The next big thing in the community hasn't been the upcoming voice features or the introduction of sculpted prims (which are going to have only somewhat limited use), but the introduction of age verification to the platform. I've also written an entry about it, too.
Now we know the company which is going to do it. Well, they had to choose one, anyway, and there are not so much companies in that field.
Many people have disgruntled by the fact they need to verify their age if they want to enjoy mature content. The whole verification is a paradigm shift of Lindenlabs, meaning they are using the community to keep the platform cleaner. Now that the battle has calmed down, we all can take a somewhat clearer and better look at it.
Most of the people, who already have got credit card infos on their file, don't see the usage of it, since other sites take you as verified just by entering your credit card number. But this is not even sufficient and enough in the USA, so you need to provide other data.
What's the reasoning behind it? To clean the platform, make it better for companies and to avoid possible lawsuits. At the moment something like this could happen: a mother finds out, that her 13 year old daughter is playing in RL, having sex, perhaps has even been raped virtually. So she can still say at the moment: hey, Lindenlabs, I am going to sue you now over that, you haven't done enough to keep my daughter from the main grid!
With the introduction of lawful age verification, though, Lindenlabs just could say: well, we did all the lawgiver told us to verify the age of your daughter, it's all your fault.
What is the impact going to be of this verification? I don't think it is going to be such a big thing, most things don't fall into that category, what you're doing at home is what you do at home, but of course some places and services need to be tagged. If you just walk around most normal places you should'nt need it at all.
But age verification is only one step; since LL says always the main grid is for adults only it could either happen, that one day the verification becomes mandatory for all or all questionable content has been tagged. If all questionable content has been tagged, well, there could be the possibility of a merger of the teen with the main grid.
At the end, you can never be sure if someone is of legal age or not; LL just can do all the lawful things to prevent people underage to come to the main grid and that's it. And, by the way, there are enough places on the web where it is documented how to construct certain ID-numbers yourself and so on.
All in all this is a very necessary and, don't forget it, long overdue step, to get the platform a cleaner place and reduce the access to questionable content.