Interesting Times in Virtual Worlds: Rodvik leaves; Cloud Party closes

Two major changes in Virtual Worlds are coming to light today.

Rodvik Linden (the cut-out version)
Rodvik Linden (the cut-out version)

First of all, Rod Humble (aka Rodvik Linden in Second Life) left his post as CEO of Linden Lab last week.  You can read fuller details on Jo Yardley’s blog here.

What I think makes this news really strange is the way it has been announced. Or not announced. Rod is sharing the news on Facebook with friends, family and co-workers, which I guess is the way that one would want to do it.  Except that he seemingly left last week … which rather begs the question …

Who the hell is in charge over there now?

Does this mark a new low in the Lab’s failure to communicate with … well, anyone?

Cloud Party
Cloud Party

And in other news, Cloud Party is closing on February 21st. The announcement appears in a rather breezy and chipper little blog post, announcing that the team are starting their next adventure – but joining Yahoo.  However, for once the acquisition seems to have been of the people rather than the product. Yahoo aren’t continuing Cloud Party – it will be interesting to see if the team has been recruited for something similar.

I always felt Cloud Party missed something of a trick. It had a connection to Facebook, and could have tapped into a huge (and largely unrealised) family market potential – a shared space where grandparents could play with grandkids (no age limits), We all know the that the demographic of virtual worlds like Second Life is actually skewed towards older users, while younger users are enthusiastic about Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel. It could be that Cloud Party had the capacity to unite the two, but went chasing after that elusive cool demographic instead.

In Cloud Party - what lies ahead?
In Cloud Party – what lies ahead?

But for now Second Life has seen off yet another virtual world. And another CEO.

Well, we live in interesting times.

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