Linden Lab boss: sex isn't the key to Second Life

19 Feb 2010

Second Life boss says adult content is only a small part of Second Life's appeal, in an exclusive interview with [i]PC Pro[/i]

Sex isn't the driving force behind the popularity of Second Life, according to the man who runs the virtual world.

Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon was talking exclusively to PC Pro, in response to our Whatever Happened to Second Life? feature, in which we struggled to find users inside the virtual world - except for when we visited the parts of the map dedicated to adult content.

In a major city there might be a place where you find adult entertainment but it might be in a specially zoned area. We've used that principle to reorganise Second Life

Kingdon, however, insists that sex isn't the key attraction for Second Life's hundreds of thousands of registered users. "We've taken a very proactive stance over the last year to create an adult-only continent where you need to be age verified to participate, and we did that because people want a more predictable experience," he said.

"In a major city there might be a place where you find adult entertainment but it might be in a specially zoned area. We've used that principle to reorganise Second Life.

"About 6% of the regions in Second Life are zoned 'adult'," he added. "And we've looked at adult very extensively over the last year, through many different lenses... and we've found it a very average in terms of the prevalence of adult content.

"There are certain things Second Life gets tagged with and that's one of them. When you look at the facts, it's actually quite different."

Island nations

When asked to explain why the adult areas appeared to be much busier than the rest of the map, Kingdon said it was down to the unusual geography of the Second Life map. "Second Life is a fascinating construct. There are mainland areas like [the adult continent] Zindra, where there's large contiguous land masses and that isn't actually the majority of land in Second Life.

"Most of the land in Second Life is in islands. The thing about that is there's no single place you can go and walk around like Zindra or the mainland of Second Life."

Search deficiencies

Kingdon dismisses allegations that vast parts of Second Life are empty, claiming that the in-world search tools make it too difficult for users to find other people and events.

"It sure is hard to find people and things in Second Life, particularly for the new user," he said. "It's one of the projects we're working very hard on this year.

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