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Linden Lab slashes workforce by 30%

Second Life developer hopes to improve efficiency and support investment in new platforms

Second Life developer Linden Lab has announced that it is to cut its staff count by around 30 per cent in a bid to improve its cost efficiency.

The company is planning to consolidate its software development teams in North America, while customer support will become more scalable.

Additionally, plans are in place to push its virtual world experiences to more social and mobile web applications - specifically the creation of a browser-based virtual environment, eliminating the need for downloads, and an expansion of the Second Life brand into social networks.

"We've emerged from a two-year investment period during which, among other things, we've spent a considerable amount of time improving reliability and the overall user experience," said Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon. "Today's announcement about our reorganization will help us make Second Life even simpler, more enjoyable, relevant and engaging for consumers starting with their first experience. It will also enable us to invest in bringing 3D to the web and will strengthen our profitability.

"Ultimately, we want to make Second Life more accessible and relevant to a wider population," he added.

Second Life was launched in 2003 and quickly became a buzzword for business, which embraced the online environment as an alternative environment to push brand awareness.

The virtual world has since clocked up over 1 billion user-hours, and $1 billion in user-to-user transactions - but has seen its user base decline in the last couple of years as social networks have risen to prominence.