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Linden Lab, I believe, is focused on trying to make a better viewer – the best viewer. It has been asked why, if they have all that talent, money, manpower and data, can they seem to not make a viewer anywhere near as good as third-party developers, working as a hobby.

Let us imagine, are perhaps 100 irreconcilably different positions on what would make the viewer ‘better’ than it is. The actual number might be 50 times that, but 100 will do for our purposes here.

Assume that Linden Lab’s notion of ‘betterness’ aligned with one of these positions, and they implement the changes in the official viewer. Now 1% of the users are super-happy, and 99% of the users feel like their needs have been ignored by Linden Lab. Granted the changes might actually please a slightly larger percentage, but even if we call it 5%, then we’re still talking about 95% of users who feel that their ideas have been treated like rubbish.

Ah, but what if Linden Lab picks and chooses from among all 100 groupings? Say they take an idea from each and implement it. Why, then nobody is happy at all. Everyone feels like they’ve been ignored.

Go figure. That looks like a lose-lose proposition right there.

Second Life is a very option-rich environment. It’s almost like an endless public park visited by – well, all sorts, really. People play games, buy and sell, have meetings, stage performances, go clubbing, sit and chat, make content. There may not be any such thing as an average user.

Could it be that the notion that a single kind of Second Life viewer that satisfies more than a few tens of thousands of users (if that) is frankly ridiculous?

There are quite a few kinds of Second Life viewers out there – and all of them trying to generalise. To focus on everything, as it were – which seems to be the problem Linden Lab is having.

Second Life is a general purpose virtual environment, but do we all need to always use general purpose viewers?

Maybe it’s time to start specialising.

What do you think?

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