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Microsoft Rumored To Buy Second Life 223

Jamie noticed a rumor making the rounds: Microsoft buying Second Life. Nobody is confirming or denying anything, much less announcing anything sounding like a price. Or a reason why this makes any sense to anyone.
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Microsoft Rumored To Buy Second Life

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:10PM (#33754134)

    No confirmation, no denials, no explanation, no reason to believe it at all... ...and this is news?

  • Obviously (Score:5, Funny)

    by deep9x ( 1068252 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:10PM (#33754136) Homepage
    They need it to compete with the runaway critical and commercial success of Playstation Home.
    • or to organise virtual chat lobbies on MSN live, whose quality and relevance could even reach Microsoft Bob levels.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:38PM (#33754356)

      Home has turned out to be a massive success for Sony. Microsoft has to do something because right now their online service is getting laughed at by gamers:

      * Forced 50 dollar a year online fees
      * Laggy P2P based networking for games
      * Tiny online game sizes because of the horrible P2P networking tech
      * Their creepy ripoff of Nintendo's Mii avatars

      Compared to Sony's:

      * Free online gaming for every single player
      * Standard dedicated servers for all major games just like in PC gaming
      * Gigantic player counts for online games thanks to the dedicated servers
      * The massive Home online service

      Home is absolutely packed with people at all hours of the day with almost every person spending money constantly on Home items for their characters and personal spaces. The amount of money Sony is making off of the Home service is huge when you add up just low estimates for what people are buying every month.

      Sony has been working on Home since the early PS2 days. Combined with their long history of experience in MMORPG tech and development it is going to be basically impossible for Microsoft to take Second Life and turn it into anything that can compete with Home.

      • Home was not obviously successful to anyone, it was actually kind of a flop, but Sony has stuck with it and they continue to make it better. Now, it's a fairly good matchmaker and it does provide something extra that is significant and free. I'm still waiting for homes where you display your trophies on the wall, though. That said, it does make good money for Sony given the numbers
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by RingBus ( 1912660 )

          Home did generate massive amounts of hatred from Xbox owners in the gaming media as expected. That is the only possible way you could make the absurd claim that Home has been anything but a massive success. But outside of angry fans of other consoles with nothing to compare to Home, the services has been absolutely flooded with gamers from day one.

          The service was so successful right from the very first month Sony was absolutely giddy reporting the number of users and amount of money they were making from on

      • MS has 25 million live subscribers. @ $50 each, that's $1.25bil. Plus, they have likely sold more than 600mil worth of downloads (citation) [], so call it 1.85 $bil/yr.

        Sony has announced that they will also be adding a $50 subscription fee, so that benefit is gone. So MS might be losing small market share, but 'getting laughed at by gamers' might be a bit of an exaggeration.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) *

          MS has 25 million live subscribers. @ $50 each, that's $1.25bil.

          I'm no expert in Xbox Live, but your cited article [] doesn't match your figures. It says that only half the 25 million users paid the $50 Gold subscription:

          Microsoft says about half the service's 25 million users paid an annual fee to play games online like "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" in the year ended June 30. That would be about $600 million.

          So rather than $1.85 billion dollars of sales that you estimate, it is more like $1.2 billion that your article estimates. Still nothing to be laughed at. I can only assume that the grandparent poster meant to say was that the Xbox Live service was laughed at by Playstation gamers. Which they would, I suppose.

        • I hope Sony doesn't start charging for online - I'm seriously considering dumping my XBox 360 just because of XBox Live fees. I play online so infrequently the flat rate is a horrible deal for me, easily more than $1 / hour, but I'd still like to be able to play online once in a while.
      • by RingBus ( 1912660 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:46PM (#33754780)

        Home is massive. The amount of work Sony has put into it over the years is enormous. A full MMORPG style gaming engine. Media streaming tech and servers. Integration with games and the PS3 system software. Huge amounts of tools and processes for adding content from Sony themselves and vast numbers of third parties.

