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:
The beloved Mont Saint Michel was scheduled to depart Second Life last month, but for one reason or another, it's still there -- I just briefly visited. Maybe the Japanese owner Moeka kohime hasn't transferred the sim yet, or the new owner hasn't wiped the actual build, or (as sometimes is the case), Linden Lab hasn't gotten around to taking it off the grid yet. Am looking into this, but in any case, click here to visit while you can.
That aside, there's some decent machinima memorializing Mont Saint Michel, which will lost forever (unless the heat death of the universe wipes out YouTube's servers, at least). Here's a new one from Kawanishi Yana:
Sim Deathwatch: Second Life's Beloved Recreation of Mont Saint Michel Soon Leaving SL for "Economical" Reasons
This truly sucks: The painstaking Second Life recreation of France's Mont Saint Michel is disappearing at the end of September due to "economical" reasons, creator and owner Moeka kohime recently announced. Ms. kohime is also the owner of SL's popular *Edelweiss" Japanese fashion brand, which she reports is still going strong -- but apparently, not strong enough to continue supporting the much-visited, much-photographed virtual landmark. Destination guide below - visit in the next nine days!
Bad news via Ziki Questi: Venexia (above) and Goatswood, two beautiful and acclaimed MMO roleplay sims owned and managed by the SGS/eDream Factory studio, are going away very soon - June 13 and 19th, respectively. Ziki has all the details and links you need, and notes that waning traffic seems to be the problem:
[O]ver time, the sims have become more and more quiet, to the point where visitors might now find themselves wandering solo. Guests have always been welcomed and provided with a free three-day pass, but perhaps for the casual explorer that very aspect diminished the sims' desirability as places to simply visit.
With less and less active users paying the sim owners to play their MMOs, paying Linden Lab $300 each month for each sim quickly became unsustainable. This is disappointing, because while most sim owners can't afford to keep operating without a revenue model, these two did.
Here's a machinima of Venexia, BTW:
Cthulhu Can't Cover the Rent! Beautiful Lovecraft Tribute Faces Deletion From SL If Not Saved by Supporters in Time
Innsmouth, a very beautiful (if ungodly horror is beautiful) Second Life sim-wide tribute to the works of HP Lovecraft, is in jeopardy of leaving Second Life, according to the blog of the HP Lovecraft Roleplay Group (HPL-RPG) in SL:
On September 15th, Darmin Darkes, the owner of the Innsmouth-themed sim announced the following: “Innsmouth sim is for sale. I’m giving first dibs to you folks in the hopes that someone will want to keep some of the build. Worst case is having to flatten it and sell it. I just can’t afford it any longer..." As a result of this notice, a number of Second Lifers have been working together, through a group called, “The Innsmouth Preservation Society,” to help with the upkeep and potentially to purchase this sim, then maintain it.
Emphasis mine, because it needs emphasizing. Go here to get involved. And, of course, click here to visit Innsmouth while there's still time.
This is the picture of an old majestic ship slowly sinking while the crew scavenges the hull to build an entirely new vessel:
It is, of course, the current state of Second Life private sim ownership, the core revenue source for Linden Lab -- which, as data expert Tyche Shepherd reports, has now slipped to below 2008 levels, when Second Life was riding high. (Infographic from her indispensable Grid Survey site.)
Now ordinarily, this news would lead to a lot of outrage and yelps of terror among hardcore SLers, but as I said last week, we now need to look at this loss from a totally new perspective:
Last month we noticed an unexpected growth in Second Life private sim ownership (according to Grid Survey), which was nice, since sims constitute Second Life's core revenue. This month, however, all that gain has sadly slipped away:
In March, many over-enthusiastic SLers were proclaiming the temporary gain as an "Ebbe effect", attributing it to the entrance and leadership of new Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg -- but were that the case, the gains should still be happening. Instead, this return to the status quo shows what's really going on:
Crunching the numbers from Tyche Shepherd's Grid Survey data, Ener Hax has a new forecast for revenue Linden Lab is earning from private sims: $47,700,000 in 2013, which is down from $60,624,000 in 2010. Back in 2011, Linden Lab's spokesman told me just under 80% of the company’s revenue is from land fees, so this could be a fairly sharp drop in overall revenue for the company. At the same time, Linden Lab seems to be getting pretty good revenue with Blocksworld, its new iOS app, while it's also boosted promotion for its monthly Premium subscriptions for Second Life, so it's possible some or even much of this private sim shortfall has been made up for by other revenue streams.
And yet again, as I've saying for several years, this also means Second Life needs new users to survive. Oculus Rift integration could bring many in, as could a robust mobile version. And yet again, no, as I keep repeating about as much, lowering private sim fees will not stop the loss of private sim revenue, only make it worse. Here's why:
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: