Clay Shirky is at it again on his site Many2Many and reposted on Valleywag.Once again Clay is taking what I consider unfair swipes at Second Life, discussing numbers again, and comparing a world that streams data from a server against games that are mostly held on DVDs (WOW). To me there is no comparison between the two worlds! Clay talks about the lack of retention rate of Second Life, yet makes no statements which really show the differences between immersion in a Game contained on DVD and the huge learning curve needed to actually create content to be streamed from Second Life Servers.
Understanding Clay is a professor of a college up in (I think it is NY) the article he wrote reminds me more of a P.H.D. dissertation written to achieve a P.H.D. by a candidate rather than something for ordinary people to be able to understand.
Clay is it so hard to understand when you compare Second Life to any Game you are trying to compare apples to oranges? Second Life loses a lot of sign up because people are under the mistaken impression it is a game. In a game all the content is created for the players and there is a set “goal” to win. In Second Life the mission is to use ones imagination and create. Create what ever their creative minds can dream up.
I freely admit that the learning curve is steep to be able to make full use of the tools available to achieve building goals inside Second Life, but you should also recognize the fact that most of the people who try Second Life do not even bother to spend time in the inadequate learning areas. Most are in to big a hurry to start beating the “game.” Most who download Second Life simply aren’t willing to even try to understand what Second Life is all about. I blame that on the “Idea” generated by the press that it is a game, and the lack of understanding that everything has to be streamed from the Second Life servers.
Clay, don’t get me wrong, I have bitched and raised cane about the troubles of Second Life. Example is the fact that now they are reaching 30,000 people online at one time their servers just seem to hit their potential and things start falling apart. Second Life may lack a lot to be desired, but are stretching the boundaries of the web, and without such actions pushing the edges… well just what could we expect of the web? Nobody ever thought computers would catch on like they have, or cell phones for that matter.
Brilliant people like youself should be looking deeper than simple numbers before raking Second Life over the coals. I find it hard to believe you don’t see the difference between successful games and the growing success of Second Life, even though the Lindens did allow and encourage the numbers glitch.
Right now I long for the days when there were no more than 1,500 people online at a time. I am certain Linden Lab will scale up to over come the difficulties now facing us when the online users closes in on 30,000, but it is a pain for the time being.
Come on Clay, you used that comparing apples to oranges, when looking for more realistic numbers… How about comparing Second Life to something equal to it? Oh, yeah! I forgot there simply is nothing out there to compare it to. So how about easing up a bit and not be so damn critical of our passion. You seem to be trying to cut the throat of something that is good and has potential. I know it couldn’t be because you didn’t come up with it … could it?
Shortly after posting this article
I read an article written by Henry Jenkins called A Second Look at Second Life a well written, not quite so difficult to read as Clay’s, which I will call reccommended reading as it give a much better view of the social interaction rather than simple misleading number can evr do.