        Microsoft would have to spend years coming up with anything remotely similar. I have a hard time imagining they are really going to try to come up with a copy of Sony's Home. There is burning anger from the humiliation the huge success Sony has had with Home both from the gigantic userbase and enormous support from third party gaming companies.

        But everything at Microsoft points to them no longer really trying to compete with Sony and the PS3 and instead have given up and turned to trying to turn the old Xbox 360 hardware into a Wii type device. They have been closing down internal studios and other internal Xbox related teams for the past two years. They now only have about 3 first party studios. Suddenly ramping up the resources and personnel to try to create an answer to Sony's enormous Home online world just doesn't make sense. Whatever they come up with is going to be so late and rushed that it is going to just look like junk in comparison.

        • I doubt there is any burning anger over at MS directed towards Sony. They should be happy that they are in second and that they have a yearly revenue stream from millions of people. XBox is an investment that they would love to duplicate with their other consumer devices. XBox also keeps the company in the news.

          I think maybe you are a troll or your post was very acute sarcasm. Sony just released their Wii copycat controllers. At least MS has an innovative motion control scheme.

          What is funny is that b

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by CronoCloud ( 590650 )

            The eyetoy/eye predates the Wii, and Sony was working on that wand controller in the PS2 days, they even had prototypes. Didn't release it because the tech wasn't quite there yet. IIRC the limitation was the original eyetoy's resolution and the PS2 wasn't quite powerful enough to do what they wanted with it AND put out pretty graphics while processing the video.

      • Please. I use SL and have a PS3, and while Home has improved and is actually "fun" now, it's no SL. Sure it looks nicer and is smoother, but it's not the sandbox that SL is.

        For example, just today I made up some signs for an event, that will teleport people to other locations where other sub-events are being held. I'm no scripter or builder but even I can slap a few prims together to make something useful. You can't do that in Home, you can only consume. While I like consuming in SL...there's more to d

  • by aquila.solo ( 1231830 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:10PM (#33754138)
    Wouldn't that imply they had a first?
  • IP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:14PM (#33754174)
    The only reason I can think of is they want to pick up any patents they own and sue people. Perhaps I'm bitter ... it seems that's the only reason companies get bought these days.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm looking at this two ways: What could MS use SL technology for? and As bad as SL is, can MS POSSIBLY make it worse? Their track record says "YES" but SL's quality says "OH GOD NO, GEOCITIES EXPLODED INTO 3D!"
      • Two words: Clippy World
      • I'm looking at this two ways: What could MS use SL technology for?

        It's more of, "how can Microsoft push its agendas better by buying SL?" Here is how.

        Currently the SL main grid runs on Linux servers, with Mono powering the scripting engine. However, there is an open source reverse-engineered replacement server for the official SL servers, called OpenSim. OpenSim is written in C#, and has gotten some support and interest from Microsoft. You can currently only use the official servers in the SL main grid, while people outside tinker with OpenSim.

        Microsoft can buy SL,

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      Microsoft usually buys companies to end the potential competition and in some cases tries to make Windows version of them and they fail. A recent example is Danger. As for Second Life, I can see them trying to spin it into a form of 3D social media thing where they can tie it to Microsoft controlled API's with something like Sliverlight. Otherwise, I don't see another reason for it and the patent troll stuff will only make them look worst than they already do. Their brand is already quite tired and tarnis
    • Well, they're using a lot of MS tech very well... Their backend is .Net based IIRC, not sure if they're using the DLR though. It seems that whenever someone creates a popular app using MS tech they're often bought out. Groovr and Visio were both apps using the MS COM based scripting engine, and both bought out. Not aware of any apps more popular that used it.
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:14PM (#33754178) Homepage Journal

    ... Or a reason why this makes any sense to anyone.

    • They have decided that the scripting language is far superior to Jav... er, C# and .NET. In fact, it's superior to anything Windows was written in.
    • Or, ... they got confused when they saw all of that embracing and extending going on in the virtual space of Second Life.
    • ... Or a reason why this makes any sense to anyone.

      • Or, ... they got confused when they saw all of that embracing and extending going on in the virtual space of Second Life.

