Here's what I think:
- Teens on main grid will speed up economic growth
They're young, talented, creative. It's only natural to expect they will focus on exploring SL's versatility and creative potential, and push the boundaries of what's possible in SL. I expect new milestones, comparable to the ones in the 'old times' that changed SL experience for better, like invention of AOs, skins painted on tattoo layers, and sculpted clothing.
- Viewer 3 will be introduced
Either that, or by the end of 2011 there will still be a lot of people using Viewer 1.23 (if it is still supported, that is). Viewer 2 was a mistake, a very easy one to make though - with all the focus on new users and their ease of use, Linden Lab forgot about current users and their needs. I think LL realized this and most likely they are already working on a new viewer, but this time much more carefully - and hopefully there will be a lot of discussion with residents before releasing it. I also think a light viewer might be released for less computer-knowledgeable residents.
- Browser viewer will be open for everyone
Open access to browser viewer and possibility of logging in with your own non-guest avatar, plus embedding locations on websites, will increase SL's popularity, the number of new registrations, user hours, user concurrency numbers and probably grid instability as well.
- SL will become more mainstream
I think this year we will see a lot of movies inspired by Second Life, about Second Life or based on the idea of a virtual world. That, plus advertising (Facebook, YouTube etc.) will cause more attention from potential SL users, and investors perhaps. And with new residents entering SL community daily, press interest in Second Life will grow as well.
- A better IP protection system will be introduced.
Content creators certified by Linden Lab, maybe? Easier reporting hopefully. Less paperwork. More cooperation from LL on this matter (no need to go with DMCA every single time, please!)
- New CEO will prove to be a good leader for Linden Lab and Second Life
With the professional background he's got, I think Rod Humble will manage to gain residents' respect through his decisions. He seems to have a lot of passion for what he does and I think this year we might see a lot of decisions made with consideration of customers' point of view. Most likely he will still be compared to Philip, though.
- Gambling in SL will be back
Oh no! But yes, I think it is going to happen, considering a few articles that appeared recently over the Internet. I just hope it will be done a different way than in the past, I don't want mainland to become a medley of casinos again. A gambling continent would be OK, I guess.
- New tools for managing inventory
I expect new inventory management tools, possibly to come with Viewer 3: for textures browsing, for organizing stuff, for sculpties preview and so on.
- Anton Bogdanovych will release his motion capture equipment on the consumer market
Pretty please :)