Sansar at Death's Door - Why Linden Lab's attempt at competing with VRChat has failed

I was made aware of a posted on James Wagner Au's blog regarding 2020 predictions for SL, namely the following in brief:

" Unable to handle the burden of Sansar, Linden Lab will sell off Second Life and inevitably the platform will be shut down."

With all due respect to the creator of this comment - this has to be the biggest slice of Wisconsin Bullshit that I've ever heard. And this article is going to explain exactly why, along with why Sansar failed to begin with.

A Lack of Business Sense

The idea that Linden Lab would sell off Second Life, its' most profitable venture, in favor of a failing business venture that will never get off the ground - is so absurd that it cannot even be defined accurately like that. That, and look at past ventures under Linden Lab, namely Desura. When Desura, a competitor to Steam, fell in Linden Lab's lap, they sold it to someone before it inevitably died.

You see, for those not familiar with basic business strategy or.. even logic for that matter - throwing your cash cow, the product that keeps your business afloat - in favor of one you may have immmense love or hope for in succeeding - is not a bright idea. Sad for those who love Sansar, I know, but it's just the reality of things, and I don't see Linden Lab selling off their cash cow to fund a service whose profitability went the way of the dodo when VRChat took off with its' entire audience.

If anything, Sansar has been a money sink for Linden Lab. They've poured everything into trying to get people to join, from advertising, to promoting it alongside Ready Player One, to even asking Monstercat, one of the EDM scene's biggest indie record labels, to host a fucking concert in Sansar. All to no avail. Sansar is a money sink with no reason to keep it around. If I were running the office at Battery Street, the first thing I would do is tell my board of directors - Begin plans to shutter Sansar by Summer of 2020. Send out notices, suspend currency purchases permanently, and prepare to shut off the lights.

Say what you will about the numerous payment SNAFUs with Second Life, but I assure you that many of them were done to cushion Sansar, and that in and of itself is a bad business practice, to rely on one product to sate the needs of another when it should have been long since self-sufficient.

Sansar Failed due to High Expectations and Lack of an Audience

When Sansar was first rumored to be in the works, the plaform was considered as a successor to SL, with many people fearing that SL was going to shut down in the coming year to be replaced by this unknown successor.

Little did we know that Sansar was not anything like SL. Instead of a vastly interconnected world, we had a world that was instanced in isolated areas from one another. Many of the things you could do in SL, you couldn't in Sansar. When it released, it was still a lackluster product, and it is to this day.

And on top of that, even with an Advertising campaign, Sansar never went anywhere. Sansar was always, along with many other VR-oriented worlds, living in the shadow of both Second Life, and its' VR-oriented competitor, VRChat.

People who wanted a virtual world experience but didn't have VR or couldn't due to numerous reasons - flocked to Second Life. And thanks to a grassroots movement of VRChat creators, VR-capable users moved to VRChat in droves, to the point that at its' peak, VRChat was able to compete with Second Life in terms of concurrent users.

I've posted more about this on my Medium here nearly two years ago, here.

But suffice it to say - Sansar should be on the cutting block, if it's not already.

And to end this post, I have this to say personally, to CEO Ebbe Altberg.

I know you all at Battery Street did your best to get Sansar off the ground. Many of us do wish it would have gone right, but it hasn't.

It's time to accept this and focus on improving for the future. To make SL, your other products better, and prepare, if you ever do - to take another shot down the line.

It's time to kill Sansar. I leave that to you.

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