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Wednesday, June 06, 2012


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This doesn't surprise me. I get a lot of notices of stores closing and sims closing because people just can't afford it. I suspect the increase in homesteads is more because people are trying to avoid the expense of a full sim ($1000 to start, a bit under US$300/month, etc.) But that's just my perspective from my little corner of the grid.

Seven Overdrive

The rent's just too damn high! LOL

Emperor Norton

And,..? LL doesn't care about it, why should we? We're not the one facing layoffs or loss of investment money.

Metacam Oh

Emperor, its probably cheaper for them to just keep milking the dying cow until its done.

Colleen Marjeta

The bottom line is, private land in SL is too expensive. When Erie Isle was in its heyday, we kept 5 sims afloat with a 2 or 3 month buffer primarily because a dozen or so very dedicated players invested a lot of money into keeping the sim running. But in difficult economic times, it becomes very difficult to justify a 20 to 100 dollar per month expense for entertainment, no matter how engrossing it may have been.

I've always felt that Linden Lab could make a huge impact by lowering private sim prices enough that they could make up in volume what they lose in margin.


The sky is falling! The sky is falling! ;-)

Joke aside, if LL doesn't change its tier policy all that will be left soon will be the abandoned Mainland... and the overpopulated Noobland.

The poor hamsters which spin the wheels will have to get used to a very severe diet.


"Profit margin" can be great even if only 1,000 sims are left. It's just a percentage. If Linden Lab wanted to increase profit margins they should hike tier costs again.

It's total profit that really matters, and in order for Linden Lab to grow total profits they'll have to CUT the profit margin, the amount of dollars they profit off each hosted region, in order to reduce tier costs and expand the affordability of land ownership to a market that's so obviously there.

While I would love nothing but to see the grid growing again, I don't want to see it growing under the harsh contrast of Rod smugly bragging about profits at SLCC while sim owners are pushing kickstarters and donation drives; all the while Linden Lab is competing against their malls, residentials and attractions with Marketplace, Linden Homes and Linden Realms/Wilderness.

So, good. The more people realize "land" is just an abstraction and its absolutely ridiculous to pay 300 dollars a month for the use of 1 core of a server, the better.

Linden Lab isn't a company that sympathizes with anything other than balance sheets. They refuse to even SPEAK about prices but goad proudly about how they're competing with customers next. So, the more people that abandon their land the sooner Linden Lab will have to address their ridiculous pricing structure, and the more likely Second Life will still be around 10 years from now.

Desmond Shang

This is just a stark reminder that businesses don't really set prices, customers do.

Supposedly there were going to be some 'reveals' of things they are working on, perhaps new products or whatnot at some point. Shall be interesting to see. I'm sure a number of people are getting paid a lot of money to sort all that out and bring success.

I wish them the best, and would love to see the return of growth somehow. Maybe cost saving methods, like idling regions when nobody's there, will allow their expenses to come down.

Ehrman Digfoot

With many of the new pathfinding and experience tools being restricted to region owners, the value and desirability of owning a private region may increase soon. I know I've certainly been thinking about it. I don't mind the grandfathered homesteads that much, but I get so frustrated everytime I see an oldbie land baron owned full region with rental structures that couldn't possibly come close to supporting the current $300/month fee. I can't help but feel they're receiving some kind of backroom deal, and it just doesn't feel fair for those of us with post 2007 rez days. Hopefully the recession will level the playing field slightly.

Jo Yardley

Yep, tier HAS to come down, or LL should at least experience with lower tier for sims during their first year so people can get projects started, see if they work and are worth keeping afloat.
Or make land a LOT cheaper, if you don't have to pay 1000$ for a region, you can pay the tier for about 3 months with that money.
But even with things like that, general tier should just come down.
My sim is doing very well, we have managed to pay our tier as a community for over 3 years, but if tier was lower I'd probably have bought a second sim by now.
Making the SL experience better is no good if people can't afford it.
Forget about improving stuff for a second and make SL cheaper or give us more for our money.
Would it kill LL to (for instance) give a nice fat discount on buying an homestead or homestead region to everyone renting a full region?
I reckon that for 295 a month they should add more to what we get or lower the price.
Or both.

