Is Second Life About to Become a Ghost World?

Second Life, one of the most hyped virtual worlds in history, is heading towards ghost town status. Intrepid tech reporter Wagner James Au broke the story over the weekend, noting that Second Life makers Linden Lab are at work on a top-secret new virtual world.

It's possible that this new virtual world is part of Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale's new project called High Fidelity.

Reps from Linden Lab said:

The next generation virtual world will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life, and we don't want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start. That doesn't mean you necessarily won't be able to bring parts of your Second Life over, just that our priority in building the next generation platform is to create an incredible experience and enable stunningly high-quality creativity, rather than ensuring that everything could work seamlessly with everything created over Second Life's 11 year history.

Though the company says that Second Life fans have nothing to fear, and that they will continue to support the virtual world, rumors suggest otherwise. Insiders at the company claim that most developers at Linden are already working on this new world, which will not be compatible with Second Life.

We've seen thriving social networks shut down before, and it's always a little sad. MySpace was once the place to see and be seen, though that's hard to imagine now; and of course AOL's dialup chat rooms were the most popular social networks of the late twentieth century. The question is always who will stay until the very last servers are shut down. Those people are in many ways like the stubborn citizens who refuse to leave their homes in a town whose industry and population have fled. Virtual ghost worlds may become more common as the internet enters middle age.

Read more about the fate of Second Life on Au's blog New World Notes