Tuesday, January 08, 2013

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Two Beautiful, Longtime Sims Apparently Gone from Second Life - But How to Save Others?

Clarrice_cinquetti_in_virgin_island

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.

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Iggy

Visit Mexico and the Costa Rica sims are also long gone, and with them some really fascinating uses of the technology. I think Numbakulla is gone too. I reckon Svarga is still a Linden-funded park? Or is it gone, too?

My naive side says "I can't help but think that LL would lower tier if they could."

But then the cynic in me says "they'll milk the dying cow for as long as they can, then sell the carcass to the highest bidder."

Finally I see educators coming to that conclusion. When we have a SL "evangelist," usually a noob in world, come to our meetings, we oldbies try to be polite and recall our long-vanished enthusiasm for SL.

Jo Yardley

Visit the sims that are doing well and look around, how are they managing?
Ask the people who run it for advice.

In my case the one thing that keeps our sim going is the community.
Lots of people living there who will make sure the place they love and where they live won't go under.

Ezra

Naaaah. I think the present strategy of not discussing tier and competing with creators will work. Let's wait for a Second Life Japan Starter Pack on Amazon or a chain of Linden Japan sims to appear.

Or, you know, Economics 101, The Law of Demand, if the number of private regions are to go up, the price of private regions have to go down.

Ciaran Laval

Allowing people to donate tier to private sims would help private sims, but would hit LL's profits.

The old business model of renting store spaces to support such sims is very much on the downward trend, so people do need to get creative.

The bottom line is that the tier is too damn high, but there's no easy answer to how LL can address this without putting a huge hole in their income.

Dizzy Banjo

Would be interesting to do a rundown of business models which actually run sims and create profit on top which aren't rental based. Types of products which can actually support that might be interesting to know..

Uccello Poultry

Do Estate regions really cost all that much to maintain compared to Mainland regions? A bit more, I can understand, because of concierge services and the unique problems that a one-off request creates. But hardware and software? Shouldn't make a difference. So how about another class of region – Private Mainland. Like the Coastal Waterway is seeded with clever Linden builds (I love the LDPW) that take the whole region or just a little bit, how about an ocean connecting a special class of Mainland where folks can build places like Amiryu Hosoi's regions but with sufficient restrictions/conditions that keep the cost on par with traditional Mainland tier. That wouldn't save all the potential losses, but it should save some and give Residents a new way to explore places they might never have found otherwise.

foneco zuzu (@ZZBottomHL)

how can any have faith in LL when they do just this:
They roled out the wrong code on main servers and screw all the grid tonight! The code that was supposed to go to the magnum servers was disployed on main servers instead!

shockwave yareach

We have a couple of our sims in the Hidden Valley group that are about a month from disappearing too. Several clubs will disappear, lots of homes, and the hosting/dj jobs we support as well.

Step one: Collect empty servers and underpants.
Step two: ?
Step three: Profit!

Troy McConaghy

Maybe LL could offer an option to store a sim in "cold storage" --- not accessible on the grid, but still stored in a LL data center, for a low cost (e.g. $5/month or $50/year or a one-time fee of $200). You can bring it back in the future, but then you also go back to paying full price.

Amazon Web Services offers something like this, called Amazon Glacier.

Ziki Questi

Hi Hamlet. I reported on this back in August 2012, a couple weeks before the first two sims went down:
http://zikiquesti.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-great-wall-of-china.html

The broader issue is how "older" sims that once looked current but now look "dated" can maintain their relevance as the use of mesh and textures evolve. This applies not only to the sims themselves, but also the products in shops of merchants who use the income from their sales to support their tier. I've visited many over the past few months that were once "state of the art" only to find that, by current standards, they're lost their cutting-edge aesthetic appeal. (I'm not saying I don't appreciate older sims—I continue to stop by to check on Svarga—but there's a march of time.)

More recent is the news of the sale of the Alchemy Immortalis sims:
http://zikiquesti.blogspot.com/2012/12/alchemy-immortalis-sims.html

Pussycat Catnap

Marketplace: SL devouring itself from the outside in.

