Korea Technology Review2009.11.13 14:43

Linden Lab has failed to renew the contract for Second Life with the Korean partner, effectively ending their two year experiment in Seoul. 

Barunson Games, Linden Lab's business partner responsible for localizing the service for Korean market announced Friday that they are giving up Second Life Korea, citing that the service has failed to attract the interest of Korean users. 

Korea, along with Japan, has been notoriously difficult market to break into for many global online service companies, as their local markets remain guarded by some home-grown online powerhouses. MySpace heard their death knell last February and even Google is having difficulties in booting up their services here, as Korean users were accustomed to the local services optimized for their unique habits and tastes. 

In the case of Second Life, I think, Koreans have already been enjoying their own virtual reality in the form of Lineage and other online games. The target market of Second Life Korea has largely overlapped with those online gamers--the male online users in their 20's to 30's.

For those groups addicted to their own brand of virtual space, Linden Lab might have had a better chance in Seoul if they redesigned Second Life as an interactive game space, where users are allowed to play with some elements more attuned to the real-life narratives. What about Monopoly reincarnated as an massively distributed online game?

Linden Lab has instead slapped in their face another brutal reality whereas Korean gamers were searching for an escape from the harsh reality, as J.C. Herz noted in her Wired article five years ago.
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