Linden Lab's Second Life 'extremely profitable,' company looking to expand

Second Life - hot air balloon at sunset

Second Life has dropped out of the limelight in recent years, but if a new piece at is on the mark, the long-running virtual world may be primed for something of a renaissance.

Former Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon vacated the throne in June 2010, and veteran developer Rod Humble took over at the beginning of 2011. Since then, the EverQuest and The Sims veteran has been working hard to bring a bit of structure to Second Life's virtual sprawl, and in the process, reinvigorate what was one of the first MMORPG media darlings.

"I was taken aback by just how big Second Life was," Humble says. "To be honest, it had fallen off my radar until I got the call offering me the position. And I looked at their numbers; this is a world that has got 1 million people logging in every month, generating well in excess of $75 million a year -- it's extremely profitable."

Humble spent much of 2011 refining the product, and everything from the sign-up process to the UI to world transportation received some attention. The result was a 40 percent uptick in new users, and now Humble is bent on expanding Linden Lab's offerings beyond Second Life. "Linden Lab has been very successful with one innovative product, but I want to stretch the company out again, to make it a really exciting place where people can't wait to find out about the next unusual title we're going to release," he said.