Masami Kuramoto: Forget Land Barons, Linden Lab, Zone Second Life by Roleplay Themes! (Comment of the Week)
Last week's guest post by steampunk land baron Desmond Shang is generating a lot of interesting comments, among the best being this one by Masami Kuramoto. (Lightly edited for context by me.) While I don't agree with it all, I think the basic idea of RPG-themed land zoning is a great one. - Hamlet/WJA
"As an RPG platform [Second Life] beats everything else hands down. This is what Linden Lab marketing should focus on, in my opinion. There should be themed mainland areas. 'If you're into Victorian era roleplay, settle here. If you're into cyberpunk, settle over there.'
"SL has the largest map of all games, but the content is messed up. Imagine entire continents of adjacent regions featuring the same theme. Sort of like the Linden Home areas, but without the prefab buildings. Imagine Nexus Prime, Suffugium, S.I.C., The Next Day, Insilico and Hangar Liquides side by side and The Wastelands somewhere nearby.
"Of course this would require a new set of rules and new ways of enforcement...
"If you built out-of-theme, you would find your parcel relocated to a more appropriate area. If you don't want to be restrained, settle on the anything-goes continent. I think most people would accept those rules because the benefits would be obvious.
"Right now the mainland is ugly to pretty much everyone, and the only way to escape its ugliness is to get a private region or rent from a land baron. The former is too expensive, the latter is too risky.
"There are quite a few roleplay communities that emerged around a single themed sim. The problem with these communities is that they vanish as soon as the sim owner runs out of time or money.
"Themed mainland would achieve two things: It would allow these communities to merge and grow much larger (and shrink gracefully if people leave), and it would remove the sim owner as a single point of failure.
"The burden of land ownership would rest on many shoulders. If I were the CEO of Linden Lab, Second Life would now be a society of Rip Van Winkles that pay their rent straight to the Lab's pockets rather than through a land baron. And folks like Desmond would be out of business rather than in control of my company. What we got instead is a company that is too scared to stop the decline of its first and most successful product, because it depends on the good will of its shrinking number of VIP customers. Land barons will be the nails in Second Life's coffin. Mark my words."
As I said, I don't entirely agree with Masami -- for instance, I don't think this suggestion would preclude land barons like Desmond (who runs an RPG themed area himself). But with SL soon to launch on Steam, a roleplay focus seems to be an ideal solution to a lot of Second Life's problems. Full context in this discussion thread.Tweet