Let's Look Into the Crystal Ball!
Here are my Second Life predictions for 2010.
1. Blue Mars will gain media coverage and awareness during 2010, putting pressure on Second Life to improve overall graphics and visual quality, and improve the customer experience. The launch of the Smithsonian inside Blue Mars will further gain media awareness, ratcheting up the pressure on Linden Labs.
2. The new 512k starter home policy will prove to be a huge success. Premium memberships will grow as existing residents are enticed by the starter homes.
3. Second Life will increasingly offer heavily zoned and content-rich theme areas to residents and businesses, moving away from the "anything goes" building codes that new exist. Covenant restrictions on building will become the norm in many areas.
4. By year-end 2010, 50 of the Global 1000 will have dramatically expanded their presence in Second Life, with collaboration being a key enterprise target.
5. There is a 30% chance of Second Life being acquired by a larger company in 2010. IBM, Microsoft, Sony, Facebook, and Google are all candidates.
6. There will be increasing awareness that Augmented Reality, and not pure Virtual Reality, will be the future for what we now call virtual worlds.
7. Avatar "cross-industry standards" will be experimented with (for example, using your Second Life avatar in Blue Mars) but will never see fruition. Technology providers will refuse to agree on controls.
8. More limits in term of inventory items and perhaps time utilization will be placed on non-premium account holders. Two classes of avatars, paid and free, will increasingly be realized as the norm in Second Life.
9. Adult content businesses will leave Zindra and move to mature rated areas or private estates. The lack of content enforcement by Linden Labs will make an "adult rating" even more of a profit liablity to sex businesses.
10. Lag and rezzing issues will be addressed in future client versions. The average customer experience will improve though 2010, since Second Life realizes it is key to future growth.