In todays ‘Drax Files Radio Hour’ we air an interview with Dennis Harper, Sr. Product Manager of SL Go. The SL streaming service that recently announced it would not continue after Sony bought important patents from OnLive, making it impossible to continue the service.
In the interview Dennis talks about how SL Go came to be, the future he imagined for it a, how the SL Go community grew and how SL Go got a huge boost at the very last moment thanks to the inworld paying option.
I’d love to see Linden Lab put that in Second Life, allowing us to pay our tier and premium fee inworld!
About the sale Dennis says that Sony never intended to own or run the service, they were only interested in the intellectual property and patterns. Buying these meant Onlive simply had to stop in their tracks.
Onlive was put on the market because it was not profitable, but they were getting close to turning this around. Cloud steaming itself is a very good business but it just took a lot of investment, time and effort to get the customers they needed.
The long time yield over a customer was just not enough and as Dennis describes it; Onlive just ran out of runway and money.
Onlive was ahead of its time, like Second Life once was.
Dennis feels that they could have made it an incredibly viable business if they had had another year or two. Cloud gaming is the future. Onlive had been looking for a buyer for some time, several parties were interested and some of them did want to take over and run the service, but in the end they decided to sell to Sony.
Linden Lab did show some interest in SL Go and did come to discuss the service, but I personally don’t think they actually made an offer.
Dennis said that Linden Lab and OnLive had some discussions on closer business partnerships, but nothing solid ever came from it. Ultimately, OnLive might not have been the best solution for Linden Lab, as Second Life represents hundreds of thousands of potential users. OnLive has a great service, but that number of users may have swamped them. However, OnLive was actively working on new technology that would allow for this volume of users. If given time, he is confident that OnLive would have solved that problem.
But the end of SL Go does not have to mean the end of streaming Second Life.
I’ve written before about how I felt LL should offer SL Go as a free or cheap service for premium members and it seems they actually did look into this.
One option could be the service Amazon hosts called ‘Amazon Appstream’, something I never heard of before till I read about it on Inara Pey’s blog.
Amazon has lots and lots of servers all over the world that are far from being really pushed to their limit. Most of the time they even stand idle. Linden Lab could perhaps rent those servers. It is at least something Linden Lab should look at and perhaps experiment with.
Dennis thinks that Linden Lab has now realised the possibilities of streaming SL and what it means to many users and potentially many more people who use their virtual world. Thanks to SL Go, SL finally worked on mobile devices and finally looked good.
Dennis also mentions that now that SL will soon no longer be supported for people using XP or Vista OS on their computer.
These users, according to a reputable source at least 40-50.000 people, will soon be stuck on older viewers, unable to update to any new feature SL introduces and eventually making it impossible for them to use it.To them SL Go was a (second) life safer.
They will be left in the cold and so will those of us who can’t afford the big computers you need to run SL the way it should be running; with awesome graphics and no lag.
Forget about Sony. If you want to enjoy SL the way you did with SL Go you need to ask Linden Lab, they are the only ones who could get this done.
Personally I think that SL Go has proven that streaming Second Life works, that there is a market for it, that it means a lot to many SL users and that it could have a drastic effect on the reputation of our virtual world by flooding the internet with amazing high quality graphics and eventually perhaps even machinima.
Linden Lab is going to look running the Next Generation Second Life on mobile devices anyway, so it would be a good idea for them to start experimenting with streaming Second Life now and use that experience to make NGSL even better.
So the ball is in Linden Lab’s corner. They are the ones that could bring back SL streaming and I think they should. Linden Lab has the talent and the technology and the former SL Go staff have the know-how and experience. I also think that if they work together on building something from scratch that will just concentrate on streaming SL, there would be no issues regarding the patents Onlive sold to Sony.
SL Stream will improve SL for a lot of users and may even find a way to get more of them to sign up as premium members or even “Plus Premium” members who’ll pay a little more for the streaming service.
So forget about Sony and politely, patiently and friendly tell Linden Lab why you think streaming SL is a good idea.
Make sure you catch the interview in todays Drax Files broadcast, you can listen to it by clicking here.
To end this article, I’m sharing a few quotes, stories and opinions from SL Go users about what the loss of this service means to them and why it is important to try and find or create an alternative.
OMG i had no idea water was SUPPOSED TO look that way!!!!
“I’d been hoping to get my mom into Second Life soon. She’s coming to visit me next month, and a tablet would have been a much more feasible purchase right now than a high-end laptop, for both financial as well as technical reasons. With SL Go gone, our options are more limited. I still want to introduce her to the world somehow — I actually think she’d love SL once she got used to it, especially since she feels quite isolated where she’s currently living — but it becomes a more complicated undertaking and not nearly as “accessible” an experience for her as it could otherwise have been.”
