Second Life Loses a Customer

Thanks to a post on Clickable Culture, I’ve just discovered another user-generated-content-centric MMORPG called Active Worlds.

Apparently Wells Fargo is transitioning its private MMOG, Stagecoach Island, out of Second Life and into Active Worlds. Stagecoach Island attracted plenty of attention back when it was announced, just three months ago.

I’ve read a few rumors attempting to justify the move, but nothing that I think merits a reprint. I’d love to know more. Was Linden Lab (maker of SL) asking for “too much” money? Providing “too little” support? Did Second Life prove “too buggy” a platform? Questions, questions…

PS. My rant of the day: why are the interfaces on these otherwise fascinating user-centric MMORPGs so damned ugly and complicated? I realize that you need to empower gifted players with numerous interesting tools (so they can make interesting content), but a mass audience will never see that content if they get scared off by Frankenstein’s UI! If you can’t imagine a more streamlined and user-friendly system, then for goodness sake, make two — a simplified UI that’s enabled by default, and an advanced UI that scares the pants off of children (like we have now). You can expect advanced users to find the on/off switch; you can’t expect the average user to navigate a million options, nor learn the workings of a non-intuitive interface via miles and miles of ugly in game tutorial posters…

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