You can do pretty much anything you want in Second Life, that being basically the point of the long-running online virtual world. It’s the kind of place where anybody—not just the rich or elite—can be a Day-Glo alien space wolf with pizzas for hands and a set of fully functional genitalia for a head. (The only risk there being that you might get labeled a copycat for going so simple with your concept.) But not everyone in Linden Lab’s virtual playground has so much freedom. Who, we ask, will stand up for the bunnies?
Waypoint reported earlier this week on a lapin apocalypse set to sweep Second Life today, as thousands of player-purchased rabbits will go into permanent “hibernation” because they no longer have access to their life-sustaining bunny food. The buns in question are “breedables”—basically, tradeable, randomized pets that people purchase from other players via in-game currency—that require a connection to a central server to be fed. (Thus ensuring that the creators get a cut of the money, even as virtual rabbit breeders make their own cash by trading rare variants around.)
Unfortunately, the company that operates the online rabbits, Ozimals Inc., was hit with a cease-and-desist letter recently, from an asset creator who says they weren’t compensated for their work in creating the floppy-eared online pets. And so, the company’s feeding servers were shut down on Wednesday, and the ticking 72-hour clock counting down to sleepy rabbit genocide began.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though; during its normal operation, Ozimals allowed players to purchase items that could make their virtual rabbits “Eternal,” unable to breed, but also no longer requiring food. Those bunnies will be safe from the coming cull. Meanwhile, The Daily Dot reports that Ozimals spent this week handing out those life-preserving items for free in its store, although the company’s now-archived blog post about the closure didn’t mention any such acts of messianic lagomorph salvation.