Sansar is Linden Lab’s newest immersive world experience. Linden Lab is the company behind Second Life. It is no surprise that Sansar is basically an upboot of that concept. The company publicly launched the new social virtual reality world Monday.
Sansar offers anyone with a compatible VR kit or PC the ability to enter virtual reality. Once there they can socially interact with other people on the platform in full three d, using VR avatars. Sansar will go one step further than the current market and allow users to create their own virtual games and environments.
The official video is kind of cool.
Sansar has been in development since early 2014, and (like hololens) it has been available to an early set of designers/creators. That group of people has created almost 2k VR ‘experiences’. The experiences range from museums and nightclubs to narrative game sequences.
“It’s been a very active period,” said Linden Lab’s Bjorn Laurin.
One experience even recreates the site of the Apollo moon landing, Laurin said. “You can actually walk on the moon.”
Why does anyone care about Sansar? Well mostly because of the chops that come along with being the company that created Second Life.
To be such a big company, its interesting that so many people only have a foggy idea of what the experience is. Especially considering the all encompassing nature of participating in it.
Second Life is an online virtual world, that was launched in 2003. By 2013, Second Life had approximately 1 million regular users.
In many ways, Second Life is similar to massively multiplayer online role-playing games; however, Linden Lab is emphatic that their creation is not a game: “There is no manufactured conflict, no set objective”.
Second Life users (also called residents) create virtual representations of themselves, called avatars, and are able to interact with places, objects, and other avatars. They can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, build, create, shop, and trade virtual property and services with one another.
The world is taking all of this stuff pretty seriously. For reasons that have been made abundantly obvious by the revolution brought about by social media.
But there are other real world changes to think about. Consider just economics.
Second Life also has its own virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, which is exchangeable with real world currency
There are entire classes of people who make a living on Second Life. The practice of exchanging money and Linden Dollars back and forth with the real world has been going on for a while. Melinda Suggs, a popular cabaret singer in Florida, has worked exclusively as a virtual real time chanteuse in Second Life cafes for the past year.
The virtualization of product is a staggeringly disruptive movement. After all, what will happen to all of those jobs manufacturing and shipping a table that only exists digitally? It doesn’t change much for the designers and creators, other than cutting everyone else out of the economic loop.
Consider these two wonderful discussions by the people who are taking VR to mass markets:
The Social and Philosophical Implications of Virtual Reality
Unlocking the true potential of social VR
Sansar promises to be a massive upgrade of its basic Second Life concept.
The Company is offering anyone signing up during the open beta an area of 4 X 4 kms. of virtual land for free to develop their own residences or experiences.
Users can either import existing 3D renders done with programs like Maya, or simply go to the Sansar store and buy predesigned consumer goods (like furnishings, clothes and stuff)
Sansar offers a free version or you can pay a $9.99 subscription for creators that want to build more than three separate experiences.
During the launch they are offering users a choice from more than 50 different avatars that can be customized. And more importantly VR creators are able to earn real money by selling their virtual items in the Sansar store — The main difference from Second Life being that the format that creates the 3d models is transferable to other VR environments. A lamp in Second Life was pretty much only useful in Second Life.
Sansar can not only be used with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but also with a regular PC without any additional VR hardware. But the company is also betting on content as a key differentiator from other social VR efforts, including Facebook’s own Spaces VR experience.
Laurin said that the company is already in conversations with a number of Hollywood studios, which could use the platform to create vast virtual worlds without having to start from scratch. “We can put you into ‘Game of Thrones,’” he said.