With all the hype surrounding Second Life these days it is understandable that some people are wondering if it is all justified. And on the level of Second Life the answer is probably no. There aren't that many concurrent users, there are technical and more fundamental usability issues, and there's a lot of superficial reporting on what's really happening.
But for me Second Life is showing a scenario of how we might use the internet in the future. From that perspective it inspires me. However, I do not believe that it will necessarily be Linden Lab dominating the virtual world space with Second Life. There will be many connected virtual 3D environments, like we have many websites, portals and communities today.
I think the hype is justified, but not because Second Life is or will be so successful. It could be, but it doesn't have to be. It's just an example of a much more fundamental development.
"Despite the problems and excessive hype, Second Life and the other massively multiplayer virtual worlds do represent a strange and wonderful phenomenon worth writing about for journalists: people living in an alternate reality — literally creating their alternate reality — that affects their “First Life” either through virtual relationships or by running real businesses. Hopefully, more journalists will be able to tell the story of these cultural shifts without becoming the pawns (and customers) of the game’s creator."