Second Life. The name alone brings about a variety of images, usually ones involving furries and other odd debaucheries. It's really an odd amalgamation: one part chat, one part 3D world, one part faux-game. To me, it's always been something I've abhorred to call an outright "game" and one I would refer to more as a giant "tool box."
In a recent article on GamesIndustry.biz, Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble shared some very similar thoughts on Second Life. It's stated that creation is the third most popular activity in SL and that the future will be spent making it rise in popularity. He talks about some of the immediate plans, like automated path-finding for creations, which he states could make it easier for people to make things such as massively multiplayer RPGs within the Second Life world.
Linden Lab has been up to more than just that, though -- they're now branching out to other endeavors, starting with the acquisition of studio LittleTextPeople. The project that the studio is working on is one touted to be a kind of socially interactive and crafted storytelling. Little information is known about it other than that, and this is only the first of three new endeavors being put out by Linden Lab. What is clear, however, is that each project will be ones that seek to break the common perceptions of what a "videogame" is.
I've known people that have managed to do pretty amazing things in Second Life, from virtual architecture, replica weaponry and other avatar accessories, to full-on RPG systems down to the simulated dice roll. Anything that would allow more people to rise up and engage on such levels is certainly a good thing. At the very least, it will hopefully help drown out all the unicorn sex that people know it for, and that's definitely a positive.
Linden Lab: "The Weirder The Better" [GamesIndustry.biz]