That will get people renting again.

Shug Maitland

/me drops the needle on the broken record:
1- There is absolutely no excuse for land rental prices on private (= custom features and isolation) islands being cheaper than Mainland where we must pay premium fees + tier for anything over 512sqM.
2- Marketplace - - - What were they thinking? Once you put your stuff on marketplace, a store, land (rented or "owned"), even a premium account are all unnecessary overhead.
We tried and tried to explain all of this, they do not listen!


As a homestead owner (renter actually) close to maxing out 3750 prims, I wouldn't mind paying more to add 1000 or 2000 prims to my sim, but there is just no such option. 15000 prims is the next step-up and too expensive. If its virtual estate anyway, why aren't they offering midpoints or more flexibility to something which is their main source of revenue?

Conversely a fullprim sim owner who finds 15,000 prims too expensive to upkeep has no option of going down to 7000, and 3750 is too little, so they decide to just close the sim.

Ann Otoole InSL

The irony of people suggesting LL halve it's revenue is strong. LL doesn't care. Looks like rodvik left the building. The so-called "experience tools" are wreaking havoc because LL has no SQA. Nor will those features add any value at all once fixed.

Fact is we are a dying race. The finger effing iphone kids with retard games are the future. And they can stick it where the sun don't shine.

Hitomi Tiponi

When I joined in Decemeber 2008 there were 24,000 - the following year it hit a low of 21,000, then in 2010 it topped 25,000 and now it is just below 23,000. To me that sounds amazingly level. And with new improvements such as 'Region Idling' reducing the need for as much server processing power I doubt this will affect LL's profits too much.

Cube Republic

If you go to mainland and have a look on the map it looks to me like at least a third of the land is for sale. Ordinarily this would not be so worrying if all the holdings were held by private individuals. However this is not the case, most are for sale a 1L per sq/m as abandoned land by Governor Linden. So at the end of the day LL are footing the bill for it.


I think this is a good thing. Second Life needs to be leaner. With less land there will be higher quality builds with a denser population. With this will be more socializing. More game playing. More sales of products (if Joe has it I want it.) A more exciting, lively, interesting world.

Second Life is not what we dreamed it would be.

Today it's a mostly barren wasteland of ugly builds. You can wander for hours without seeing more than a few silent avatars.

Yes, there are still places where people congregate.. people who are jaded and lifeless, people who spend all their time standing in place and chatting about their disillusionment with Second Life.

For good reason. When they joined they had a dream of a lively vibrant world.. a world where they could bring their talents and skills and be rewarded for it. Sims were purchased, lands were rented, and the world got bigger. They were hopeful and optimistic about the future. They had the tolerance to deal with the limits that really hold Second Life back. They thought that with time and the growing popularity of Second Life that these things would be fixed. That chat wouldn't fail as much. That sims would be able to hold ever greater amounts of agents without lag. That borders could be crossed without notice. They imagined a future of events with thousands of people attending. Of cars driving the roads and planes in the skies. A lively and vibrant world with energy and enthusiasm.

As time passed these things didn't get fixed. They stayed because they believed.. but the regular users.. the customers.. they didn't believe and they left. Why should they stay? They wanted these things now.. not in some hoped for future.

Today we have chat fixed and we can cross borders reasonably well.. but Sims still can't handle more than 20-30 agents. And with a large world why should anyone really care?

Make it smaller and maybe, just maybe, the real problem will be fixed.

shockwave yareach

Cut price on all tier by 20%. Anything less and you may as well not bother.

Permit ANYONE with premium to buy a homestead; no main island required.

Begin a "Welcome Back" program where anyone who lost an island for any reason other than banning can have it back at NO FEE just by picking up the new tier again.

Simplify the TOS to say what you do on your own land, so long as it violates no laws in your country and isn't visible from public roads or waters, is your business.

