If you look around in the news, people are trying very hard to "prove", without a shadow of doubt, that Second Life is basically dead. The economy has stagnated; nobody wants to buy land; companies are moving out; other social networks are catching up; every tiny company that has one programmer and a designer are launching their own virtual world, and they all will be "faster, better, cheaper" than Second Life.
Linden Lab is also getting more tyrannical and shutting down everything attractive in SL. From gambling to ageplay to age validation to banking, with each blow, SL becomes poorer, and hordes of people are leaving. The markets crash. Insatisfaction rises. And, well, there is now only the mature content left to entertain the masses; with age validation, or the lack thereof, this will naturally also be deleted.
With nobody around having fun, everybody's closing down shop, and moving away, never to return. Or at least that's what I get from everybody I talk to: the media, the potential customers, the opinion makers. Even some of my partners frown upon me and ask if I haven't lost my mind and are too stubborn by remaining faithful to Second Life.
Enter the post-mortem era of Second Life. The virtual world is dead, but now you have to attend to the corpses as well. And, surprisingly, the corpses are a nice market. In fact, they're buying sims, and expect a return on their investment. And they do invest a lot! My company, a developer for Second Life, is getting more contracts in just these couple of weeks of January than on the same date a year ago (where the economy was blooming, according to the analysts). And they come from all areas — media, government, land rentals, small businesses, service industry. And they don't even discuss prices a lot; they want it done, quickly, and pay well.
So what's happening? Are people basically ignoring what the media are saying? Well, not really, because the first words I get when sitting down on a meeting are invariably: "Before we start... everybody says that SL is dying or even already dead. What do you think?" I point out to some statistics, like saying that there will be more registered users in SL than on Facebook by the end of the year; and that, overall, there hasn't been any visible reduction on either the economy or the land sales or the number of new accounts registered daily or the peak usage... so it's just the media panicking...
The strangest thing is, they listen. And after a few days or weeks, depending on the company, they are ready to start committing to an investment in Second Life. Weird. Why flog a dead horse?...
Well, perhaps, after all, the horse is not dead yet. It's just the bookies that are changing the odds. And perhaps it's now the time to place a bet and reap the benefits later, when people suddenly find out that, after all, the dead are still alive and kicking... and making the world spin.