What is Second Life? Well, it’s a 3D virtual world where everybody is a real person acting out their everyday fantasies. It’s a world that allows the participant to travel to thousands of beautiful and exciting places (all of which have been created by the second life community) whilst sharing their passions with like minded people. Visit the Summer Parade BALI Fashion Week, take in spectacular views in the replica of the Greek resort of Santorini or explore the Two Moon Paradise Mer Garden – an underworld fantasy land with mer dance animations and sea horse tours.
Your ‘avatar,’ can jump from buildings, fly, laugh, dance, cry, change clothes, take weird rides on virtual animals, gamble, buy a house, find a partner, have a baby – the sky in this case really isn’t the limit. Explore virtual cities, virtual museums, Shakespeare’s Library, Lost cities and much more!
What does Second Life Really Have to Offer?
The developer of Second Life is Linden Research. Founded in 1999, Linden Lab was the maker of the 3D virtual world and enabled it to be created by its residents (you). Founded by Philip Rosedale, the company is based in San Francisco and has managed to pioneer its own virtual currency and marketplace within the virtual world where hundreds of millions of user generated virtual items are bought and sold for real money!
Here is what Second Life's followers have been saying about this interactive world:
Of all the virtual worlds we visited, Second Life is the one we want to come back to the most. The people are friendly, and the environment is stunning—and we were able to help build it.
When you first join, you are taken to Prelude Island to acquire basic skills. The tutorial process is relatively lengthy; it took us 20 minutes to get to the mainland, but we needed that time to get comfortable with the relatively complex controls.
In Second Life, your avatar is completely customizable, with myriad variations of skin tone, eye color, hair type, clothing, shoes, and so on. And you can make changes to the world itself: You can purchase some land and build a house. Building in Second Life relies on a series of menu-based scripts that take some time to master. Although commands will be familiar to anyone who has used a basic design or graphics program, they aren't quite point-and-click.
After finishing your time at Prelude Island, you are transported to a standard starting area. Here you can check which of your buddies are online and move through the world by walking, teleporting, or flying. The last is definitely the most fun.
Although you can create weapons and do battle in special areas of Second Life, that is not a major draw. The game is designed for a more sophisticated virtual citizen, one who would be more interested in building a 3-D replica of the Eiffel Tower than in blowing away other denizens.
Second Life is a highly imaginative, creative environment. Visiting Second Life is like stepping into a Dali or Magritte painting in 3D. The "fully textured high-resolution" avatars are customizable to the "nth" degree, with dozens of sliders to change every micro-pixel of your avatar's shape, size, and color. While some "Lifers" (the preferred nickname of Second Life citizens) do their best to create miniature versions of their offline bodies, most use the opportunity to make themselves look as strange as possible. You never know what (or who) you'll see in Second Life, which is part of the fun.
While many gamers visit Second Life, it is not a "gaming" world per se. The main in-world activity is the building of interactive objects using a scripting language that is theoretically designed to be simple enough for those with no previous programming experience. This fits in with Second Life's stated goal of encouraging widespread group participation and creativity. Objects can be either donated to the world or can be sold for "Linden Dollars."
Second Life's often bizarre "waking dream" atmosphere may appeal more to creative artist and techie folks than to the casual social chatter. The world is so rich in features there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome to get started, which is somewhat alleviated by well-written help files available at the site and a first-visit tutorial. The very name "Second Life" conveys the idea that this is more of a rich, complex online experience than a place to drop by every once in a while for a quick game of "Tringo" with some buddies. If you get freaked out by seeing odd things that you can't explain, this world is not for you. But postmodern surrealists will love Second Life's ever-changing landscape with its stunning scenery and interesting creations. Plus, you can fly!
- Amazing depth of worlds
- Quick to setup an identity
- Graphics and game-play moves smoothly
- A great way to meet new people
- Create your own property and land in Premium version
- Very addictive
- Requires high-end hardware
- Servers may get overloaded
In general, the feedback is overly positive and most gamers find it highly addicting and can't wait for their next fix. The only drawbacks appear to be long loading times, the need for a high-spec computer and the loss of your social life.
Second Life have not been accredited by the BBB and they fall into an interesting online gaming niche category. Whilst it doesn't actually cost a penny to begin playing in the world of Second Life, users who find themselves immersed in this virtual world quickly find that will need a form of ready currency to play it properly.
Often mentioned in the media here are a few recent snippets from around the world:
The Guardian said:
Second Life: Kristen Sweet, fell for her husband Steve, 52, as an avatar
On 10 May 2007, we got married in Second Life. I've got a friend in Nuneaton on Second Life, so she was my bridesmaid, along with two online friends from Germany and Scotland. My brother goes on there, too, so he was Steve's best man, and my mum logged on so she could come along.
