Long before VR experienced its current revival people have been immersing themselves in a shared social world the likes of which have never been seen before or since. True to its name, Second Life by Linden Labs provides a complete existence for all sorts of interesting individuals to express themselves in the wildest ways you can imagine.
Such is the staying power of Second Life that the platform is going strong even today, but in this world of true immersive VR it’s clear that it’s time for things to move on.
It seems that Linden Labs is more than aware of the way the wind is blowing, which is why they’ve been working on a new product built specifically for VR. It’s called Sansar and a beta has just been opened for it.
Variety had a chat with Bjorn Laurin, the VP of product for Sansar and here we’ve learned quite a lot about where they are going with this new platform.
According to Laurin work on Sansar has been going on since 2014. It went into closed beta for developers just a few months before the open beta was announced. In that time the company says that at least 1700 VR experiences have been created within Sansar.
Lords of the Land
In Second Life land is everything. Unless you want to simply be a tourist, which most people end up being, you need to pay Linden Labs for virtual land in order to to build, well, whatever your twisted mind can come up with.
It seems that land will play a pivotal role in Sansar too, since one incentive offered to beta testers is a patch of land. It is after all a beta for creators.
Obviously Linden will be selling all sorts of pre-made assets for the less proficient creator, but as with Second Life there’s support for industry standard 3D-model formats.
You’ll be able to get started for free, but of course there are paid tiers too if you want to make more than three things at a time, and a wealth of items you can buy and sell in game.
One smart move on the part of Linden is the fact that people who don’t own a expensive VR system can still access the content using a regular PC. They’ll have to cast the net wide in order to help Sansar become the same sort of success that Second Life is.
Right now the VR market desperately needs content and providing everyone from individuals to large organisation a place to create that content may well be a big boost to keeping VR alive.