One of the big games websites Gamasutra interviewed Rod Humble about Linden Lab buying Desura, some sort of digital distribution website.

And this time the website used a SL picture that is only 3 years old… I think that especially when Rod Humble does an interview, LL should flood those people with some up to date screenshots they could use.
“Hey, you want to interview me, sure, but please use up to date pictures when talking about SL, like these….”

I’ll admit that I am not that interested in this story (yet) but I do know that this is very big news and probably a good move.
Well done Linden Lab.
But, more interesting to me, Rod also mentioned Second Life.

Linden’s flagship Second Life, which despite years of getting slagged off in the press is still chugging along with 400,000 new registrations a month and a 20 percent retention rate. Not bad at all for a free title.

Now, this of course is old news, but it is nice that this website feels that perhaps the media treatment of SL the last couple of years has been a bit unfair.

The reason we don’t retain [more] people is, very simply, if they don’t find something that fits with their vision, they’re gone,” says Humble. “[For years] there was a belief that it would be big companies coming in and setting up shops, and in fact what happened was this user-generated economy of millions of people coming in and making small things. That’s a pattern that you’ve seen throughout many industries, the games business being one of them.

Rod Humble shows that he has pinpointed the reason why new people don’t stay in SL; they don’t find what they are looking for.
I also think this is one of the major problems SL has, new users need to be at least helped finding a sim they will enjoy and like, a theme they find interesting.
Once that happens, the rest will follow and they will want to figure out how it all works and accept the steep learning curve.

In facilitating that, Linden has rolled out (and continues to roll out) some pretty significant overhauls to Second Life, including to the servers. “As I’m sure you’ve heard from a lot of MMO developers, the one thing you never want to do is go in and try to refactor the server code. It’s just a nightmare. Well, we did that,” Humble chuckles anxiously. “We thought it was going to take us a year and it took us 18 months… [But] I think a lot of people will be seeing performance improvements now.”

I find this interesting as well, they planned such a massive overhaul that they assumed it would take them 1.5 years, that is impressive.
And yes, I’ve experienced some improvements already but am still waiting for the server side texture thingy to come to 1920s Berlin.
Either way, in my experience SL has changed a lot for the better in the last year.

The journalist writes;

Propping up the company’s mainstay is of chief import, obviously, and certainly a developer couldn’t be blamed for sticking to just that. The fact that Linden is instead capitalizing on Second Life‘s cashflow to expand into what could turn it into a solid rival for Valve’s Steam service is unique, risky, and potentially something to watch out for.

That is a good way of putting it, personally though I am not very interested in the LL cashflow but I guess that eventually, what is good for LL is good for SL.
I just hope that if it all goes wrong, SL does not suffer.

“We’re always on the look-out for key partners to further our strategy,” Humble says candidly. “We’re a very profitable company, we’re cash-rich, and if we can find potential partners, we will. That said, the strategy going forward is quite clear: to take all of our creative platforms, make them more and more open, and hopefully allow people to share and, if they want, sell their creations.”

Good, keep reminding the press how well LL is doing, that should keep them interested or make them interested again, after all, 10 years of pretty much running just one game and still making enough money to put bread on the table is a good story.