Two acclaimed and long-standing Second Life sims, Japan Chubu and Japan Kansai, beautiful tributes to Japanese culture and history, are no longer displayed on the Second Life grid, apparently gone after the owner, Amiryu Hosoi, unsuccessfully attempted to raise funds to keep them in-world. Variations of these sims have existed in-world since at least 2006, and they've been blogged about frequently here on New World Notes (links below). If it's any consolation, Amiryu just launched a site for real life Japanese-themed housewares and gardening here.
I've contacted Hosoi and will update this post as warranted. But as it turns out (as I learned too late) she actually contacted me about the impending crisis a few months ago, in a message I regretfully missed during some crucial writing deadlines. However, even if I had received the message in time (and I get similar ones from fiscally-strapped sim owners quite frequently now), it would leave me with a difficult quandary:
What's the best way to save a financially ailing Second Life estate, when the world's underlying revenue structure is already changing?
Here's what I mean:
Machinima shot in Hosoi sims in 2010, shortlisted for YouTube & Guggenheim's Play Festival, earning nearly 150K views on YouTube
In past occasions, I've posted news about a troubled sim in the hopes that a wealthy benefactor(s) would step in to help. But as private regions continue to disappear at a steady and rapid rate, finding these saviors becomes more and more difficult. And even when they do exist, getting someone to pay the sim's monthly tier is a short term solution at best. Linden Lab refuses to talk about lowering tier prices, so that's not an option. So the sad realization I'm forced into is this: If a private sim isn't sustainable enough based on the owners' existing business model and customer base, it must find a new model and a larger audience to survive. There are all kinds of creative ways of doing that, and I hope to encourage more of them in coming months. But hoping that there are enough generous buyers out there to pay a huge upfront cost and $295 a month is not a solution I can endorse any longer.
I'm open to other options I might have missed, because this remains an ongoing melancholy: So many great Second Life sims that have existed for years and could exist for many years more, if they were profitable, constantly going away.
Hat tip: Stone Semyorka, who blogged about an earlier version of these sims in 2008. The image above, by the way, was taken by Clarice Cinquetti in 2008.Tweet