The Minoan Empire, a beautiful, relatively accurate historic Second Life recreation of the ancient civilization of Crete, will no longer exist in Second Life on July 6. As with the Lost Gardens of Apollo, which is also set to soon close, the Minoan Empire is a featured site in Linden Lab's Destination Guide, and I imagine, a very valuable potential resource for educators.
I recently confirmed this news with the sim's creator, Aeneas Anthony, who told me that the cost of supporting the sim and its monthly tier payments are no longer sustainable. He actually preferred I not blog about the end of the Minoan Empire at all, but in this case, I believe the news value is crucial, because it again emphasizes the hard reality of virtual reality:
Second Life's current land-based revenue model is not sustainable, and without serious changes to it or the overall health of the in-world economy (including new user growth), more sims like this will continue going away. I've heard the argument that sim owners should simply figure out ways to better monetize their estates, but that only points to another problem: Second Life's internal user-to-user Linden Dollar economy is not growing, so even sims with a solid revenue model are in danger. (And the lack of economic growth means competition between sim owners will grow ever more fierce and socially fractious, as they knife fight each other over the same consumers.)
Much thanks to Melissa Yeuxdoux for the tip, however unfortunate it may be. Another fan of the sim, Tikaf Viper, created this pretty beautiful machinima tribute to the region that will soon go away. Watch above.