Manual Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life

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How, for instance, does one regulate something that is supposed to run on its own? Is it possible simply to create a space for people to use and then not govern its use? In Making Virtual Worlds, Malaby thoughtfully describes the world of Linden Lab and the challenges faced while he was conducting his in-depth ethnographic research there. He shows how the workers of a very young but quickly growing company were themselves caught up in ideas about technology, games, and organizations, and struggled to manage not only their virtual world but also themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion.

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In exploring the practices the Lindens employed, he questions what was at stake in their virtual world, what a game really is and how people participate , and the role of the unexpected in a product like Second Life and an organization like Linden Lab. Their economic values warrant further exploration: Malaby makes cautionary references to Lindens' neoliberal ethic, but marginalizes analysis of how this ethic gets expressed—even if allowing Second Life's individual and corporate users to newly profit from "play" has been lauded in popular accounts.

Do Lindens share the growing concerns of many professional content producers that users' unpaid online content production might displace [End Page ] their work? Are there game-like logics, too, in managing economic risks in the quick rise-and-fall world of digital enterprise?

Malaby's fresh insights are relevant not just to studies in computing history and culture, but also to If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'. View freely available titles: Book titles OR Journal titles.

Philip Rosedale of Second Life talks blockchain and virtual worlds

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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Linden Lab and Second Life 3. The past decade has seen phenomenal growth in the development and use of virtual worlds. In one of the most notable, Second Life, millions of people have created online avatars in order to play games, take classes, socialize, and conduct business transactions.

Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life

Second Life offers a gathering point and the tools for people to create a new world online. Too often neglected in The past decade has seen phenomenal growth in the development and use of virtual worlds.


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Too often neglected in popular and scholarly accounts of such groundbreaking new environments is the simple truth that, of necessity, such virtual worlds emerge from physical workplaces marked by negotiation, creation, and constant change. Thomas Malaby spent a year at Linden Lab, the real-world home of Second Life, observing those who develop and profit from the sprawling, self-generating system they have created.

Some of the challenges created by Second Life for its developers were of a very traditional nature, such as how to cope with a business that is growing more quickly than existing staff can handle.

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Others are seemingly new: How, for instance, does one regulate something that is supposed to run on its own? Is it possible simply to create a space for people to use and then not govern its use? In Making Virtual Worlds , Malaby thoughtfully describes the world of Linden Lab and the challenges faced while he was conducting his in-depth ethnographic research there.

He shows how the workers of a very young but quickly growing company were themselves caught up in ideas about technology, games, and organizations, and struggled to manage not only their virtual world but also themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion. In exploring the practices the Lindens employed, he questions what was at stake in their virtual world, what a game really is and how people participate , and the role of the unexpected in a product like Second Life and an organization like Linden Lab.

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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Making Virtual Worlds , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Making Virtual Worlds. Lists with This Book. Jul 07, Zachary rated it liked it. Most of the book was too meta for my taste.

Some sections were informative for any start-up engineering culture, though.