Second Life to become browser-based as Linden restructures

Second Life creator Linden Lab is making some big changes, announcing plans to make its virtual world browser-based – and laying off 30 percent of its staff.

The company says it will eliminate the need to download software, making Second Life more accessible, particularly from mobile devices.

It is also planning to extend Second Life into social networks such as Facebook. No timing was given for the changes.

“Ultimately, we want to make Second Life more accessible and relevant to a wider population,” said Mark Kingdon, chief executive officer of Linden Lab.

The drastic restructuring will see nearly a third of staff laid off from across the company. Linden’s product and engineering divisions will be combined. 

Software development teams will be consolidated in North America and customer support will be reconfigured to provide more scalable services. Some overseas offices are likely to be axed.

“We’ve emerged from a two-year investment period during which, among other things, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time improving reliability and the overall user experience,” said Kingdon.

“Today’s announcement about our reorganization will help us make Second Life even simpler, more enjoyable, relevant and engaging for consumers starting with their first experience. It will also enable us to invest in bringing 3D to the web and will strengthen our profitability.”