Linden Lab, developer of massive virtual world Second Life, is to cut staff by 30 per cent in a restructuring plan designed to "increase focus on the company's consumer business" for virtual goods.

Linden Lab has been criticised recently over ownership and virtual goods in Second Life. Users Carl Evans, Donald and Valerie Spencer, and Cindy Carter filed suit against Linden Labs in April, alleging the developer tricked them into thinking they actually owned their online property in the game GamePro reports.

Second Life job cutsBy condensing its team with combined product and engineering divisions and a reconfigured customer support structure, Linden Lab hopes to reign in some of the expansion-enthusiasm that gave rise to the ownership arguments and increase accessibility to new Second Life users.

"Today's announcement about our reorganisation will help us make Second Life even simpler, more enjoyable, relevant and engaging for consumers starting with their first experience," said Mark Kingdon, chief executive officer of Linden Lab. "It will also enable us to invest in bringing 3D to the web and will strengthen our profitability."

Second Life lets users create avatars, or 3D characters, that can speak with one another as they imitate other real-life actions, such as buying property. While admired for its concept, Second Life has also suffered from performance and security concerns.