I think the loss of this service is a great shame. Although I don’t know how popular the service was, I am sure there are quite a few users who will now no longer be able to access SL, and a great potential for expanding the reach of virtual worlds to people with almost any kind of end-user device, is being lost – at a time when the whole business of virtual reality is getting additional attention and environments like SL are being shown to be a decade ahead of the curve, and when increasingly tablets and mobile devices are increasingly the internet access equipment of choice.
I am an estate owner and pay the premium membership. Normally I use my own computer to run SL but recently my mother had a life altering surgery that has required me to move in with her and use her new but not meant for graphics computer. SL GO has allowed me to continue to service my estate and keep in touch with my residents. The closing down of SL GO will be a hard blow indeed.
Aelggyva Fenwitch (Effy)
Once i saw what Second life and its many artists and creators meant me to see in previously unattainable graphic settings my virtual life underwent a major change . I was able to visit some astounding visual creations and interact with other visitors in a much more rewarding way.
I am really not looking forward to returning to my virtual life which consists of walking through treacle surrounded by grey blocks.
With SL Go, I could be film maker. The frame rates were smooth while normally my computer skips. …And I could do it with advanced lighting too. I could also do amazing things like waltz into the super busy The Arcade sim, and yard sale hunt at Epic without choking on all those avatars, textures, and meshes densely populating a small area. … I even figured out how to use SL Go for my blog photos. SL Go photography saved the day but when I would otherwise crash trying to get the shot. (Yes, I was brutal with SL Go photography, pushing it past it’s limits with ultra advanced lighting, 16x anti aliasing, and trying to do a larger image size than double my screen resolution and it would crash on me of course. lol) But when I needed fast and reliable, SL Go photography was there for me. … I had big plans to use SL Go for my coverage of Fantasy Faire. I was planning to make movies while the sims were crawling with people, filming them all in thier wonderful and wacky outfits, and I would do all it on Ultra settings too. …. It sent me reeling that something so useful, SL Go, was taken away suddenly without warning and no way to fill void left behind. …. SL Go was a great tool and I enjoyed having it. I hope in the future there will be new ways to solve the problems of making VR faster, stable, able to handle busy sims, be beautifully lit, and of course, do it while waiting in line at doctor office or sitting on the beach.
I used singularity – graphics setting as low as they’d go, a draw of 32 – max avis 3 at the most – often 2, so i could see my partner and i dance.
In crowded places, i looked like a whirling dervish – i couldn’t control my movement and anyone moving in front of me took my fps from 7 – SEVEN mind you, at the best – to 2 and i’d crash. You can’t run a venue like that.
Then sl go and FS – and i became so dependent SO very quickly.
I’m so crushed – and i know from using it again now, that singularity is if possible going to continue to be worse.
I’m looking at closing both venues, and leaving second life – i can’t afford a new box.
Maybe going to InWorldz to see if it’s better there, that’s what losing sl go means to me. The fact that i’ve never seen a framerate over 10 in my three years in sl says it all, i think.
It means i have to buy or build a new computer in order to continue being on sl.
LL is out “tech’ing” themselves from mainstream people.
It means the end of SL as it should be experienced. for me at least
It means my fiancée will be unable to join me in SL until sometime down the road when I’m capable of breaking free from the chains instilled by bills and bloated prices, and finally buy a better laptop that she can use.
well it does mean that I won’t be able to use my xp pc for sl much longer,, but LL won’t be worried about that :P
It’s bad enough that I have more money going out to bills than I have coming in right now, paying a bloated price just to stream a viewer so that my laptop can run it just isn’t in the cards for me, at least not at the moment. That’s why I liked OnLive as an option, paying by Linden took quite a bit of weight off my shoulders.
The hardest thing for people right now is that Second Life is changing and becoming more and more demanding of computers. A low to mid-range computer that used to be able to run SL is now barely able to function properly, and these low to mid-range computers are “new” computers that are literally obsolete right out of the box. Most people can’t afford to pay a one lump sum for a high-end rig, especially when the rigs that are capable of running SL the way it’s meant to be run is well over 1 to 2,000 USD. x.x Some folks could probably afford that and save up for it rather quickly, but with so many places price gouging on their Internet services or electric, or what have you, bills just aren’t permitting for some folks. Some of SLs residents draw a monthly disability in RL, and SL is pretty much their reality, and it’s a reality that they can’t truly enjoy. -shrug- Just my thoughts.
for me the effect personally is negligible except when i’m away from home and have to use my laptop. But what bothers me is the large number of people who have had their first experience of being able to see and function in SL as it is meant to be, and will no longer have that ability.