Linden Lab's new offer to lower its monthly land tiers has caused a lot of conversation, and as usual, the latest report from RL statistician and SL land surveyor Tyche Shephard has the data which explains the likely reasons for that move. Here's her March 2016 summary, posted on the SL Universe user forum. Key points are continued decline of monthly revenue from tier payments, down around $5 million+ a year compared with 2013, and strong consolidation among the private "land barons" who now own and control a whopping half of private estate regions:
Taking these figures a good estimate of private estate tier due each month is US$3,385,000 +/- US$43,000. (Calculated using known grandfathering rates but excludes any academic reductions and is rounded to the closest US$1000), this figure is significantly down on Nov 2013's estimate of US$3,857,000 by $472,000 (down by 12%). The top 20 landowners currently control 49.1% (+/- 1.3%) of private estate regions, This is significantly up on Nov 2013 (39.5%) , using list prices their holdings account for 40.6% of total private estate tier (Nov 2013 was 30.5%)
$472,000 decline in a month comes out to a loss of over $5 million a year in tier. And with tier consistently declining, it makes sense for Linden Lab to discount tier as an incentive for remaining landowners to stay put, and try to find new ways of covering that tier (donations, new content, etc). The discount also seems directed at the land barons, who have been around long enough to have large support staffs and a reliable revenue model. With these discounts in place, they now have an incentive to keep operating in SL, even long after Project Sansar launches. At some point, I imagine nearly all private estates in Second Life will be owned by these barons, who'll keep SL operations and (marginally) profitable for years to come.
My immediate, at least -- how about you?
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