The latest Second Life economic report from Tyche Shepherd of Grid Survey suggests a grim future for private estates in SL -- since January 2012, the world has lost 1138 regions, from 23,857 to 22,719, for a 4.7% loss of the total private estate landmass. This trend will likely continue through 2012. "About a 10% loss feels right by the end of 2012," Tyche tells me, "somewhere between 2000 and 2300 based on the current trends." This would represent an 8% drop in private estate land revenue for Linden Lab, she estimates.
As we've discussed before, private land is Linden Lab's main revenue source in Second Life -- around 80% of the total, company spokesman Peter Gray told me last September. It's extremely probable that this trend of private land loss will continue, and therefore, unless this revenue is replaced by Premium subscriptions and other revenue, in the next few years, the company's profit margin will likely be in serious jeopardy.
Ms. Shepherd, who I profiled here, is in real life (she tells me) a senior statistician for a renowned multinational corporation, and her SL reports have been praised to me by top Linden Lab staffers past and present as being pretty much on the nose. So I do take her forecast as a deeply concerning sign. Which again inspires me to repeat the calls fellow Linden Lab alum along with me have recently made: Make bold and radical changes to Second Life to grow its userbase and revenue before it's too late.
After the break, read some excerpts from my conversation with Tyche, for more on this continued loss of land: