After an interminable wait - and with little or no prior ballyhoo - "voice" has finally gone live in Second Life. It has been available in the so-called First Look Viewer for a couple of months, but at 3:00pm SLT it made the transition to full live implementation.
It will be interesting to see how voice affects the use of SL. I have suggested in the past, and think it is still relevant now, that it could pose an interesting challenge to the many role players in SL. Hitherto, it was possible to hide behind chat/IM. But with voice there may be some unexpected outcomes. Consider for example:
- The once-masterful Gorean slave master with the (presumed) booming, stentorian voice ends up actually sounding like Mr Bean.
- The gorgeous blonde supermodel who now sounds like John Prescott/George Dubya... you get the drift.
Then there's the acting. "Dialogue" in chat/IM allows the reader to interpret how the lines should sound. But with voice, you get the lines as they are delivered - and delivery is quite literally a far more difficult act to achieve. Some people will be naturals, and take to the acting like ducks to water. Others - most - will sound wooden and false. No amount of filters is going to fix bad acting, I'm afraid. Maybe we will see a 2-tier world: those who can act and those who can't. Interesting times.
A final thought regarding voice vs chat/IM. If you live alone then you can skip this bit. But for those who don't you will also need to consider the others who share your household. They could now be exposed to some truly bizarre conversations. Or rather, your half of conversations. I thought it worth mentioning :-)
Anyway, if you've not already got it, the new viewer is now available for download. Enjoy - and use it responsibly!
Finally, here is the straight poop from Linden Lab, including release notes and a mention of a new First Look Windlight viewer coming soon.