Update, January 5th, 2012: The “limited offer Vehicle Starter Pack” has been withdrawn ahead of the stated end of the promotional period. This is apparently because no-one thought to ensure the offer could in fact be limited to “one per customer”.
In something of a surprise move Linden Lab announced on the 4th January, 2013, that Second Life is now on Amazon.
But only (perhaps only for the time being) if you are a US resident.
The announcement reads in full:
It’s a new year, and we have news: Second Life is now available on Amazon!
As a special promotion, this weekend only the Starter Vehicle Pack (usually $9.95), which includes a hoverboard and L$1000 will be available for FREE [limit one per customer].
If a friend of yours has been waiting to join Second Life, now is a great chance for them to head over to Amazon and get started with the free Starter Vehicle Pack. Spread the word!
The links lead to a series of pages offering various packages for download, which comprise:
- A PC or Mac “basic” pack, which appears to offer the current version of the viewer,
- A “Deluxe Vehicle Pack”, comprising a hoverboard and what appears to be the sailboat previously offered to Premium members together with L$2000, at a cost of $14.95
- A “Premium Vehicle Pack”, comprising the hoverboard, sailboat and the Premium gift dune buggy together with L$4000, at a cost of $24.95
The special “limited offer Vehicle Starter Pack” mentioned in the blog post of a hoverboard and L$1000, for $9.95 (offer expires on the 6th January 2013, and is limited to one per customer.
Amazon’s account linking facility is used for the downloads. Whether this means that in the case of new users any required Second Life account must be created through Amazon’s servers prior to downloading the viewer, or whether the SL account creation can be handled once the viewer is installed (as appears to be the case with the forthcoming Steam link-up), is unclear.
Certainly, it is interesting to note there is a subtle difference in the wording of the account link-up instructions. Those provided on the viewer pack pages refer to the need for a “Linden Lab account”, while those on the vehicle pack pages refer to purchasers having a “Second Life account”, suggesting the two are different – although granted, the different wording might simply be an error and not indicative of anything.
Even so, leaving it to the LL side of things for the actual SL account creation would appear to simplify matters considerably for Amazon – although it does beg the question as to *what* account would require creation prior to downloading either viewer package where new users are concerned. Doubtless, someone from the US will be able to enlighten me, should they opt to try the mechanism out!
Another interesting tidbit with this move is that it seems the packages have all been available through Amazon since … December 10th, 2012, with, it would seem, nary a word from the Lab. Katharine Berry was perhaps the first to notice things when, on Christmas Eve, she Tweeted:
This possibly explains why the special offer package appears to be on such a limited-time offer (until January 6th, as mentioned) – although it is not uncommon for the Lab to run “weekend only” offers with regards to Second Life.
For the majority of us, however, the news has come somewhat out-of-the-blue – although with a degree of hindsight, a large rear-view mirror and the fact that we had the promise of Steam being on the horizon for a while now, it perhaps should have been. After all, LL have an established relationship with Amazon both with Jeff Bezos being a former (current?) investor in LL (2006), and through the development of a Kindle Fire specific version of Creatorverse. So chalk that one up to the first prediction for 2013 most of us missed!
For now, however, it’ll be interesting to see how the move fairs, whether additional packages will be added to it and if it will spread to Amazon’s international operations (amazon.co.uk, etc.) – and whether LL have any more surprises up their collective sleeve!
With thanks to Ricco Saenz for the pointer to Katharine’s tweets.