Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz during a meeting at the Game Developers Conference last month, former CEO of Second Life developer Linden Lab Rod Humble said the future of the metaverse would be private and player-focused.
“I believe the future of connected spaces – what people call the metaverse – is private and player-first,” Humble said.
He established this vision through his recent single-player game, Life By You. According to Humble, many businesses use online-only requirements as a form of digital rights management (DRM). But Life By You is not going down the same path, as it is an offline game.
Since Humble’s top priority for Life By You is privacy, the game does not feature any multiplayer component.
However, Humble said that his team might consider adding a multiplayer feature later. Still, the veteran developer stressed the importance of ensuring how it’s done without compromising player privacy.
Humble also underlined that life simulators, such as his new game Life By You, let players explore themselves in many different areas.
He noted that players do not want to make it public in almost all areas. Therefore, he argued it is essential for the game to prioritize player privacy and provide players with control over their personal information.
Players are also free to add any mods they want to the game. The game includes nudity with censor bars and subtle sexual content without graphic elements.
Working on Life By You
Humble admitted that Life By You — the first game developed by his new studio, Paradox Tectonic — is similar to his earlier work on The Sims franchise and Second Life.
At the Game Developers Conference, Humble explained that he wanted to return to life simulation and expand it to an open-world direction. This led him to start Tectonic with Paradox.
Humble said that Paradox shares his vision of granting players autonomy, mainly through mod support and allowing them to personalize their gaming experience as they see fit.
He maintained that his ambitions for Life By You go beyond being simply a “big” game. Instead, he wants it to be the most comprehensive life simulator ever created.
His primary objective is to offer players an open-world experience where they can design their own characters, towns, stories and activities. Players also can take direct control of the game’s inhabitants as they navigate their daily lives.
Humble sees his role as a game designer as supporting players in creating their own stories and experiences.
More about Life By You
Paradox Tectonic’s concept for Life By You is similar to the metaverse visions of Meta and Epic Games but with a different business model.
While the latter two companies act as digital landlords by taking cuts of transactions on their platforms, Paradox Tectonic plans to generate revenue mainly through selling the game.
The announcement trailer for Life By You features same-sex and interracial couples, which echoes the inclusive marketing of The Sims series.
Life By You also includes customization features that allow players to adjust their characters’ skin tone, age and sexual orientation. The default settings are a mixture of skin tones and pansexuality, but users can change them as they see fit.