Saturday, 3 November 2007

Dunder Mifflin Closes in Second Life

It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you of the closure of the Dunder Mifflin office in Second Life. Clearly there is no market for Paper in a Paperless World and so the company has downsized its way out of the virtual world.

In other words, the stage sets built in Second Life by Clear Ink for creating the machinima components of a recent episode of The Office are now closed. The sets were intended to open for 1 day, the day of the broadcast, to host a thank-you party for the virtual world staff and extras for their contribution. However, with so many in Second Life finding their way there, Clear Ink decided to keep the site open a little longer, while talking with NBC about the future.

It would seem that NBC, who are wrestling with other issues at the moment, are not inclined to keep the site open and so reluctantly, the decision was made to close off access. I think it is unfortunate, since a thriving group has grown up around Dunder Mifflin in the last week. Looking at website stats, it is clear that The Office has a significant following among the computer literate, and as a result of the recent episode, a successful extension of "the brand" into Second Life has now taken place. This closure effectively derails that extension - and it may not prove so easy next time. The Second Life success has been serendipitous and due, in part at least, to the directness and veracity of the approach. And getting people to come back is a lot harder than keeping them in the first place.

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