It’s sea(son) change time and I’ve been reflecting with friends on my current favorite 3D platform, Second Life ®. So far I don’t think any Second Life true competitive advantages have been jeopardized. These are the List of Five:
- It’s still got tools any of us can use.
- It’s still declaring we own IP rights to content we create using those tools.
- It’s still a worldwide grid.
- It’s still got an in-world currency that can be exchanged for legal tender.
- It’s still trying to differentiate itself as a platform provider for the use of independent content developers and consumers.
Interestingly I do NOT put “it’s 3D” nor “it’s got IM and voice” in that list. Those are givens – you can already get IM and voice in Yahoo and Skype; you can already get 3D in WOW. My thesis is that SL competitors may select a SUBset of the List of Five to compete in and possibly do well. For example, OpenSim loses number 3 but could still do well privately. For another example, Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 attract a total worldwide audience of artists and entrepreneurs, but not necessarily corporations.
My thesis is also that SL has the current lead because it started first and because it has ALL of the List of Five. But the question is, for how long can any one platform have all five. And will a major change of “engine” force a change in the hierarchy of platforms?
I don’t know but I am trying to look ahead past the 2 year mark.