New Second Life Era Allows Greater Customization, Control

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-04-22 Print this article Print

Linden Lab has announced a new era for its Second Life virtual world environment where users are allowed greater customization and creative control over their virtual experience. Part of the move is to allow users more control over adult content.

Linden Lab has announced a new era for its Second Life virtual world environment where users are allowed greater customization and creative control over their virtual experience. A first move includes the ability to filter adult content on the Second Life environment, which already requires users to be at least 18 years old.

Indeed, company officials said by enabling users to filter content by adjusting their search settings, Linden Lab is able to preserve the founding principles of Second Life while evolving the medium to better serve the needs of its growing and increasingly diverse community.

"From the beginning, Linden Lab has led the way in the development of virtual worlds and has set the standard on many cultural and social issues involved with virtual communities," said Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Lab, in a statement. "Preferences and community standards vary tremendously across industries, countries and cultures; our goal is to retain as much of the freedom as possible while continuing to push the medium and our platform forward. We made this decision, and defined and developed this program based on the direct requests and feedback we received from the Second Life community. As we continue to grow, it is crucial that we maintain the diversity of user-generated content while providing enhanced controls to support a wider range of uses."

The new Second Life initiative includes:

??Ç         The definition and implementation of a three-tiered rating system - PG, Mature or Adult - that will be used to identify content and set individual preferences for Residents. Definitions of each of these maturity ratings are available on Second Life Support Center.

??Ç         The implementation of a new account verification system. In order to access Adult regions and search results, Second Life users will need to verify their accounts in one of two ways: a) by having payment information on file, or b) by using Linden Lab's age verification solution, provided by Aristotle.

??Ç         The setting of maturity ratings for all regions, classifying them as PG, Mature, or Adult. Mature remains the default setting for all Second Life users. Access to Adult regions will be restricted to Residents with verified accounts.

??Ç         The migration of adult-oriented content from the Second Life mainland to a newly created continent. A timeline and specific details on how the migration will be managed and implemented is being finalized in consultation with those affected and will be published later in Q2.

??Ç         The filtering of search results according to maturity ratings and content preferences. Search results using Adult keywords will appear only for Residents with verified accounts.

This will provide a more predictable experience for Second Life users, a group that contains a blend of consumers, companies and cultures from around the world.

Meanwhile, Linden Lab will soon make available version 1.23 of the Second Life Viewer available as a release candidate (RC), the company said. This iteration will have a series of controls that will enable Residents to set maturity levels for regions, set individual preferences and filter search accordingly. To help enforce, manage and measure the success of the program, Linden Lab is implementing several automated processes to supplement its existing abuse reporting procedures.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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