Sims are mostly funded by rentals.
At least half of those will tend to be commercial rentals.
Shoppers go to MP so they can click a button and get an item.
Stores are shifting to MP so they don't have to pay rent.
With half the rentals gone, estates run out of funds.
Once the estates people visit close, they have no where to go to enjoy all the toys they bought on MP. So they will finally stop shopping there.

But all LLs sees is:

MP gives the left hand of LLs a small cut - a sales tax.
Left hand of LLs gets money on every sale.
Left hand of LLs gets no cut on a sale inworld.
Left hand of LLs cannot see any further than this.

Right hand of LLs gets money from tier.
Right hand of LLs pushes premiums via Linden Homes to get more tier $.
Right hand of LLs has no explanation for why estates are closing.
Right hand of LLs sees $$$ from linden homes. Cuts off own fingers (estates) so that thumb (linden homes) will look bigger.
Right hand of LLs cannot see any further than this.

Left hand of LLs doesn't seem to even know Right hand exists, and vice versa...

Cube Republic

As much as I liked Amiryu Hosois work, they had a very strange sales strategy so I'm not surprised they've not survived. I mean come on guys 10k-30k lindens plus for a no copy asset? There prices were crazy and not accessible.

Stone Semyorka

My passion was for the beauty at the Japanese fishing village Hosoi Yu Ch’un. To me, killing that exquisite sim in SL is like erasing the Mona Lisa or dismantling the Palace of Versailles would be in RL. Some things and places are so special they should be sustained somehow.

The fishing village was simply exemplary craftsmanship and a marvelous cultural communicator.

LL needs a museum status for sims of this quality when an otherwise irrevocable end point arrives.

It's not about outdated technology or making a profit. RL museums generally aren't concerned with profits, only maintenance. I think it would be desirable if LL could convert a sim like this to a caretaker-less museum status so future SL residents could travel to it and learn from it.

Adeon Writer

I always hear about private estates going under. Do full mainland sims have this problem? I never hear about it as much.

Arcadia Codesmith

Constant money-grubbing for tier isn't sustainable. LL should offer a lifetime price for private estates that allows you to hold them for the life of the game with no further tier payments.

Buy-in would probably be too steep for most people, but sims with a dedicated following willing to pool their resources would be able to preserve vulnerable builds.

shockwave yareach

Adeon - there is a reason nobody makes these awesome builds on mainland.

* You are extremely limited in terraforming abilities.
* there are roads you have to build around.
* lag is so bad at times you can't even talk.
* getting an entire sim is difficult, as people already living on 512m parcels there don't want to move.

Mainland is for people wanting businesses and cookie cutter homes. To build something more inventive and freeform where you have to terraform the heck out of the place, you have to have a private island. Building a japanese fishing village in an alpine sim of mainland won't work. Nor will the next door neighbor and his brutally lit Trance club.

AJax Manatiso

3 of my all-time favorite sims, long-time anchors, are gone: Zweet Zurroundings, Galaxy Dreams, and Clairvaux. SL should do like cities in RL do -- declare certain sims that are truly beautiful and designed for the public good as "landmarks" (in the true sense of the word) and drop their tier to 1L per sqm -- but they won't, of course.

I have a great staff that keeps our members aware of our monthly budget crunch and I have several members who contribute 1000L every month without fail, and yet I was aware from the very beginning that my sim, Ajax's Romance Garden, would never make a single linden, and in 4 years I never have had a single month when I broke even. You should go into it knowing it is a losing battle, and seek a little help from your friends. Even so, it would be nice if LL would help a tiny, tiny bit.

ZZ Bottom

Unfortunatly all LL manage to do lately is closing more and more regions as their mistakes and incompentence are making users just move to other grids!
How can any explain to a newbie that Inworldz or Kitely or Osgrid whhere much more stable then SL last night?
How can any explain to a old user, that where you used to be able to travel now its a lag nightmare?

CronoCloud Creeggan

I don't blame LL for regions closing, I blame their owners for an unsustainable model.

Residential is how you pay for regions, because frankly store owners don't want to have to pay their landlords for parcels on laggy regions when they can keep more money for themselves and shoppers don't want to shop in laggy regions.

