The Lindens announced their acquisition of the virtual e-tail site xStreetSL only days ago, but it's already featured on the official homepage. (Provided you're logged onto the site, that is.) Reaction through the Second Life blogosphere has also been immediate, and widespread. Here's a small sample of commentary:
Metaverse developer Caleb Booker is jubilant at the news, describing it as a moment where the Lindens start treating their company like a business. "Up to this point every virtual world on the web except Second Life has had a means to purchase virtual goods in a central marketplace," he writes on Business in Virtual Worlds. "It has actually been yet another barrier to entry for newcomers when they log in, say 'OK where do I buy stuff?', and the answer has been 'Oh, you kind of look around.'"
Second Life businessman Peter Stinberg, who made up to five figures in revenue from sales on xStreetSL and onRez, isn't happy with the move: "From a business person's point of view I am not too happy about this turn of events," he writes for Rez Magazine. "The reason behind this [purchase] is most likely the wish of Linden Lab to control the largest third party currency exchange... buying OnRez and SLX borders to a monopoly, and I firmly believe that monopolies are bad."
Steampunk creator and scripter Ordinal Malaprop is displeased that the Lindens have focused on incorporating xStreetSL, versus onRez: "SLXstreet has at the moment an appalling last-century User Interface, almost completely unusable," she writes on her blog. "In many cases I simply refuse to list my products there as the small financial gain that might result is outweighed by a factor of a Hundred by the Pain caused by navigating it."
Metaverse developer and SL entrepreneur Hiro Pendragon believes this spells the end of most in-world malls which fail to adapt: "Say bye-bye to your biz unless you innovate," he writes on his blog. "I believe shops will maintain their headquarter shops in world, but malls that offer little more than collecting different vendors together will get far less traffic."
Metaverse developer and intellectual Gwyneth Llewelyn concurs with Pendragon's point, and sees economic changes likely caused by xStreetSL as a threat to the Lindens' main revenue source: virtual land. "Content creators are huge landowners," she explains on her blog. "They make LL happy with their tier. They are also attracted by land rental managers to keep a thriving community happy with their business. This all might disappear very quickly, and SL might become a shop-less environment.
Which is closest to your opinion? And which seems the most off?
Update, 1/25: Bumped up, title slightly tweaked.