Nautilus

The Man Who Created Second Life Thinks We Can Make an Earth-Sized Virtual World

Over 10 years ago, a digital experiment called Second Life launched, and excitement surged about the idea of interacting in online virtual worlds. Created by Linden Lab, a company founded by Philip Rosedale, the platform gained popularity as people swarmed to participate in a new form of social connection. But, Second Life’s period of rapid growth was brief. By 2010, its population of 88,000 concurrent users had withered to nearly half its former size.

Philip RosedalePhoto courtesy of Kiki Sanford

Yet, technology advances, and now virtual space is becoming much more real with the appearance of immersive, virtual reality headwear, manufactured by companies like the Facebook-backed Oculus VR and Microsoft.

Riding this wave of virtual reality expansion, Rosedale’s new company, High Fidelity, is developing the successor to the Second Life experience. I spoke with him about his thoughts on the future of VR and human interaction. We used Google Chat. It

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