You want to pay for a japanese fishing village, or spacecraft museum? Rent residential plots in it. Heck surround the thing with regions that are 100% residential and charge a higher rental rate upfront help pay for the "artsy museum piece region" There might even be people who would move to such a region to help bankroll their favorite place. Don't count on donations because SL is fickle, this months hottest hangout can become old hat in a month especially when new regions popup with nicer looking content.

You also have to engage in some marketing because I had never heard of these regions. SL is so big, that it's become fragmented. it isn't like the old days when SL was more "homogenic" and half the grid hang out at Abbots or whatever. Always remember that NWN readers and commenters are NOT the average SL resident anymore.

OldSkool

They need to drop tier prices NOW. LL are allowing the world to stagnate and slowly rot, for example the Marketplace emphasis and subsequent damaging effect on in-world businesses that are closing en masse (leading to sims closing).

shockwave yareach

Chrono - IF you were correct, then all these sims would still be in operation and nobody would be closing down. Their models worked fine until LL cut their funding by implementing the Marketplace in the way they did. LL's making land irrelevant for shoppers means businesses aren't keeping stores inworld anymore. Thus the funds to keep the sims up is going away, and the sims are going away too.

So soon you'll be able to click and buy a new dress, and have noplace to wear it.

The solution is to put limits on the marketplace. The number of square meters you own divided by 100 and added to 10 is the number of items you can have on the marketplace. No land at all? You may have 10 items in marketplace. 8192m^2 storefront? You can have 91 items in the marketplace.

Both inworld stores and the marketplace are necessary. Cut one out, and both die. LL needs to at least put a TV monitor in that very dark place its head is and see what's happening and fix them. Because we are already over the precipice and the monthly losses are only going to grow and grow and grow as the world shrinks and land owners have less reason to keep their playground online.

2little2late

Some of you blame the marketplace for eroding land ownership, but then you say its tier prices that is eroding land ownership.

Maybe interest is waning in Second Life, and no matter how much you lower the tier, people won't come back/new people are not invested enough to spend money either way. Its a sinking ship folks, acknowledge that much. I am a former owner of 5 full sims, I ditched in late 2010. I saw this coming.

Metacam Oh

I love how the question is posed, what can one do to help someone pay tier on a sim, not what can LL do to make a sim affordable.

Bouncer Criss

Chrono hit it perfect

shockwave yareach

Any business that prices itself beyond the means of its customers to pay will go out of business, no matter how unique its product.

Furthermore, the price of a server is 1/3 today what it cost in 2004. So the price structure setup a decade ago no longer applies except to provide obscene profit margins to the investors. While I support the investors making money, I do not support their making so much that the entire company AND their future profits are destroyed. LL gets servers for much less today than they did at founding. That price cut should pass down to us as well.

And let us not forget the bestest buds of LL who get DISCOUNTS for having lots of islands. If LL can afford project Atlas for some island holders, it can afford them for all of us. Giving certain people lower prices so they can undercut the rest of the grid is likewise bad for business -- unless you're the person getting the discount, that is.

No matter how you cut or refuse to cut the vein, there is going to be blood. The question is how much and whether or not it'll be fatal. The people who have lost so much money in SL will never come back and lose more with LL again. So if you want to keep the deep pockets paying, you can't lose them. And if you don't fix things so that land prices drop and land is necessary to sell again, you can count on all these sims and the interesting things built upon them to vanish entirely.

And a SL with NO interesting sims or things to do will not attract so much as a single visitor, or make even one dollar.

There is still time to correct this mess. But LL has to come to grips that it's running a virtual world, not a video game, a television station, or producing floor wax or dessert toppings. If LL can't grasp what they sell and what the customers want, then their doom is sealed. And right now, businesses aren't paying for inworld stores anymore, so sims aren't being paid for either. LL has to reduce the prices and limit how many things can be sold in the marketplace and do so immediately. The social issues and mismanagement can be addressed later.

Pussycat Catnap

"Some of you blame the marketplace for eroding land ownership, but then you say its tier prices that is eroding land ownership."

Exactly.

Tier is high.
People paid it by renting shops.
Marketplace means people can no longer rent shops, because merchants no longer need them.

Simple.

