The Electric Sheep Company, regarded by many to be the leading Second Life development company, has parted company with one third of its workforce (22 people).
The Electric Sheep Company is best known recently for its work in creating the CSI:NY build in Second Life. The company offers its own Second Life browser “OnRez”, and provides services to companies looking to establish a presence in Second Life.
While the CSI:NY Second Life experiment has generally be regarded as a success by most, Electric Sheep Company was caught when some of the ridiculously high number of expected signups through the cross promotion did not materialize, causing much of the CSI:NY build to be closed down shortly after launching. Adding to this, according to Massively was the decision by AOL Pointe and Pontiac to cease operations in Second Life, both of who were Electric Sheep Company clients.
It would be easy to suggest that Electric Sheep Company’s failure here may be indicative of a broader downturn in Second Life; however, the more likely scenario is simply that this is a company that added too many staff in the expectation of ongoing and future work that didn’t happen, and they would be far from the first startup to be caught in this situation. Compound this with a highly competitive market and unfortunately for 22 people at the Electric Sheep Company, Christmas this year wont involve dreams of electric sheep.
Update: via the first commenter, Virtual World News has more, including an interview with the Electric Sheep Company where they state they’ll be moving into other virtual platforms including Metaplace, Multiverse and Icarus.