Second Life founder returns to revamp his original metaverse

Second Life founder returns to revamp his original metaverse


Second Life founder returns to revamp his original metaverse


January 13, 2021 | 

  • Philip Rosedale thinks the answer to future shared worlds lies in the game universe he launched in 2003.

The metaverse isn’t a new concept. Not only did Neal Stephenson coin the idea in 1992, but some of us were literally living in virtual spaces with virtual currency and virtual storefronts nearly 20 years ago.

The virtual place many people went back then was Second Life. Philip Rosedale, Second Life’s founder, has decided to task a core team to work on evolving Second Life now that the metaverse has become a buzzword yet again. His hopes are that developing community-focused worlds like Second Life will solve some metaverse problems that aren’t necessarily being solved in VR headsets… yet.

After Second Life, Rosedale became focused on VR technology in 2013, co-founding a company called High Fidelity that promised high-end, low-latency VR. But High Fidelity started to pivot from VR to other technologies over the last few years, focusing on spatial audio most recently. In 2019, Rosedale published a goodbye of sorts to VR, stating that VR hadn’t reached a form that was good enough for most people to want to use. Talking with him over Google Meet in 2022, he still feels that way, calling VR headsets a blindfold to the real world that only some people feel comfortable enough to use.

Rosedale thinks VR headsets could hit an iPhone moment, but maybe not for another few years. In the meantime, he’s shifting focus to a metaverse platform that doesn’t require headsets: namely, Second Life. He isn’t the only person to feel this way: Even VR/AR software companies like Spatial have recently pivoted away from VR headsets as a way to reach more people. In many ways, that’s already the cross-platform pitch underlying recent metaverse moves from Microsoft and Meta.

Planar, a global leader in visualization technology, and sister company OptiTrack, the worldwide leader in 3D tracking systems, have joined other industry leaders and SMPTE®, the home of media professionals, technologists and engineers, to form The Advisory Group of the On-Set Virtual Production (OSVP) Initiative. This initiative is the first project within the society’s new Rapid Industry Solution (RIS) program.

SMPTE’s commitment to providing tools, standards and education on emerging technologies requires the society to operate with greater agility in responding to technology challenges. Planar and OptiTrack are proud to take part in SMPTE’s new initiative for the RIS program, which is focused on creating a portfolio of essential tools that can help the industry tackle the complexities of OSVP, including the development and curation of knowledge resources.

The companies’ participation follows the launch of Planar Studios in June of 2021. The initiative combines the advanced technologies, industry partnerships and personnel customers require to create realistic in-screen content for today’s ever-expanding virtual production (VP) and extended reality (XR) applications.

“The success of the On-Set Virtual Production Initiative hinges upon the expertise and support of a wide range of technology and thought leaders,” explained Hans Hoffmann, SMPTE president and head of media fundamentals and production at the EBU. “For this reason, SMPTE has established an Advisory Group drawing from emerging technology companies, traditional production users, manufacturers, educational institutions and professional organizations. We are so thankful to have the best minds in the industry to assess the challenges, establish our goals and deliver a fast-track response,” Hoffmann continued.

The key goal of the RIS OSVP Advisory Group is to establish interoperability, training, workflows, best practices and a unifying common language to smooth collaboration, building on whichever formats the creative industry chooses to leverage. SMPTE underwent in-depth discussions with groups and individuals in all aspects of the OSVP pipeline to uncover several hurdles that are currently preventing many from deploying these new content creation technologies.

Planar and OptiTrack’s participation in the Advisory Group allows both companies to have a voice at the table, helping review, recommend and guide the outputs from the group. As global industry leaders bringing decades of unmatched on-camera video wall display and optical tracking technology expertise, Planar and OptiTrack are well positioned to contribute to the two main goals of the initiative: enabling systems interoperability and training at all levels.

“Planar and OptiTrack are excited to be building a framework for the On-Set Virtual Production Initiative with SMPTE,” said Executive Vice President Adam Schmidt. “LED video walls and motion capture technology represent key components of today’s virtual studios and together, Planar and OptiTrack bring more than 60 years of experience delivering best-in-class display and optical tracking technologies. We look forward to collaborating with this impressive group of industry leaders and seeing what we can help establish to support future VP applications.”

Planar and OptiTrack will also work with SMPTE to produce training at all levels, building on SMPTE’s longstanding expertise in technical education. The companies will help develop unique offerings for general education, professional development, technology training and business planning and scheduling, with emphasis on applicability to the real world, drawing on Planar’s established leadership in LED video wall technology and on-camera broadcast studio installations as well as OptiTrack’s position as the largest motion capture provider in the world.

Source: CNET