Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com, participated in the round. So that tells you something. Second Life is going to become even more commercial than it already is.
Indeed, Philip Rosedale, chief executive of Linden Lab, tells us he wants to make the game more mainstream, so that people can make money by doing or selling whatever they want. Second Life now boasts 165,000 residents, and of those around 20,000 people are using it every day, he said. Players are spending $5 million on goods and services per month, on things like clothing and jewelry that they can buy from others. You multiply that by 12 months, and you have an annual economy of about $60 million at Second Life. Not bad.
He said about 180,000 distinct items were bought or traded last month, which makes the selection on Second Life about the “size of four WalMarts,” he said. He said the next challenge is to draw people who have less free time on their hands, which means allowing them to find things and places by giving them more sophisticated search technology, for example.
Noteworthy are the four or five night clubs where you can find people playing live music. “It’s pretty similar to the world, minus eating,” Rosedale says. He said one music label actually released a new artist via Second Life — by uploading the artist’s music in one of these bars. A couple of hundred visitors will stop by to hear folks play in one of these popular clubs, Rosedale says, which is “frankly, more than you’d get in a club in San Francisco, unless you’re stepping up to the Fillmore.”
Current investors Benchmark Capital, Catamount Ventures, software pioneer Mitch Kapor, and the Omidyar Network also participated in the round.