Comtemplating the uncertain future.
Second Life has been around since 2003. It is now 2007. Do the math!
As with any elderly 'game', ever since 2004 people have been predicting the end of Second Life as we know. The SLocalypse, if you will. Some say it'll be a violent and sudden death, others claim it will come slowly, after many agonizing years of torment and decay.
It's always after a major addition to it, too. The allowance of completely free and unverified accounts (previously you needed to at least enter a credit card to join) was a sign to some that the end was not far off. Others cite the ridiculous rise in the rate of griefing as the final death knell to it. With the dawning of voice chat into Second Life and major corporations (AOL, IBM, lots and lots of Universities), a small but vocal group advances their theory that Second Life will end within the year, turning into a grey goo version of itself, a ghost, a phantom littered with the scattered corpses of a thousand abandoned plots of land and islands, each with aging and rustic builds and objects left like a Greek ruin during the Dark Ages.
I know this is going to sound extremely old hat and full of cheese, but I think Second Life will never die.
This is how I see it: Take your very real Real life. Now, think back about three years ago. I'll bet you dollars to cheesesteaks that it was different, to varying degrees, depending upon whoever is reading this. The main point is that it's been awhile and today is certainly different than yesterday, and tomorrow is certain to be different still.
Flux. The constant state of change. A form of entrophy, where change and order are constantly clashing.
Now, let's pull this metaphor of sorts into Second Life. Second Life in 2004 would be unrecognizable to Second Lifers today. Hell, even 2006 was a marked change from the version today. And I'll willing to risk investing in the hope that, though it may metamorphize for better or for worse, Second Life will be around.
The key is to roll with the changes. Again, let's turn to our previous metaphor.
You didn't yell, kick, or scream when your life was changing (exceptions including death and serious illness/injury, among others), most changes you probably didn't notice. So why complain so much when this strikes Second Life? Easily, because of the perceived time dilation. A few months in Second Life can feel similar to a year, and spending a year playing can feel like eons. Updates, being software, are not gradual and not subtle. They are sudden, jarring experiences that requires a tremendously open mind.
And people are notorious for resisting sudden change. We loathe it. When we see such changes, we see it as the end of our lifestyle, our way of life. To those who hate these updates, it truly and honestly seems like the end of the world. Which it is, if you are a literalist and consider each version of Second Life a 'world'.
But I, I prefer to view it as an evolution, similar to our real life ever-changing world.
Perhaps Second life could be instructional in that regard, helping us to cope with changes we seemingly can't control. One example off the top of my skull is global warming. It's happening, whether it's our fault or just nature's course, it is real and it is causing change. And lo and behold, people are complaining, and people are acting as if the world will massively implode if it warms by a degree or two Celsius.
Change happens. You have a choice. Deal with it and work and mold it, or sit around and whine incessantly.
I know what I'm going to do.