Microsoft might be trying to get its hands on Linden Lab's online virtual world, but for what purpose is unknown.
Second Life is a well-known social virtual world run by Linden Lab where players can acquire land, build their own objects, trade virtual goods, and hang out with other people's avatars which are sometimes dressed as furries. According to rumors, Microsoft has put in a bid to purchase Linden Lab, and Second Life along with it.
Despite everyone from major corporations to politicians creating their own virtual spaces in Second Life, Linden Lab recently got rid of 30% of its staff and went through a corporate restructuring, fueling speculation that the game could be in decline. This could mean that Linden Lab is looking for a buyer, and sources are saying Microsoft has stepped up.
For what it's worth, a prominent member of the Second Life community recently tweeted: "A little birdie told me that Microsoft may have silently offered to buy Linden Lab this week." TechEye reports that "a very reputable individual still employed by Linden Lab" says the company is "entertaining offers" and Microsoft has put one in. Microsoft has apparently been looking into acquiring various social developers lately, so this isn't a stretch at all.
Though Microsoft once bashed PlayStation Home as a Second Life clone, it makes perfect sense for it to add a virtual world to Xbox Live with the launch of Kinect. Social gaming is big with casual players, and Microsoft is hoping to bring that casual market to the Xbox 360 through motion gaming. To show casual gamers that they could effectively be their created avatar through motion control in a virtual world would be huge, and I bet plenty of hardcore gamers would want to check something like that out as well.