Before Facebook and others talked about the “metaverse” nearly 20 years ago, Second Life let millions of people take part in virtual worlds. Now, after all this time, the game’s creator, Linden Labs, has told Ars Technica that it is making a mobile version of the game. Later this year, a beta version is set to come out.
The app’s publisher gave some information about it in a YouTube video that was posted to Second Life’s community forum. It is being made with Unity, mostly so that it will be easy to make the game and get it out to both iOS and Android phones and tablets. It also shows some footage of characters and places, as well as how Linden Labs will try to make it as similar as possible to the desktop game.
Facebook has had trouble getting the metaverse off the ground, but more than 73 million accounts have been made for Second Life, and the number of active users hit 900,000 during the pandemic, 17 years after the game came out. The company told Vice in 2020 that typical virtual events include “live music shows, shopping fairs, fan fiction conventions, book and poetry readings, academic lectures, fashion shows, and art exhibitions.”
Linden Labs was making a VR version of the game called Sansar, but in 2020, they stopped working on it and sold the rights. The company said it did this to become “cash-positive,” but it also said that people didn’t buy VR headsets as quickly as it had hoped. In this case, it makes sense to switch to mobile, but it’s still unclear if people will still be interested in Second Life after all this time.