Hosoi Ichiba, a Japanese-themed SL market which supported six very beautiful sims, has entirely left Second Life, moving to the OpenSim-based Kitely. The sims had attracted a community of some 150-200 SLers, owner Amiryu Hosoi tells me, "All very active in samurai, geisha and villagers roles", but the collapsing real world economy made it difficult for Hosoi to maintain those islands.
During its heyday, he says, "There were months Hosoi Ichiba earned about $4000 USD/month and every dime flooded back in the project... I had 5 people working for me assisting customers and helping them find what they needed." Then the bottom started to fall out:
"When the real life economy came to a halt customers kept visiting but didn’t spend that much money anymore. SL is a game and Linden Dollars is 'hobby money'. When people in real life start to earn less the first thing they do is cutting on expenses like magazines, games, etc. That was what has happened. People just didn’t have the money for my products let alone to buy or rent a sim in SL where they could use my products that are mainly scenery, sim design products."
Now he's moving to Kitely, which sells virtual land at much cheaper rates than Second Life: "I already have 300 products transferred to their marketplace and made a few great sales... I will start rebuilding my regions very soon." The question is whether how much of the community created in Second Life will follow him there. Read more on the Hosoi Ichiba blog.
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