      That's probably more like it. :p

    • They have decided that the scripting language is far superior to Jav... er, C# and .NET.

      The Second Life scripting language compiles to run on the CLR. Second Life has embedded mono in their client.

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:09PM (#33754580)

      they got confused when they saw all of that embracing and extending going on in the virtual space of Second Life.

      That was cruel, when you said that the Furries first came to mind, and then shortly after than visuals of the embracing and extending you mentioned...

      Thanks a lot.

  • Because... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:14PM (#33754184) Journal

    ...because Bill Gates wants to make his Linden dollar purchases for "Gorean" equipment deductible?

    ...because Silverlight will be EXL-compatible?

    ...because Microsoft is replacing C# with LSL?

    ...because it's a talent grab in the customer service department?

    ...because IE10 will be based upon the Second Life Viewer?

    ...because Phillip Rosedale has a screenshot of Steve Ballmer's avatar in a slinky red dress that he will release if Microsoft doesn't pony up the cash?

  • by Eternal Vigilance ( 573501 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:15PM (#33754188)
    Maybe they're only buying it inside Second Life.
  • don't care

    Hell, I'm even surprised that second life is still up and running considering the collective ADD that 'net users demonstrate

  • by negatonium ( 1103503 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:18PM (#33754214)
    See this is what happens when you tell some guys with billions of dollars to "go get a life"..... I know it sounds like a crazy scheme but then they laughed at Microsoft Bob too... Uh, wait....
  • by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:19PM (#33754222)
    The code base for the viewer is GPL, but they have certain terms you must meet before the viewer can connect to the servers. Would MS change those terms to lock out Linux (or MacIntosh)?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by corbettw ( 214229 )

      If they did, would anyone notice?

    • Knowing MS, probably. However, as the other responder said, would anyone notice? How many Linux users use SL?

      • Not a lot, but I suspect there's a higher percentage of Linux users amongst the oldbies/scripters/builders/movers and shakers than amongst the "HOWLZ-ing" masses.

    • oh pretty much guaranteed... they'd "upgrade" the server interface to require Silverlight to connect and then make sure it uses silverlight features that moolight doesn't have...
  • Microsoft is purchasing this in anticipation of starting a virtual brothel in Xbox Live. Subscribers will be able to pay real money to participate in virtual (fake) sex acts with complete strangers.
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Microsoft is purchasing this in anticipation of starting a virtual brothel in Xbox Live. Subscribers will be able to pay real money to participate in virtual (fake) sex acts with complete strangers.

      Sure that would be new? As an outsider, I though the xbox FPS scene was all about the teabagging. That and using weed inspired names. And acting like spoiled 10 year old boys, even if they're 40 yrs old and living in moms basement. Other than that, yeah.

      • It's not that much different on the PS2/PS3, though I think there's a slightly higher percentage of non-assholes willing to tell the weed-inspired, teabagging, spoiled boys to shut up. Stull not enough to make the experience "good"

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Sad thing is, that might even make the XBox profitable.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:24PM (#33754260) Homepage Journal

    I'm betting Microsoft is seeing the money they can make from furries.

    I had an SL avatar, ran it into a furry hangout, oh look, a stripper pole. I get on it, leave to take care of something that needed urgent attention, come back and I've suddenly got the equivalent of $50USD.

    I didn't do a damned thing and made $50. Furries are unusually un-thrifty with their money, it seems.

  • No, no... the rumor is all wrong. MS is trying to buy "A Second Life".

    Unfortunately, didn't Gates & Ballmer sell their souls' to the Devil along time ago?

  • Microsoft was once a hugely internally competitive company, one that favored the absolute hot dog. The person that could write code and deliver code faster than anyone else (who cares if it can be understood as long as it was written with Hungarian Notation). Obviously some things have changed in the 15 or so years since I was there. Still, this environment is increasingly ineffective as software complexity goes up by leaps and bounds, and their ability to reward working in such a crappy, loner, dog eat

  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:33PM (#33754320) Homepage Journal

    two words:

    They've been rumored to be active in one of the open-source secondlife clones for a while now, so it's not a matter of wanting the access. Secondlife has been thoroughly, totally mismanaged for years so it's not the expertise (besides, didn't they just lay off most of their employees?).

