These acquisitions join several other recent strategic initiatives, including enhancements to the experience for new users, which will enable Linden Lab to reach a broader global audience for Second Life in 2009. Linden Lab is consolidating the two marketplaces on the Xstreet SL platform, offering one online shopping experience for customers and merchants. This will make it easier for Second Life Residents to find virtual goods to purchase and will provide merchants broader channels to sell their products.
The global market for virtual goods is estimated to be approximately USD $1.5 billion a year,* and Second Life plays a significant role in this market. In 2008, Residents of Second Life purchased and sold more than USD $360 million of virtual goods and services. Shopping for virtual goods has become one of the most compelling and popular aspects of the Second Life experience. The acquisition of these e-commerce sites will aid the continuing growth of the Second Life economy by making it even more convenient for buyers and sellers to transact virtual goods and services online.
Similar to e-commerce sites for real world goods, such as Amazon and eBay, Xstreet SL provides an online catalog, where Second Life Residents can browse, purchase and sell Second Life-related virtual goods and services. Just as e-commerce Web sites provide a complement to shopping in real life, Xstreet SL complements how Second Life Residents shop inworld – visiting 3D stores, shopping centers and malls to purchase virtual services and goods from the Residents who created them. Linden Lab will integrate the Xstreet SL marketplace with Second Life, making virtual goods easier for consumers to find on the Web. The enhancements to the e-commerce experience will also drive Residents inworld to collect and use the goods they purchase online, enabling Second Life merchants to further promote their inworld stores. Merchants will also gain additional ways to market the more than 680,000 Second Life goods currently listed for sale online, including apparel, animations, vehicles, buildings and furniture.
“Linden Lab is expanding its footprint in the virtual world industry through four major initiatives – localizing the Second Life experience in key markets around the world, simplifying the ‘first hour experience’ to broaden consumer adoption, enhancing the platform for enterprise users and building our virtual goods marketplace,” said Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Lab. “Content creators and merchants are pillars of the strong Second Life economy. With these e-commerce acquisitions, we will now be able to offer content creators and merchants an opportunity to substantially improve their businesses, while enhancing the Second Life experience for all of our Residents.”
“The vibrant inworld economy is part of what makes Second Life such a compelling experience for Residents,” said Jay Geeseman, founder of Xstreet SL. “Just as e-commerce can enhance the shopping experience for real life goods, so it can for virtual goods. With the Xstreet SL marketplace integrated more closely with Second Life, Residents will be able to find goods more easily and shop more conveniently, while merchants will have broader channels to sell their creations.”
For the immediate future, Xstreet SL will continue to function as it has with only minor changes. OnRez will remain active for a few weeks to give customers and merchants an opportunity to migrate their accounts and product listings over to Xstreet SL.
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