Linden Lab’s founder is back: Philip Rosedale, who founded the Second Life maker more than 20 years ago, is returning to the company as an investor and adviser. Rosedale’s High Fidelity, which set out to build a successor to Second Life but later pivoted to social spatial audio, has made an unspecified investment in Linden Lab, the two companies announced Thursday, and Rosedale is being brought on board to help Second Life get ready for the metaverse.
"No one has come close to building a virtual world like Second Life," Rosedale was quoted as saying in a press release announcing the deal, which also included a thinly veiled attack on Meta and its metaverse ambitions. “Big Tech giving away VR headsets and building a metaverse on their ad-driven, behavior-modification platforms isn’t going to create a magical, single digital utopia for everyone,” Rosedale said. “Virtual worlds don’t need to be dystopias.”
Second Life is still being frequented by hundreds of thousands of people a month, but efforts to broaden its appeal and move beyond its legacy tech have largely failed. In 2017, Linden Lab launched Sansar as a VR successor of Second Life, only to sell the platform three years later.
As part of the deal, High Fidelity’s team will join Linden Lab, which will also gain access to High Fidelity’s patent portfolio. Prior to joining Linden Lab, High Fidelity struck B2B deals with companies like Clubhouse to bring spatial audio to third-party apps.