Image: An avatar's face with the mesh displayed. That’s the timeline for the feature that’s due by the end of the month, not the feature itself.

Last month, Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble said – of the upcoming mesh features for Second Life – “Creators should have a timeline of the rollout so everyone can plan.”

And there’s a lot of planning to do. Mesh is one of the biggest features to hit the grid in years, and many of the ways it will impact users and the Second Life economy haven’t been finalised and made public yet, which means that content creators and merchants cannot really plan ahead for a Second Life with mesh features.

The rollout of any feature can be a dicey proposition. Money is made filling a platform’s deficiencies. Default animations  for avatars are poor, so businesses grew up providing better animations. Avatar hair is very limited, so businesses have flourished making and selling carefully crafted digital wigs.

In almost every area that you find a shortcoming or a deficiency in the Second Life platform, well, that’s a niche where people are making a livelihood. Those niches are where real profits are.

Bug-fixes and new features, much as we look forward to them, tend to smooth things out. They close up the niches or make them shallower, evicting the ecosystems of merchants and content-creators that occupy them or reducing the profits of that niche.

Mesh is going to really change that landscape in so very many ways. Entire categories of businesses might become redundant, giving rise to yet whole new industries. Classes of creators might vanish and be replaced by new classes.

We’ve not seen that sort of upheaval in the Second Life economy since the custom avatar-skin and the prim-wig.

So, absolutely – as Humble said – everyone needs to be able to plan. There may be weeks or months of planning to do, depending on exactly where in the markets a creator might be situated, and exactly how some of the important aspects of mesh are to be finalised.

That planning can’t start without a timeline, and that timeline will be published by the last day of May, a Lab PR spokesperson said today.

Mesh is coming, and by the end of the month, the Lab is going to tell us when to expect it, and how it will work.

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