10 Reasons why Sansar would be a good name for the successor to Second Life

Most of us have heard of Linden Lab’s Project Sansar, the confirmed codename for the next generation virtual world they will begin alpha testing later this year. Some have shown their disapproval for the name, even as a temporary working title.

I see it differently.

A code name for a project is temporary by nature – so it really isn’t anything to get too fussed about. Still, one could argue that a codename / project name can telegraph the thinking going on within the walls of 945 Battery Street. The name is unlikely to stick, but what if it did?

I think it would work, and here is why:

  1. It’s unique. Apart from being the name of an 19th century Indian ruler and a few unremarkable films, the name is relatively unknown.
  2. The dot-com TLD looks easy to acquire. Linden Lab may not yet own the top-level domain, but the current owner is a company called VIXII Domain Holdings, which I assume is in the business of buying and selling domains.
  3. It’s easy to type and pronounce. Being short and phonetic, sansar.com is easy to type correctly. Composed of only four different letters, it’s super easy to type, and avoids what usability experts suggest are harder letters to type (“q,” “z,” “x,” “c,” and “p”). That’s pretty important for internet-based acquisition, which I’d expect would be the number one channel apart from existing SL users.
  4. It’s easy to remember. The easier a name comes to mind, the more it will be remembered and that is good for word of mouth and directed searchers on Google.
  5. It’s short. Again, the shorter a name, the better it will be for both typing and unaided brand recall.
  6. It feels right. It might be lost on most, but as Strawberry Singh pointed out in a tweet, Sansar means “world” in Sanskrit. I don’t know about that, but I read it comes from the word Saṃsāra, which in Sanskrit refers to reincarnation, or the repeating cycle of birth, life and rebirth – according to the Wiki entry. It also apparently means ferret in Turkish. I don’t think that matters a jot. Sure, some names translate terribly into other languages, but I can imagine a lot worse things than a ferret. It also has a historical link to first continent in SL, Sansara, and a derivative of the name was once considered the possible name for Second Life.
  7. It’s protectable. It’s not copyrighted according to Copyright.gov, and it’s already trademarked by Linden Lab.
  8. It carries no baggage. I think it’s smart not to choose Second Life 2, Third Life, or any derivative of Second Life. This is a new product that will either succeed or fail on its own merits, it’s not a sequel.
  9. It’s a place, not a life. Second Life has often been associated with “another life”, which – I believe – has been one of the reasons people unfamiliar with it question those who engage in it with the often heard question: “what’s wrong with your first life?” In reality, we only ever have one life, regardless of how immersed or dissociated we might become. I have always been more comfortable with the place analogy than the notion of a parallel existence.
  10. It’s exotic, likable and visually extendable. In other words, it suggests a visual interpretation of an exotic holiday destination full of palm treed tropical islands (hey, if it’s going to look like Second Life at all, how apt!) so it would be a field day for creative execution.

Granted, there are some drawbacks; every name has them. I also believe that there is likely a better name out there. Nevertheless, Sansar would be a good name for the kind of product that Linden Lab might be cooking up. After all, who else could visit a place called Sansar but avatars? Avatar, incidentally, is another Sanskrit word, meaning a deliberate descent of a deity to earth – a representation or embodiment of the gods – which in the case of virtual worlds, is us.

15 thoughts on “10 Reasons why Sansar would be a good name for the successor to Second Life

  1. My understanding is that ‘Sansar’ means ‘world’ in Hindi, so it certainly works on that level.

    The name doesn’t particularly concern me, except…

    …by not calling it SL v2.0, or similar, does it mean LL are anticipating a whole new start? It looks like it might be the case, ‘Sansar’ stripped of all SL association.

    That’s fine, assuming one thing: that current, loyal players aren’t fleeced by being expected to purchase all possessions a second time. I sincerely hope that the favourite jeans/hair/glasses/shoes I’ve picked up over seven years (longer, for other avatars) will be transferrable to ‘Sansar’.

    For two reasons: One: I really don’t want to start from scratch again. Two: ‘Sansar’ needs a ready-made audience who can populate it, and I suspect that the idea that everyone starts again from scratch will make a lot of current, loyal players decided to abandon the game entirely.

    Of course, it’s early days yet, and we’ve no way of knowing how it will develop, so there’s no point in pre-judging any of this just yet, so we can perhaps leave all of this to one side for now.

    ***

    More importantly, the other thing that struck me about the choice of name is…might there be a number of Indian employees at LL who could be driving development? Given India’s young, techno-savvy population, it’s highly likely that this is the case, and some bright spark familiar with India and its culture has maybe put two and two together to come up with the name. I like it: it’s cute and it’s clever.

    If that’s the case, the one thing I would impress on LL’s developers is to further look at moving ‘SL’ or ‘Sansar’ away from the north American/European economic model.

    I’ve long been a champion of ‘cultural diversity’ within the game, and often bemoan that SL can be an endless shopping mall experience. I rejoice in sims that exist purely for the delight of the build, (Amazon River? the LEA sims? Museum Island/Opera House? …Basilique, some to that!) not just something that demands traffic and the rental of store space to help with tier costs. While north American and European users might be able to justify sim builds as ‘disposable income’, the likelihood is that players, builders and developers in what’s known as the ‘BRIC’ economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China) won’t be operating to the same economic/disposable income model. Perhaps LL’s developers who aren’t from a north America/European background could be putting the case for an economic re-jig within ‘Sansar’?

    ‘Sansar’ needs to encourage these economies by re-modelling its economy to reflect these emerging powerhouses (certainly the Brazilian and Indian markets, Russia appears to be increasingly insular and China is fairly closed as far as the internet is concerned) and get players building and developing ‘Sansar’. We need to be able to wander through multi-sims of Indian countryside, of Brazilian rain-forest, to get back to the SL I remember when I first started playing. That is, sims where ‘education’ played a role. I remember being able to wander sims and read about ‘issues’ -the de-forestation of the rain forest, for example- the sim involved existing for nothing more than education purposes, the builder able to maintain it with ‘disposable income’. The economic crash of the last decade put paid to many such excellent sims, and I feel we need to get back to that position within ‘Sansar’.

    Let us, therefore, see ‘Sansar’ re-jig its economics, to be able to pull in the player in relatively rural India or Brazil to be able to build the world they know and share it with us. In a real world increasingly divided and insular, perhaps it’s time to be able to get back to that outward looking virtual world I remember from 6-7 years ago, where I could get a small sense of the wider world. I bemoan the fact that, currently, there doesn’t appear to be a single Mosque I can visit in SL. I used to have the choice of several, marvellous builds that were awe-inspiring, and which would provide information on the mosque’s history, Islamic belief,and so on.

    If the real world is determined to throw up barriers for all of us, to sow division between peoples, then it’s the role of SL (or Sansar) to do its bit to break them down.

    Sorry, Becky….I kind of went into rant mode there… 🙂 …. whatever the name is, let’s ensure the clever name is also reflected in a clever oversight of us as one people, one world, at least within the game.

    Ella.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The next gen virtual world will be a whole new start – but that should not be read as a ‘replacement’ to Second Life.

      LL has confirmed that SL residents will not be able to import anything they ‘own’ in SL unless it is 1) mesh and 2) you made it yourself. You will however be able to take your Lindens across. I also take special effort to quote the word ‘own’. What you own, what any of us owns in SL, is a license to use that product in SL – nothing more – unless of course, we created it ourselves. In this case, we retain the copyright, and can use it in the next gen platform, if it’s compatible.

      I don’t think that this is tantamount to fleecing residents in anyway. First of all, LL has asserted its rights in the TOS we all agreed to in order to use SL. Let’s also remember that SL isn’t closing down, and that no one is being forced to move to the next gen platform – whatever it is called. Everything in SL should remain the same. Everyone’s inventory will remain intact.

      I disagree that Sansar needs a ready-made audience that can populate it. SL didn’t have that, and it succeeded and remains here nearly a dozen years later.

      I also do not agree that SL residents will abandon the SL because a new platform appears. Again, no one will be forced to move, and SL will continue to be developed, why would anyone leave because there is another option available?

      In terms of the current economic model, Ebbe Altberg has also gone on record in saying that the next gen platform’s model will be more sales tax based than land tax (tier) based. So yes, there will likely be more land available at less cost.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the further info, Becky, much appreciated. I wasn’t aware that SL -as is- would be continuing. My assumption was that ‘Sansar’ would open and SL would be run down over the next year or so, forcing a transfer. I welcome news that SL as we know it will continue ‘indefinitely’.

        I suspect it may take some time, though, before ‘Sansar’ becomes as broad and deep a world as SL is now. A year? It’s hard to say: obviously we’re discussing something from a position of relative ignorance, rather than knowledge. I’m just imagining that residents/sim owners won’t simply up sticks and transfer across, and there’s the difficulty of running two sims, one in SL, one in Sansar, with the costs involved.

        I do, however, welcome Ebbe’s words on the economic model. A reduction in ‘tier’ costs (or more land for the same money) will obviously be a good selling point for ‘Sansar’.

        Many thanks, again, for the additional info. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Caledon: possessed of character and commented:
    It’s exotic, likable and visually extendable. In other words, it suggests a visual interpretation of an exotic holiday destination full of palm treed tropical islands (hey, if it’s going to look like Second Life at all, how apt!) so it would be a field day for creative execution.

    Like

  3. Its good name.I in fact like it. I kinda disagree on the idea of making it totally separate. IT would be ideal to make it possible to Teleport between the Two, even if it were only a particular spots.
    Right now its possible to Teleport between worlds if it were not blocked, People who are land poor now? May actualy flock to another linden world where land is reasonable( some do to Inworlds where land is cheaper and available even now). As long as they can also visit second life for other things, such as dancing and music . IN Time maybe they would choose to stay in Sansar. As of now most of our good things are mesh. Even my house From Antique artistry is now mesh.Most of the new things clothes items etc take advantage of Mesh. By 2016 this will likely be the majority of items.It would be rather naive to suggest that linden lab leave behind their users for a completely fresh start.Most content, Identities, Lindens according to the press release will be transferable in.That sounds like a common data base to me.Its an interesting future. As A second life Dj id be pleased to test it for them. I would think the music aspect would need be tested. It would be a pleasure IM sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kawyn 🙂 TPing between worlds would be lovely, and keeping one’s same identity will be a very big attractant for most of us. I’m very excited with what is coming and hoping for the best 🙂

      Like

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