Second life is not a Virtual world at all. At least not in a real sense.
All it is online game created to place artifical restrictions on what is and what is not allowed to happen in order to make as much money for it's creators as possible.
A true virtual world is like the WWW. It is created and governed based on natural laws of that virtual world.
Natural laws of a virtual world would be like:
It costs the same to make one digital item as it does to create 10,000 copies of that digital item.
The limitations on the world are not of one of natural resources or land mass.. the limitations are based on things like amount of RAM the servers have and the efficiency of the rendering method.
Art and creation is valuable not because art and creation is rare.. it is valuable because creative humans with good talent are relatively rare. If Picaso was a modern artist and worked with digital data then every man, woman, and child on earth could have a "Picaso" painting.
To have a long term, successfull, and even profitable, digital virtual world you have to create something that operates within these limitations, within the natural laws of the internet and human interactions with computers.
Imposing artificial limitations, like Second life does, is not something that is paticularly healthy, or usefull, or even that interesting. If it becomes very popular it will retard progress.
Imagine of the WWW had it built into the protocols that only Microsoft was allowed to host websites and that people charged you money based on how many Gif images you choose to download.
Remember this sort of stuff back in the beginnings of the popularized internet were people tried to create 'online services'. All Second life is is a modern 3d version of 'Microsoft Network', 'Proginy', 'Genie', 'AOL', 'AppleLink'/'E-world'.
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