey which is randomly spread among logins. Philip said that they have this screen with replies hanging in their lunch room in order to have a constant motivation to make things better. The color code here is that green means it got better and yellow that satisfaction got worse. As you also can see some residents write complete essays on what went wrong.
Nowadays about 1/3 of the active grid population uses voice. In total about 230,000 residents have used voice so far and the peak concurrency of people talking that the same time has been 13,000. As for the estates about 25% of them have voice turned off.
This was about orientation islands for special purposes. Now about 40% of the incoming traffic goes to custom orientation islands instead of the Linden Lab ones. You can actually choose which to use in the signup process. On the Linden Lab islands there are about 10,000-20,000 people a day spread across 100 islands.
But more orientation islands are still needed and as for the most successful one he mentioned the Japan one which among others is outperforming the Linden Lab ones.
A recent topic of Philip seems to be exploration. He mentioned this in the interview with the german magazine Focus as well as in the keynote. What this means is basically that with virtual worlds you have the chance to explore the real world more easily than without. You can go to replicas of e.g. Tokio, meet people from Tokio there and get in touch with them. You might learn quite a bit more than just by visiting japanese websites esp. as you usually need to be able to read japanese.
(As a sidenote I might add that esp. germans seem to be big in recreating their cities. I have no idea why that is but we soon have nearly a copy of every bigger german city in SL.. )
He also got a bit into the bigger picture of what we are doing right now. This is just the beginning and “we are the first people to the party”. What we are doing is what everybody on earth will be going to use (maybe not SL but something similar). He said that it’s even going to get bigger than the web. The reasoning behind that is actually what I mentioned above about exploring Tokio. You cannot really do that very good with just the web but maybe far better by using virtual worlds. While the web has made the world smaller (think of McLuhan’s global village) in the sense that you have access big parts of the world with it, virtual worlds might make it even “smaller” in the sense of the exploration idea (I hope I understood this correctly)
So this basically was what Philip was talking about. I liked it very much and if course I hope that these graphs will go down in the near future