    There's only one, single thing that they would gain from this purchase; and it's so obvious that I'm literally shocked no one has mentioned it yet.

    They want the patent portfolio, so that they can shut down any competing open source clones and prevent anyone else from operating in that space.

  • Its a Sick Joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobertLTux ( 260313 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:38PM (#33754358)

    From what ive heard on the SecondLife Beta group this is laughable at best

    Why would MicroSoft want to buy a company that
    1 has massive LINUX installs (the SL grid farms)
    2 is running about 3 minutes from being sued into a crater 85% of the time
    3 has nothing that a company like MS needs or wants (the L$Mega types most likely HATE microsoft)

    Now the whole Mesh beta thing is lots more interesting

    • by RLiegh ( 247921 )

      Why? so they can use the patents that they'd buy to force the open source projects to shut down, and then migrate the servers and clients away from Linux and onto Windows.

    • One word.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:07PM (#33754566)

      Why would MicroSoft want to buy a company that
      1 has massive LINUX installs (the SL grid farms)
      2 is running about 3 minutes from being sued into a crater 85% of the time
      3 has nothing that a company like MS needs or wants (the L$Mega types most likely HATE microsoft)


    • Maybe they think they can turn it into a Minecraft clone.

      Why would they do that? I dunno. I desperate grab for relevance?

      I doubt the rumor is true.

    • It hasn't been "MicroSoft" since the 80s.
  • It's probably not such a bad idea really. Microsoft are seen as boring, stagnant, and not making any particularly exciting moves in terms of new ideas & new products. Second Life is terrible these days, boring, clunky, ugly and crap, but the fundamental idea is pretty incredible - if Microsoft could take what's there and build upon it/somethow breath some life into it, I reckon it could have some serious potential, a second life if you will. It'll be spare change for MS, so not such a bad gamble IMO.
  • They'll probably integrate it with that annoying new Xbox gadget. The virtual whores in SL will be thrilled!

  • After all, they've been showering people with software-penises since the late 1980s.

  • Who can say? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:45PM (#33754776) Homepage Journal
    I can see a great new UI paradigm that couples Surface with 2nd Life, maybe. Maybe Microsoft (finally) has a new trick up their sleeve. Or they are simply illustrating yet again how cutting edge they are ten years ago. I dunno...
  • And people still use it?
    • by TRRosen ( 720617 )

      Awww you beat me to it. Seriously, no one has cared about second life in years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CronoCloud ( 590650 )

      Yep, concurrency is about 10x what it was back in 2006. It's not super-huge, but it does have a core of dedicated users, and a small number of new people joining every day.

  • ...that gets all the big names-- but only when they're embarrassingly past their prime.

    It may only be a rumor, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it turned out to be true.

  • I know why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spleen_blender ( 949762 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:48PM (#33755398)

    XBox Live avatar world, like a virtual world with social networking built in. Sidestep gains from any other social network by making it unique (virtual environment) and exclusive (XBox Live).
    • Why would you need second life for that? The main feature of second life is the user created content, something you definately don't want on XBox Life. The rest is just a fancy 3D chat, and those are not exactly innovative or hard to implement.

  • In other news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rwyoder ( 759998 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:58PM (#33755444)
    Second Life still exists???
  • My guess... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Syberz ( 1170343 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @08:16AM (#33757414)

    Assuming that this indeed is true, my guess is that they want the technology to develop their own MMO or use Linden's expertise for their cloud based offerings.

    Buying the tech and expertise is cheaper than developping your own after all.

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @11:59AM (#33760086)

    I'm in the tech industry, I play video games, I have a PS3, four Macs and three PCs, I'm 40 and have teenaged children...I'm no recluse, yet I've NEVER seen Second Life except in an episode of The Office. I've also never seen The Sims. I'm beginning to think there's some sort of ratings conspiracy to hype up products that don't really exist.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein