First, they are sponsoring a contest called The 2010 Linden Prize. As described:
The Linden Prize will award one Second Life Resident or team with $10,000 USD for an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world. This annual award is intended to align with Linden Lab’s company mission, which is to connect all people to an online world that advances the human condition. The criteria for winning are:Clearly the folks at Linden are looking for corporate and educational uses that extend beyond the virtual world into the physical world with behavior, attitude and other changes influenced by working, collaborating and learning in a virtual space. See more at The Linden Prize.
- Work in Second Life that also achieves tangible, compelling results outside of Second Life.
- Distinctive, original work using Second Life that clearly demonstrates high quality, execution, function, aesthetics and technical sophistication.
- Work that has the capacity for inspiring and influencing future development, knowledge, creativity, and collaboration both inside and outside of Second Life.
Second, on November 4th (tomorrow), the behind-the-firewall release of Second Life will go public. It has been undercover with the code name Nebraska but it will be announced formally at at Metanomics in-world event. Rumor has it that pricing for the behind the firewall Second Life Enterprise starts at $55,000 and that it will be handled by a value-added network of service providers (see more below.)
These announcements come on the heals of Second Life announcing that the Second Life economy hit One Billion Total User Hours last quarter, a milestone.
A representative from Second Life also indicated they are looking to go mobile as well. He is quoted as saying:
We plan to bring Second Life to mobile devices in the future, but rather than recreating the full 3D inworld experience you get with the Second Life Viewer, it will likely focus on the functionality most appropriate for mobile devices -- such as the ability to communicate with friends and colleagues who are inworld. Already, several developers have used the open source Second Life Viewer to bring varying degrees of the experience to mobile devices. For example, Genkii's Sparkle iPhone app enables residents use their iPhones to IM with friends in-world.Check out the full interview. Looks like Second Life is on the move toward enterprise integration, further expansion into academic and corporate organizations and an effort to make virtual worlds more mainstream through a network of what they call Gold Solution Providers (currently there are 35 of these providers.)
The future for virtual worlds just got a whole lot more interesting and are coming to an online learning experience near you!
To get ahead start on virtual worlds in 2010, you might want to check out the following book which covers several projects that are worthy of the Linden Prize.