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Second Life, one of the earliest attempts at the metaverse, is branching out into the mobile game market.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 14, 2023

2 Min Read
Screenshot of Linden Lab's Second Life, featuring three developer-made characters.

Linden Lab confirmed its popular social game Second Life is going mobile. The developer recently released a video showing how the game will look on platforms like tablets and phones (both iOS and Android).

Second Life is effectively the original metaverse, (or one of its first attempts). That it's been able to survive exclusively on PC for nearly 20 years is impressive, and coming to phones in search of a new audience is another way for Linden to ensure it stays around for another 20 years.

In the video, Linden noted its past attempts at creating a mobile viewer for the game, but appears committed to seeing this one through. It underlined that time was taken to ensure that the app would function on all platforms before announcing anything. And it wanted to address two of its bigger hurdles: player avatars and "beautiful world views." 

Engineering vice president "Mojo Linden" revealed that Second Life's mobile viewer was built on the Unity engine. The engine, he said, has "paved the way for residents to be able to explore and engage across the virtual world using multiple mobile phone and tablet platforms." 

"We haven't tried to compromise too much on graphical fidelity," Mojo added. "It's all still recognizable." 

Though Linden Lab stressed that everything in the video was a work-in-progress, it was willing to say that it plans for Second Life's mobile version to carry over player data and information. Product operations VP "Patch" said it would be possible to do "pretty much anything you can do with the desktop Second Life viewer without being tethered to your computer." 

A beta version of Second Life will release on mobile later in the year.

Second Life's mobile version may give the game a second life

Second Life has been around since 2003, which makes it all the more surprising that a version for phones is arriving 20 years later. Even so, it's coming at just the right time. 

In recent years, several popular franchises (like Call of Duty or Diablo) have received mobile spinoffs, and success soon followed. The mobile market is looking particularly enticing for plenty of developers, which is why Bungie and Capcom are two among many other developers looking to get in on that action. 

One thing in Second Life's favor with its mobile version is the cross-progression (for lack of a better term) it'll have with its PC counterpart. Like Project Rene, the codename for the next installment in EA's The Sims franchise, Linden intends for players to have the same experience on their phones as they do on their computers.

A move like this ensures that Second Life community won't be split up into two different ecosystems, which is particularly important for a game with an internal economy such as this.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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