Jan 13, 2022 - Technology

Philip Rosedale returns to Second Life as adviser

A collage of images of Linden Lab co-founder Philip Rosedale and his Second Life avatar

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Courtesy of Philip Rosedale, Breakroom

Second Life's creator, Philip Rosedale, is returning as an adviser to its parent company, Linden Lab. The move is part of a partnership with Rosedale's current startup, High Fidelity, which is making an investment in Linden Lab and transferring several employees and a number of patents.

Why it matters: While largely seen today as a relic, Second Life — the virtual world that took the mid-aughts by storm — has continued to operate, remaining at roughly the same size as it was years ago.

Rosedale left Linden Lab more than a decade ago when its investors sold the company. High Fidelity has been working on spatial audio, among other areas.

What they're saying: In an interview, Rosedale said he is rejoining Second Life because he still loves the virtual world he created. But also, he said, he is concerned about what others are pushing as the future of the metaverse, especially Facebook.

  • "I think the world is pretty screwed up right now," Rosedale told Axios. "Like all of us, I am beginning to think deeply about how can I use what I know about technology for good."
  • Rosedale shared some of his concerns last year in an interview with Axios Gaming's Stephen Totilo.

Linden Labs Chairman Brad Oberwager said Rosedale brings needed history and experience to the societal conversation around the future of virtual worlds.

  • "The metaverse concept needs Philip Rosedale in it," Oberwager told Axios.
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