A year to the day later, we got married in real life. Since then we've had two children: Kira, who is four, and Harry, three. The children know how we met, as do our family and friends. Some of our Second Life friends have even followed our lead and got married in real life, too. You get closer more quickly if you meet online, because of all the talking.
We still go on Second Life: Kira is a brunette now and I've changed Nic to look more like Johnny Depp. I think of them as separate characters, but Steve and I say it's as if Nic and Kira are still in there, and we're just the by-product of them meeting. When we log off, they're probably out there partying somewhere.
Do not call Second Life a game. If you find yourself in the position of describing the game at all publicly, be prepared to be corrected: Second Life is not a game; it's a world. Let me amend that: Second Life is an experience, a world, a game, or whatever the players, residents, and consumers want to call it. In fact, theLinden Lab baby is whatever you want to make of it, and I have seen many, many sides of it over the last eight years since I joined the experience.
I was taken aback by just how big Second Life was. This is a world that has got 1 million people logging in every month, generating well in excess of $75 million a year
Rod Humble, CEO, Linden Lab
There’s no question that Secondlife.com is a popular website. Its global Alexa rank is 3,042 and its US ranking is 1,265. With over 18,000 sites linking in to its website it is a well respected business in its own right, attracting both males and females from around the world.
Second Life has a Google Page Rank of 7/10.
Compete.com states that it has 707,439 unique visitors per month and its ranking by UVS standards is 2,910.
Second Life features a high profile page on Facebook with over 261,000 likes. The page has details of user blog posts, special links to new destinations, pics of the day and, of course, a few hints and tips. They also have their own Pinterest page, with a whole host of pictures for users to explore and a presence can also be found on Twitter @SecondLife and has over 30,000 followers, details of events and recent news articles.
Venture to YouTube and you'll find Secret Life has made their own music videos, user tutorials and has captured moments of grand opening events. Secret Life is all over the web in social media and you'll find lots to smile about!
Second Life uses a secure (https) connection and the industry recognised 'padlock' symbol when taking payment information.
Second Life uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) 128-bit encryption by GeoTrust to ensure that customer's details such as credit card numbers and addresses remain confidential and secure.
Google Safe Browsing states that the Second Life website is not listed as suspicious, nor has it hosted any suspicious software or malware in at least the last 90 days.
Second Life is available in two versions. You can select the ‘Free’ version to begin with, to make sure you like what you see in your virtual world before opting for the ‘Premium’ version which begins at just $6 per month.
What do I get with the Premium Membership version of Second Life?
This is one of the few websites where it is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to compare pricing policies with that of other websites. If you want to play for free you can, but if you choose to immerse yourself in the world of Second Life you'll probably need to spend a few dollars here and there. On the plus side - virtual shopping is far cheaper than real shopping and if you were to purchase an xbox/playstation game etc. with the same capabilities as that of Second Life you'd spending serious dollars anyway.
This is one of the few areas where no shipping policy is needed and you won't have to wait very long to get your hands on your purchase. Simply download the Second Life platform wherever you are in the world and you can begin playing straight away. You'll want to check your computer specifications first, to make sure you have a computer that can deal with the memory and graphics that Second Life requires, but apart from that - it's all go, go, go!
Second Life accepts payment by a variety of differing credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Visa Electron, Delta and JCB. If you have a debit card displaying any of the aforementioned symbols these can be used in much the same way providing you have adequate funds in your account. Payment by the industry recognised PayPal is also allowed but payment by personal check is not accepted.
What is Second Life’s return policy? Well, that’s a tricky one. They state on their website that:
NO VALUE, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IS GUARANTEED OR WARRANTED WITH RESPECT TO ANY CONTENT, LINDEN DOLLARS OR VIRTUAL LAND. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS YOU MAY HAVE IN YOUR CONTENT OR ANY EXPENDITURE ON YOUR PART, LINDEN LAB AND YOU EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ANY COMPENSABLE VALUE RELATING TO OR ATTRIBUTABLE TO ANY DATA RELATING TO YOUR ACCOUNT RESIDING ON LINDEN LAB'S SERVERS. YOU ASSUME ALL RISK OF LOSS FROM USING THE SERVICE ON THIS BASIS.
However you look at it, if you're using real currency to purchase virtual goods, so as far as returns go it’s not going to be an easy subject. How do you return a virtual item or virtual land?
As far as their billing policy for subscriptions is concerned they do have a reimbursement policy if their server has experienced considerable unscheduled downtime. For all billing enquiries customers should contact the following toll free numbers:
- US/Canada: 800-294-1067
- France: 0805-101-490
- Germany: 0800-664-5510
- Japan: 0066-33-132-830
- Portugal: 800-814-450
- Spain: 800-300-560
- UK: 0800-048-4646
- Brazil: 0800-762-1132
Long distance (not free): 703-286-6277
Billing Support is available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week in the US, UK, and Canada and 7 days a week in all other countries listed above.
Best Available Second Life Coupon: