When Second Life patched in support for the Oculus Rift, Linden Lab was cautious to pitch its online world as a haven for virtual reality. "We're trying not to make too big of a deal out of it," Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg said in 2014. "It's still early." That beta support went through several iterations over the years -- but now it's gone. Earlier this month, Linden Lab removed VR support from Second Life, and the company can't say when or if it will be back. The problem? It just wasn't good enough.
According to a Linden Lab community manager, the virtual reality 'project viewer' was always an experimental feature. Unfortunately, it just wasn't living up to the company's standards. "Due to some of the inhernet limitations with [Second Life]," the company explained, "it may well not be possible to achieve the performance needed for a good VR experience." Fair enough -- Linden Lab's virtual world is over 13 years old. Making it play nice with new technology can't be easy.
That doesn't mean the company is giving up on virtual reality, though. Back in 2014, Ebbe told us that Linden Lab was hard at work developing a VR-focused spiritual successor to Second Life -- something he hoped would serve as a creative playground for virtual reality enthusiasts. Today, that exists as Project Sansar, and while it's still only just taking applications for its beta, it's clear this is where the company's VR ambitions currently lie.