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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

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Cyn Vandeverre

You wrote "The vast, vast majority of the population, however, buys less in Second Life per month than most people in the developed world pay for a single night out on the town."

I think this is going too far in the other direction. Comparing absolute money is not going to help you figure out if people are consuming a lot.

What is needed to compare is *things,* I think. Does the average SL resident buy more clothes per month in SL than they do in RL? Do they buy more bicycles, furniture, boats, land, and personal or professional services?

If you only look at the money, you're only going to see the money, not the consumption of items.

That said, the article was very amusing. The deeply-desired fancy car they mentioned, I've never heard of. It would be interesting to find out what sorts of SL things people really long for, across the board. Me, I mostly play within my income from my store (not much) and I've longed for new skins, a fancy dress by someone else, land, some scripted furnishings, sculpie trees, and a catapult. Only some of that translates to real-world consumption!

pavig lok

I can answer that one right now - in terms of the metric for things, i can say unreservedly that I and everyone I know owns more cars, bikes, clothes and whathaveyou in SL than in RL. The reason is... well if i want a car i know of several places i can go and buy a box of twenty or so of them for less than a cent. One can't compare or meter SL consumption in any way that elegantly maps to RL comnsumption. They're too different.

The important thing for real world businesses though - and the one people often miss - is that sl economic turnover is pretty much irrelevant to rl companies. RL brands already sponsor our entertainment (in the form of the advertising that pays for our tv, magazines etc). The money is in RL brand identity for some, and providing that entertainment (or in world services) for others. The real figures for what money changes hands over SL are largely hidden outside the SL economy. Looking at the figures of money changing hands within SL is a red herring.

However... there's something to be said for looking at why someone would buy a car for ten US bucks when they can get 20 for less than a cent, or a free one from a RL brand. Those kinds of things don't appear so readily in the stats.

Fractal Mandala

Comparing "things" in SL vs RL doesn't work well. There are no unit costs for anything sold in SL; prims don't cost their creators anything (unlike the earliest days). Uploaded textures do cost $L, but only once. The only resources needed to create to sell are the time, skill and creativity of the creators. Anyone who can use SL has all the resources needed to recreate anything they can buy in-world. Put differently, all goods sold in SL are really services.

Elle Pollack

Put the figures into perspective too: L$500 can go a long way depending on what you're buting. For the thrifty, L$500 is a whole shopping spree for clothes; single items start around $L50, outfits or "fat packs" of similar items can start as low as $L125, give or take. Stuff that costs more than a few hundred L$ is in the category of things one saves up for; for some that takes a while and it's even harder when most newbies don't recieve stipends anymore.

Which brings up an intresting point: does LL still track (and release) data for how wealthy residents are? What percent of the population has L$0? What percent buys L$ to spend? (I've never bought L$, only sold it or spent it...though in my early SL days I was an avid visitor of Bingo halls and building contests.)

Hamlet Au

"L$500 can go a long way depending on what you're buying."

That's true, though the equally interesting point to me is that half the active user base *aren't buying anything*.

I'm sure LL tracks those figures, Elle, and in retrospect it's pretty wild they used to publicly publish the top 10 wealthiest *on the site*. Would still love to see those figures with the names stripped off.

Faerie

Do the figures in what was spent also include money (Lindens) paid for rent and land tithes?

If so is that money fairly cosidered "consumption" in the same way that buying my 147th pair of boots is considered consumption?

Hamlet Au

"Do the figures in what was spent also include money (Lindens) paid for rent and land tithes?"

Faerie, I think that counts as a sink, since those L$ leave the world (at least temporarily):

http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy_stats.php (scroll down)

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