Linden Lab , the guys behind the wildly popular 3D virtual reality community Second Life , confirmed details on Friday that they will be dumping Teen Second Life as a secondary stand alone project. Teen Second Life will officially be closing its doors at the end of the year. However, teens will not be completely left out of the Second Life world. On or before the deadline of December 31, 2010 the main gates at Second Life will start accepting registrations from members who are 16 years old or over, a change from the adult only guidelines of the past. Second Life users had a brief look at this change at the SLCC2010 (the Second Life Community Convention) when the closing of Teen Second Life was briefly mentioned by Phillip Rosedale (better known as Phillip Linden as his avatar is called in Second Life).
In the Second Life Blog , “Terrence Linden” spoke about the success that they have seen with Teen Second Life and ways in which Teen Second Life has positively impacted the lives of young people who, in turn, have made a great contribution to the over all Second Life community as a whole. However, he also addressed the problems that having the separation between Teen Second Life and the main grid has caused by dividing families and making it more difficult for educators and students to interact. These reasons were cited among the motivations for making this change.
For those 16 and 17 year olds who are currently using Teen Second Life, their accounts and content will be moved to the main community and while they have not yet ruled out the possibility of allowing limited involvement in the Second Life community for the 13-15 year old age group, the blog did make it clear that this is not currently a company priority although Linden Lab has said that they will be speaking with younger users as well as their parents, educators, and others to find out what their needs are and how Second Life might be able to meet those needs in the future. Many in Second Life who have asked for a more family centered experience to include their children, students, and younger relatives will be happy to see these changes and those at Linden Lab are confident that the inclusion of the teen population into the larger Second Life community will be a positive thing for everyone concerned.
The merging of the two communities is among several changes that have been announced to occur in Second Life, some as early as the end of 2010 including faster load times, avatar complexity control, and increased usability. See the entire key note presentation from Second Life creator Philip Rosedale.