Kim Anubis

Adeon, my mainland neighbor of eight years abandoned his land yesterday. Used to be three of us held the whole sim, after years of buying up and swapping around little parcels. We didn't know each other before we found we were neighbors, but we got along, sometimes went to each other's parties, bought each other's products, and put on a sim-wide event or two. We used to brag about our neighborhood, not because it was the prettiest or had the coolest builds, but because we felt it was one of the happiest. I kept home set there even when I had a couple of private islands. Now I'm worried. Odds are I will probably find myself in a sea of low-end prefabs wedged onto ban-lined postage stamp parcels, the sort of suburbia I came to SL to escape. Yeah, I feel gloomy -- anyone who loses something they worked on and enjoyed for that many years feels gloomy. Best I do something other than SL today.

Paypabak Writer

There were four sims. Are they all gone now? The Great Wall was on Mao. Say it ain't so!

Metacam Oh

"I don't blame LL for regions closing, I blame their owners for an unsustainable model."

This is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever read.

"I don't blame Blackberry for no one using Blackberry anymore, it's the people who formerly owned Blackberriess fault for not liking the product direction of the product."

Iggy

Just out of curiosity, I went to a 1024 parcel I'd abandoned a few years back, finding no one interested in mainland property. I found a 512 with my premium membership suited me just fine for my limited us of SL.

After a few years sitting unclaimed, the old 1024 has been reclaimed and by LL and is for sale, at $1024L. I bet it will stay that way.

Seems that LL owned mainland is up about 2% as compared to a year ago. That is also not a great trend line.

val kendal

Those sims were gorgeous, and I took a lot of photos at them in about 2009. If the Great Wall is gone too that will indeed be a shame. But, horrible as it sounds, I have always treated gorgeous builds with no apparent moneymaking method as transitory, and we are all in debt to the owners for endowing us with their beauty as long as they can. But I learned the lesson early on here, beautiful things disappear - can you say SL Starry Night and Van Gogh Museum?

I'm sure this idea has come up before, but maybe LL could allow residents to vote on builds they would like to save for cultural, historic or aesthetic reasons, and if a place received enough votes it could be taken from the owner who can't support it anymore and moved to the mainland, thereby saving good content and beautifying the mainland?

sirhc DeSantis

Chrono did indeed hit the nail square on the head. And theres a certain very well known forum where this sim owner has posted many a time before about being forced to close (August I believe was the latest) and was offered quite some advice (yes, term used somewhat loosely)...yes, museum status, cold storage all good ideas. But ain't gonna happen :(

Bouncer Criss

a business model in 2008 is not the same as 2012/13. If the owners of the sims didn't adjust with the times, It's their fault, not LL.

When I'm roaming around places on SL, it takes me all of about 30 seconds to know if I'm staying or leaving to take pictures. Outdated trees, dated buildings, and flixi/glowing shrubs are out! Gorgeous sims in 2008/09 are just that, gorgeous four years ago.

Arcadia Codesmith

Great builds are a draw for Second Life. LL should be paying US to create them. It is a twisted sort of genius to push the entire content creation burden off on us and then charge us for the privilege of filling an empty world and trying to find ways to make it financially viable.

Silverfox Rainbow

theres still alot of gergous sims out there - that where pre-mesh - and hosoi was one of those, even before sculpties! (Silk waters mountain on mainland is a good example) - sad thing to with marketplace for those who dont leave there home - there is some really nice shops out there that are different from regular 'shop in a box' designs - you can do alot with a 512 with a bit of imagnation

2little2late

@Pussycat

I think my point was sorely missed: Whether or not LL lowers tier, it doesn't matter. There is no interest there even for a lower tier, with the exception of a few hardcore oldbies, and there isn't many that would snap up cheaper land IMO.

SL reached its apex some time ago and everything now is just decline. I don't think it can be saved. I am certainly not sinking anymore of my real money into it to try anymore.

Ezra

@2little2late

Your point isn't a counter point. Of course some people give up paying tier just because they lose interest in owning a region. It's a problem but not the only one. The problem featured in this blog post is not only real but common, an owner still interested in having regions but giving them up because tier is too expensive.

Issues of waned interest should be tackled too. New fixes and features like Project Shining and the material system might help with that, but new features have always been rolling out; mesh, pathfinding, updated Havok, better LSL features, whatever else, but none of those have reversed the downward trend of region loss.

