Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Avastar 'Ave 'Ad Enough

Thanks to my chum, Veejay, for alerting me to this through his blog over at Mindblizzard. It seems that The AvaStar, the popular Second Life newspaper (think "Red top" rather than "broadsheet") has decided to wind up its operations. The full announcement is here, but the gist is that they are shutting up shop since - and I quote - "The AvaStar has now completed its virtual mission."

I confess I was not an avid reader - but I did like to check it out from time to time and found it had a good range of articles, while also informing me of events and new sims. While I will not be donning sackcloth and ashes, I am sorry to see this popular paper disappearing. I think Second Life will be poorer as a result. As well as the paper, largely written by the Second Life residents, there was a well-made sim. I assume that, too, is being closed.

But let's come back to that quote.... "completed its virtual mission." Unfortunately, this "mission" is not particularly well articulated anywhere - and therefore it is hard to say whether the success criteria have been achieved. While I am touched at organisations not wishing to hurt my (or maybe Linden's) feelings, by declaring they have completed their mission, or achieved their objectives, I can't help but feel that this is often, frankly, bullpoop. Since they do not publish their success... no, let's make that "exit criteria"... it is hard to assess.

Some have asked: "Is this closure due to credit crunch/economic downturn?" I doubt it, personally. I think it is more likely that, the parent company, had a plan - probably with a timeline of less than 2 years - to explore the (.... no... make that "a") possible future of journalism. It was never part of their plan to keep The AvaStar running indefinitely. Indeed, they may well have expected it to collapse after only a few months. It is to their credit, then, that they kept it running for as long as 2 years.

I have to say that, as a Second Life resident, this departure feels like (another) kick in the teeth. This kick was compounded when researching this piece, by stumbling upon an article in The AvaStar, describing the closure of the Geek Squad sim. By way of closing this piece, I will give you a link to that article. Geek Squad did not close because of the reasons given above, and I think this article (and ones like it) should give you good reason to regret the passing of The AvaStar.


Anonymous said...

I am sad. I heard that SL has gotten over 71,000 online at one time. It is bigger than ever. I can not understand why Avastar would leave. - TerryAnn Antonelli

cljohnston108 said...

As a fan of Buckminster Fuller and High Tech architecture, I really liked the design of that sim (even though I never saw anybody there).