what’s the future of OpenSim-based virtual worlds?
there are so many options coming out but also the start of trends as OpenSim goes from “pioneer” and novel to more mainstream. by mainstream, i mean within the fairly small second Life/OpenSim community. OpenSim is not close to the SL concurrency and i have no idea what the real SL number is. counting someone active that logs in once in 30 days does not equate to an active user of virtual worlds in my book. this blog has seen about 50,000 unique visitors in the last year (that means no one is counted twice in the year – well, no same machine) and i would guess that is about the number of truly active virtual world users (i’m not sure there is any logic behind my interpretation!) =D
OpenSim has shaped up to be a viable alternative to Second Life for many purposes and we see a growth in schools, universities, municipal, military, and corporate use. many of those don’t need (and some don’t want) the huge user base that Second Life offers. for art and music, Second Life still reigns supreme but that may see a shift if Kitely ever gets their act together with a paid service. i point that out because having a “free” service that says it will eventually go commercial does not inspire confidence for “real” use. it’s too much of an unknown and, as i have stated before, Kitely needs to charge so that people can make plans to use it (why would i develop something for large scale use when that vital part – money – is yet to be determined). if a cloud-based system can be relied upon, large venues like concerts and clubs could be run more economically than inSL
for those large venues, a private server can also work well (this all assumes hypergridding, and i will get to that eventually) with something like a SimHost set up where for $389 a month (mention me for $370) would get you 8 cores and 24 gigs of RAM. before you spit out your Mountain Dew all over the place, many SL venues have four sims for big events and that’s almost $1,200 a month! taking a massive server like this could mean setting up as few as one region to make a kick butt venue that should perform like four to six SL sims!
a good example of savings by shifting from SL to a private server would be like Dan Park’s Virtualis Center. Dan is a professional meeting planner and has been in that business for 20 years. he has real certified MPI meeting planners set up corporate in-world event. the last i checked, he had 4 sims inSL, so $1,200 a month. but his clientele is from the corporate world, not SL, so moving to OpenSim would seem to make a ton of sense
other “large venue” offerings are starting to come out as well (no pun intended). Gay SanFrancisco (125 OS regions and has a fab beginners guide) is an example of a specialty grid that can host large events and there are others as well. places like the SL City of Edmonton would do very well to become OpenSim-based and host special events as a way to keep interest in what they are doing (they seem kind of dead inSL)
places that can do large events – Kitely, a private group with their own server, and specialty grids – could change the way we view and use virtual worlds
we have a paradigm that is heavily shaped by Second Life that is shifting from being an in-world citizen with a parcel of land on a sim to being an owner of your own region
Maria pointed out a shift in the percentage of regions on the OSGrid which shows more and more independent standalone regions are emerging. most people could easily host their own grid on their own machine for no monthly cost and have a place to call home. a home grid can support two or three dialed in friends depending on your broadband. if you don’t want to do that, you can get regions for as low as $10 USD a month!
will this model, what i call retirement living, be the emerging one?
people will have their homes where they can build and create all they want and have a few close friends drop by, and for large events they’ll use a community centre