It's time to address the other really big obvious problem region owners face, tier costs.

Adeon Writer

"are mainland regions cheaper than private estates?"

Yes, but the price will vary depending on how many people pitch in. The cheapest it can be is 98usd / month, but that would require 117 presidents to donate their free 512 sqm tiers. The less people you have running the show, the more expensive the tier will be.

Adeon Writer

Cursed autocorrect. That's "117 residents"

Metacam Oh

"a business model in 2008 is not the same as 2012/13. If the owners of the sims didn't adjust with the times, It's their fault, not LL."

Bouncer Criss, I didn't realize everyone who wanted to have land in virtual world needed business models to afford it. What is this? Why can't the virtual world be affordable why does everyone have to run a god damned business to afford to be in Second Life. You're statement is utter ridiculous. Keep saying that as Second Life dwindles to nothing, it's everyone else's fault, not Linden Lab.

Bouncer Criss

Metacam Oh, if you have the disposable income to own a sim, with no vendors, more power to you. If a sim closes, because it can no longer sustain itself financially, how is that LL fault?

Ezra

@Bouncer

If this sim owner was the only one with closed regions in an otherwise thriving Second Life, it'd maybe make sense to blame the region owner for not accomplishing what the majority of region owners accomplish.

But the reality is these two regions are a single digit fraction of negative sim growth for just a single week.

Reselling land and prim allotments isn't really an original idea of residents. Yeah, things like rental boxes are our invention but it was Linden Lab that conceived subdivided parcels, covenants, selling land and deeding land to groups. If ever there was an endorsed way to afford tier by Linden Lab it's renting.

So it's a problem when Linden Lab competes with commercial rentals with Marketplace. It's a problem when they compete with residential rentals with Linden Homes. It's a problem when they compete with entertainment creators with Linden Realms and Wilderness. If tomorrow there was a 20 region release of "Linden Clubs", we'd be apt to blame that for any beloved clubs closing rather than blame the club owners for still having a 2008 business model.

Seren Seraph

I hope that really creative folks in SecondLife start creating first in opensim on their own machines so they always have a backup copy, somewhere it can always be run from or donated or handled as the creator sees fit. From there port/move it to SL if you wish it to be there. There is no reason we should make our creations subject to being lost to too high rents or other decisions and actions of LL. We can share worlds and walk virtually from one to the other at as low cost as is possible (hypergrid).

Seren Seraph

Linden Labs most certainly can lower tier. Many OpenSim operations have proven that quite nicely. The world economy would blossom hugely if they did along with the level of innovation. There are many ways to improve SecondLife. Some of them have been explored by LL in the past. So why not do so? I cannot believe that some improvements plus hugely lowered tier (by 70% or more) would not result in a world that was far more than self-sustaining and a great springboard to further profitable and loved innovations.

GeneVincent Tigerpaw

All this talk of business models really does my head in. Is sl only about business? Are those who want to build a sim for peopleto have fun, entertainment and community second rate and only those running it as a business acceptable?

Metacam Oh

Exactly GeneVincent. A successful virtual world isn't going to be only for the rich, and lets not forget 295 is the bare minimum cost for owning a sim. Now imagine a business model where you make back that 295 a month only by yourself with no workers no costs, no expenses. 295 is the bare minimum. With less and less people in SL every day the economy dwindles. With content creators feeling that pinch there is no need for them to "rent land" from anyone, just put your stuff on the market place and walk away. That's the situation, coupled with Linden Labs seemingly abandonment of SL for Creatorverse/Patterns. They are trying to reinvent the cube or the triangle or whatever. Their product is out dated, their price structure absurd and they are slowly sinking if only by the denial of those above thinking that even with the best idea and greatest business model its possible to make your money back. You know what I want to do, I want to work my balls off to earn back 295 a month so I can have my own island as a hobby. Sounds like a great product count me in.

Archangel Mortenwold

The only way to save other regions from closure is for Linden Lab to do an across-the-board price cut to something affordable. Fewer and fewer people have three to seven thousand dollars a year to throw away on SL regions. Linden Lab must lower its ridiculously high prices so existing regions can remain open, so people who've left because they can't afford SL anymore will be attracted back, and to draw in new region owners.