FIX the double danged marketplace to limit how many items that can be in it, tied to how much land the person owns/rents. Today owning a store is a sucker bet when you can make money for nothing in the marketplace.

You will then stop the losses and begin growing the grid again. Today there is no reason to keep land except you don't want to see it go away. More and more, that nostalgia is wearing off. So if you don't make it where people can afford the land, and tell people they will be left alone to enjoy their purchases (within the law), people will continue to abandon the sinking ship. Let people afford fantasylands again, and let those who left be able to afford to come back, and you can save the ship. Only after you save the ship can you try to do the other things to make the platform more attractive to others and expand. You can't expand if your business is dying... you have to stabilize the business first.


That sky sure is taking a lonnnnnng time to fall.

I would not put it past those working within LL's cloak-and-dagger corporate culture to be gleeful over this loss, for some reason we mere mortals cannot fathom.

shockwave yareach

Iggy - some have speculated that the board members plan to destroy SL as soon as their new secret replacement is ready. They'll do so by making tier unholy high, making everyone quit and abandon their sims. That way they can just turn off the switch without a lawsuit. Then the next day, turn on the switch for SL2.0 or whatever they'll call it. You can bet your boots that 2.0 won't have you "owning" a danged thing, even if you created it yourself.

Pussycat Catnap

"Bold and radical changes"

- a pointless statement without a followup of what kind of change.

Change itself has no value without context.

As for estate dwindling - this is in the long picture a good thing. Sim per sim mainland is more profitable, less costly, and less risky. But they will need, at some point - to have more mainland to make up for the loss.

A smaller SL, which becomes less scattered, less dispersed, more interconnected, and more social - would be a good thing.

That's a point Hamelet himself has made here, and even trotted out Desmond Shang to back him up on.

Pussycat Catnap

"2- Marketplace - - - What were they thinking? Once you put your stuff on marketplace, a store, land (rented or "owned"), even a premium account are all unnecessary overhead.

Marketplace is the goose that laid the solid lead egg.

Its killing Second Life's land viability, exploration, and social community by making it possible to just sit in one spot - that someone else is paying for - and never go anywhere.

While streaming down estate land would be good - unless you kill marketplace, there will be no offset of added strength to mainland.

Adeon Writer

They are probably all malls and stores. With the Marketplace, you simply don't need land to sell things.

shockwave yareach

Adeon - so a simple solution is a box that all marketplace owners have to put on their land.

Marketplace is limited to 10 items.

Once a day, the script in this MARKETPLACE BUILDER cube checks that the land is owned by the same person the cube is. And it sends the number of sq meters of land it sits on to the marketplace server along with the owner UUID

Marketplace server takes that UUID and land size, divides landsize by 200, and permits that many more items to be sold in the marketplace. (If you have 8192m, you can sell 10 + 40 items in the marketplace; if you own an entire sim, you can have 10 + 327 items. If you are a newb or have no land at all, you can have 10 items in the marketplace.)

This wouldn't be terribly hard and would tie the size of the marketplace store to the size of the land the creator owns/rents. Today, though, you can have 32767 items for sale in marketplace and squat in a sandbox, making LL nothing except their cut for converting the L back to dollars. Today, having land for your store is a sucker's bet -- your competition has no such cost and thus can sell cheaper, driving you and your tier out of SL.

Pussycat Catnap

Shockwave: Why so complex a method?

Just have MP only show items that are inworld.

Want to sell it? rez it.

MP would then send not a copy from your inventory or some magic box, but a copy of the rezzed item. So that if the item ever gets unrezzed, it can't be sold.

For further backup - only take items that have 'for sale' checked off, from parcels that can be entered (no banlines), parcels and items both in search, and parcels that don't have the buyer on the banlist.

- Handles all the issues via prims, land, too many listings, and so on rather than adding in a series of lag inducing equations that duplicate existing processes.

Final ideal solution better than all of the above:

Remove buying from MP. Replace it with opening the map to the SLURL of the item. In other words, make MP solely an out-of-world item search for inworld objects.

