Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, have announced that they are to launch a new beta version that incorporates voice chatting. The new release will be limited to selected users to begin with, before rolling it out to everyone by the end of March.
At the moment, Second Life users chat to each other using a text editor or third party VOIP application such as Skype. The new voice function will work in individual or group mode brining a whole new dimension to the simulation.
In a move that would have control-freaks salivating, landowners in the game can even choose who and who can’t speak on in their territory. Don’t like what someone is saying on your land? Simple – just turn their voice off. Second Life follows There.com which was one of the first major role playing games to use VOIP technology. The makers claim it was one of the top demands made by users to improve the game.
During beta testing, the voice function will be free although afterwards, it will only remain free to those major users who pay anything up to $300 to maintain land and even whole islands in the game.
Whilst this will undoubtedly enrich the Second Life game, it will inevitably eliminate one of its major appeals for some users – anonymity. All those men that walk around pretending to be women – and vice versa – will have their covers blown once and for all. So for all those truckers out there that like to walk around as hot 6ft blonde bombshells – watch out, your time could soon be up!