Second Life Prepping for a Second Boom

The founder of the popular online world says technology will drive a jump in the number of regular visitors

Second Life

Linden Labs

The knock on popular virtual world Second Life has been that it's a little slow, and not entirely easy to use. Sure, it has roughly 13 million registered citizens, but only a few hundred thousand are actual devotees who spend a fair amount of time in the alternate universe.

Part of the reason Second Life hasn't gotten to that level yet, says Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab founder and former chief executive, can be attributed to the popularity of laptops, most of which don't have the kind of 3-D graphics chops to properly render his virtual universe. But Rosedale believes that improvements in computers and connection speeds in the next decade should produce a boom in the game's popularity. If Rosedale is correct and Second Life is merely ahead of its time, it's unclear whether the promise of future improvement will be enough to keep the virtual world afloat in the present.