Mariko Nightfire

Keep present tier but triple the number of available prims per sim. Increasing prims will allow residential rentals, which require more prims, to replace retail rentals.

In addition to increasing prims while maintaining tier, increase the land area per sim. This would allow more residential rental subdivisions.

Linden Lab could preserve the most outstanding builds such as they did with Svarga; but allow access only to premium members. To have access to a collection of the best of SL, I would consider a premium membership.

AJax Manatiso

LL needs to lower tier and they will, indeed, lower tier out of matter of survival, but they are showing the stubbornness of their CEO Rod Humble. Like the captain of a ship, he is saying the water is only up to his waist and he will wait until it's up to his neck before ordering the crew to start bailing. In other words, look for many more private islands to go and even more of the mainland to turn yellow on your maps before LL finally does what it knows it must, and lowers tier.

Ciaran Laval

@GeneVincentTigerpaw Business and sims for people to have fun need to compliment each other.=, that's the main complaint with the marketplace taking store rentals away from inworld locations, those inworld locations help to subsidise roleplaying, entertainment, arts, adventure.

Now with that model on its knees, those who want sims for people to have something to do, are scrambling around for new business ideas.

Ideally tier would be lower, which should in theory lead to people experimenting with fun things to do sims.

Mariko Nightfire

A result of converting existing sims to super-sims at existing tier with triple the number of prims and triple the land area would be that land owners can rent out sim size/prim number rentals for much lower rent than current tier on sims - a solution to the high tier problem.

Desmond Shang

There's a lot of truth in the comments here.

Business models have to be sustainable. Price points have to be right. But even more so... there has to be that ineffable *something* that was once pervasive throughout the grid.

It still exists... in fact, thrives in some areas. Money and regions don't measure it; not really. It's deeper.

I've had to scale back my estate some, but it's still fully operational, yes even in 2013. Barring some change that breaks the fundamentals, Caledon will survive just fine. As of 26 February, it will have been 7 years. Ten years of Caledon won't surprise me at all; in fact... neither would twenty. Others 'get' this; note Jo's community. She's not going anywhere anytime soon, either.

It's more than all that, though. There's a 'future' that SL once had. Much like it took NASA to get to the moon, soon people realised that NASA wasn't the future... it was too costly, too bureaucratic to do much more than show "yes it can be done." The real future will begin with us, in small ways, free from entrenched bean counting, old paradigms of thought and legacy agreements.

A grand virtual future *is* coming :) But perhaps not as expected. I promise. grins

pixels

My thoughts on sl attrition and vanishing sims:

A couple business decisions LL made kicked into high gear the mass exodus of many residents including a lot of the major creative talent.

First, the bait and switch price scam on Homestead sims which LL aggressively marketed at one price then after hundreds (maybe thousands) of people signed up, LL shortly thereafter announced they were going to nearly doubled the cost.

Second was the elimination of the non-profit/academic discount -- the lower tier brought a lot of talent and innovation into SL. With competition for fewer funding dollars, virtual worlds are not a top priority for the non-profits/academic institutions. Even with the discount, it's still costly.

But...

If LL could lower costs across the board...

1. by at least a third for full region sims (and double prim count and land area),
2. halve the cost of Homestead sims and double the prims and make them available like private regions -- where they can be purchased independently to stand alone and not be required to be part of a full region estate,
3. bring back non-profit/academic discounts but charge $100/month tier and no set up fees for a reg full region (15K prims);
2. eliminate or significantly reduce up front set up fees,
3. allow owners to pay sim tier by the month rather than having to fork over six months at a time

I think that would help reduce the exodus and entice people to come back to SL.

LL will also have to develop viewing clients for phones and tablets so people can have access to SL from any device.

LL would have to kick up some savvy marketing and pr strategy to sell SL in a positive light by going beyond the SL web introduction page and getting SL back in the media by citing the vastly original and wonderful places to visit, things to do, the awe inspiring diversity of content that can be found all over SL, the commerce aspect, the incredibly social and connected diverse international community and unique "DIY" environment all of which are vital to SL's success.

