Second Life in a box, now in preliminary beta

After Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon's announcement of a standalone virtual world product (essentially Second Life, but able to be run on private servers and with no connection to Linden Lab's virtual world) at the last Virtual Worlds London, the Lab's new director of enterprise marketing, Amanda Van Nuys has followed that up with an announcement that the product (codenamed Nebraska) is now in preliminary testing by a number of organizations.

The beta test (Linden Lab calls it an alpha test, but there's no denying that it is a preliminary beta) is being conducted by such organizations as IBM, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), the New Media Consortium (NMC), Intel, and Northrop Grumman.

For widespread adoption, however, branding will be critical. While the name "Second Life" is certainly a widely recognized brand in some quarters, incorporating that brand-name into Nebraska doesn't seem like a winning proposition. Firstly, the brand name itself doesn't really bear much relation to the existing product, and seems like it will bear even less to a standalone enterprise virtual world solution.

Slapping the Second Life name on the box (if indeed there's actually a box per se) seems like a blurring of an already unfocused brand-name. Maybe the Lab can go back to Lindenworld. Linden Lab branding would certainly be a much stronger proposition for the product.

As yet, the Lab is not yet ready to provide any additional information about the product, other than there will be an expanded closed beta sometime in Q2/Q3, and "general availability" later this year (presumably Q4, though it is not at all clear what general availability actually means in this context).

[As for the box, we whipped that up in Second Life. No such box exists, and you'd be foolish to think that we were misusing the Lab's trademarks]


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This article was originally published on Massively.