For many, Second Life still represents the closest thing to virtual sex on the web. But has Second Life become nothing more than virtual sex? An interesting debate has been ignited regarding claims that Second Life, often seen as a genuine alternative reality in which virtual economies were making real millionaires, has ‘declined’ into nothing more than a place to get some dirty virtual fun.
Barry Collins of PC Pro magazine initiated the debate by asking ‘Whatever happened to Second Life?’ and after wandering around deserted virtual streets and shopping malls began to realise that everybody was busy visiting the newly opened ‘Red Light District’ of Second Life, ironically introduced in an effort to improve its image.
A little research soon reveals why Second Life seems a lot quieter than the numbers suggest. In June, the company opened Zindra – Second Life’s “adult continent”, a huge plot of the virtual universe dedicated to content rated as “mature”, “adult” or even “PG”.
Given that sex and gambling accounted for the majority of the “most popular places” when I first visited, it was suddenly apparent why I was as lonely as a cloud in the parts of the Second Life universe that wouldn’t upset the clergy.
So why did Linden establish its very own red-light district? It seems the company decided it was time to clean up its act…
In an act of fairness, PC Pro gave Second Life CEO Mark Kingdon a chance to reply to the accusations, which you can read in full at : Lindon Lab boss : sex isn’t the key to second life
“In a major city there might be a place where you find adult entertainment but it might be in a specially zoned area. We’ve used that principle to reorganise Second Life.
“About 6% of the regions in Second Life are zoned ‘adult’,” he added. “And we’ve looked at adult very extensively over the last year, through many different lenses… and we’ve found it a very average in terms of the prevalence of adult content.
“There are certain things Second Life gets tagged with and that’s one of them. When you look at the facts, it’s actually quite different.”