The real world economy is still floundering which directly reflects on the SL economy -- people are not going to choose virtual rent over their real world mortgages and other expenses.

So unless you can establish a thriving business in SL, from a purely community, artistic and/or entertainment driven aspect, and to maintain the social connectivity that is unique about SL, the prices simply must come down.

I pay $20 a month for web hosting for an unlimited plan - it would be less if I paid one lump sum annually. So I've never quite understood why sims in SL are so expensive, especially since LL created the platform that OS grids use and the OS grids have manged to expand without charging an arm and a leg for a full sim with double the prims.

The one thing I've heard and not sure if this is true - Hamlet or someone else probably knows the answer to this - is that the physics engine software that LL uses is licensed from another company that charges a lot for it? So not sure if LL is in a position to renegotiate that deal to lower their overhead.

And the archival aspect of sims is something we've discussed in the art community for a long time -- preserving some of the amazing one off art sims and other unique environment sims like those mentioned in this article so they could easily be resurrected to provide new residents the opportunity to experience them and the content creators to update them with new tools, scripts and features such as mesh.

Noodleqt Exonar

Uhm... Where does all that money go? How much power does a sim need? At slicehost I can get a virtual server for 16USD. Maybe LL just need help to organize their serverpark. Badly.

jen

nah, they was using for long second life so they was paying before, so the best is ask what change?
they things that change are second life wont accepts prepaid credits cards anymore even tru your verify paypal account, a lot of users will sacrify others things on their real life to pay for second life, even as expense of their credits, bcuz they preffer having their second life, so if you cut them their options, of course those people win on real life, haha, but the irony is that second life will lost a client. maybe after all second life will do them a favor now they learn to enjoy more their real life.
but as liden lab mean the lost of users and the ones that are willing to sacrifice anything for the game for that life they want to live. and believe me if anyone need that much that game they most be a mess in real life, so yes those ones are the ones willing to pay anything for, is like addicts on the street, the business orriented people dont bring any money to the game, those make their money from those individuals, but of course those individual must have some emonotional disorder and a messy real life.
if second life dont know who are their customers they end losing, i guess they dont have a good business advisor.
lmao rip second life, coming soon!

Amiryu Hosoi

Hosoi Regions rebuild in Kitely

Hosoi Ichiba once was a Japanese themed market surrounding a meditation garden located on a traditional Asian themed island called Japan Kanto in Second Life. The surrounding regions Japan Chubu, Japan, Kasai and China Sichuan are very well known and al regions were listed on the Destination Guide. The regions were packed with great scenery consisting of the old Japanese town, Hosoi Mura, the old Sakura Harbour, the famous Matsumoto Castle, the wonderful Harusaki Onsen, the Great Wall of China, all surrounded by lovely open fields and waterways.

The regions were the home for a great community of brave Samurai and lovely Geisha, Ama divers and craftsman. We were able to keep the regions open for RPG for free for all visitors and the market sales covered the costs. However, because of the economic decline we were forced to close down all regions., leaving a great community and us in tears. At the end of 2012 we had to close down the 4 regions including the market because of the high prices LL is asking for their regions.

We think our lovely scenery and community deserves a second chance and we found our home with Kitely. We are planning to rebuild the complete scenery and more with even better features and atmosphere. But, what is great scenery without great community. We would like to ask and invite everyone to come over and join us so we can have a great time again.

Next to the planned rebuilding of the old Hosoi regions we are also moving our complete SL marketplace to Kitely, giving all Kitely users the chance to enjoy our high detailed products. Our product line consists of a great variety of Japanese and Chinese antiques, furniture, artwork, and other interior decorating elements, together with buildings and building components that can be used to create an authentic Asian or Japanese environment.

Because we need to move over about 1000+ items we would like to ask you to tell us what products you would like to see appear first in the Kitely's Marketplace. Drop us a note or an IM both in SL and KL and we will try to make the product you wish available as soon as we can. If you ever might run into any problem concerning price, quality, delivery, etc.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Impression of our scenery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/89687636@N00/

Marketplace Secondlife: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/6683

Hosoi Mura Kitely: http://www.kitely.com/virtual-world/Amiryu-Hosoi-2/Hosoi-Mura

Kind regards,

Amiryu Hosoi

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