As we previously predicted, the Second Life 2.0 viewer is going live today, meeting the originally slated release target of Q1 2010, if only by a few hours. The 2.0 viewer has been in public beta since 23 February.
In addition to the new viewer, its rearranged user-interface, slate color scheme and slick Shared Media implementation, today sees the launch of two new Orientation experiences and a selection of new starter avatars to select from (we wonder if any of them are blue).
Support groups for new Second Life users, including those in Linden Lab's Resident Help Network, are expected to run the gamut of reactions from chagrin to horror as the release was made with essentially no notice, immediately outdating almost all of the information that they provide to new users. User-run support groups presently provide the majority of new-user orientation material in Second Life.
"Today's upgrades make the 'first hour' in Second Life easier and more engaging," said Tom Hale, Linden Lab's Chief Product Officer, "Over the past year, we have delivered stability and scalability to the platform and completed a full redesign of SecondLife.com. Today, we're building on those achievements and making it easier for people to get started exploring and enjoying the wealth of content and experiences in Second Life, positioning the platform for more widespread consumer adoption."
Official support for the 1.22 viewer ends today. A new 2.1 viewer beta release cycle should commence shortly, which should see official release by the last day of June, marking the end of support for the 1.23 viewer.
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