Ener Hax

i predicted a loss of 2500 on jan 17th - not out of malice, just observation of Tyche's numbers

SL is over 10 years old and despite improvements in code and several server upgrades, mundane things like prim limits have stayed the same. it's too bad that LL has never raised those limits, even a modest 20% increase would be great for private estate owners - after all, you are paying for prims

even sim-on-a-stick will run 50,000 prims for Pete's sake!

even though i'm not inSL anymore, i would hate to see them go under - however, even with the expected loss, LL is still making a good chuck of change!

Ehrman Digfoot

As a content creator I rent land to demo my products which is something the Marketplace encourages by including SLURL's in each listing. I also participate in the economy and community generally, but purchasing an entire sim at current tier is just not possible.

The Marketplace Direct Delivery system does not discourage me from participating in SL or the land economy at all. On the contrary, the polish of the Marketplace system is something I feel distinguishes SL from many other attempts at real economies in other virtual worlds. The only people I ever hear complaining about the Marketplace are the old land barons, those who live by buying and selling and never creating quality content themselves.

Shug Maitland

@ Ehrman; I am not an "old land baron", in fact I am a long time mainland resident. Marketplace is simply structured wrong. My suggestion is a one time listing fee (perhaps 100L) paid by the creator and a delivery fee paid by the purchaser. Back that up with an in world vendor system that sells from marketplace without the delivery fee and stores would come back. The trick would be in structuring the delivery fee right, someone would need to work the numbers.

Seven Overdrive

I never much liked the baron land model in SL. I always thought the "land" in SL should have been treated as server space that you bought directly from the Lab and returned back to them when you no longer wanted to pay for it.

I am guessing that it is because of the largest estate barons that SL tiers are stuck so high. It really wouldn't be in their interest for more people to be able to afford private islands,so I don't think LL has any choice but to stay the course and hope more people miraculously get rich enough to buy more sims.

If they can't lower tier then they should offer more tier levels with private island ownership. I like the idea of a 7500 prim private island. That would be a nice step in-between a homestead and a full region. Also allowing homesteads to be purchased without having to own a full region would help as well. The baron mark-up on homesteads really kill the value of renting one.

Mainland? Forget it. It has way too many headaches to even be worth its current tier level and would need to be nearly free to be worth it for me.

Ehrman Digfoot

@Shug But if you're not a land baron, I just don't understand why you want stores to return. For most of us stores are an eyesore, take forever to rez, are not necessarily social, and are heavily scripted with unnecessary vendor systems. If you're not trying to generate income from rent, I'd much rather see a nice park on the mainland, a forest, a little museum, art gallery, train station . . . I'd rather see almost anything else on the mainland that's not a store with dozens of textures and vendors.

Pussycat Catnap

@Ehrman: You're an exception to the trendline, albeit still in the majority.

Most merchants still have land. But it is a rapidly growing demographic that sells and showcases ONLY through marketplace.

Some of them amazingly foolishly so - like house or vehicle makers that give no demos either inworld or through MP... But... they're growing in number.
- Many will fail for lack of such demos. But many are doing well at it.

Self-focused people see MP as good.

Yes, it is fast, convenient, and frees one up from paying tier. Benefits for both consumer and seller.

BUT... it "frees one up from paying tier"... if very bad for the larger ecosystem.

Like driving an SUV: you get to work with all the kids crammed in back, but you kill the planet you live on... making getting to work pointless.

Pussycat Catnap

"I'd rather see almost anything else on the mainland that's not a store with dozens of textures and vendors."

Write me up a business model for how one of your anything else locations will pay for its tier.

A realistic one. Not a "we'll get tips" fantasy. :)

Start to trace where the funds come from to pay for venues we love... and you'll see why the goose is cooked...

Ehrman Digfoot

And to be clear, I think it's great when people create environments and rent out residential spaces in those environments. Some of SL's greatest RP sims try to operate on this revenue model to varying degrees of success (most do end up soliciting donations in the end or turning the sim into a mall).

But for the real land barons, every prim, with the exception of a few trees perhaps, go to austere division of the land for rent. I don't want to pay a middle man, an uncreative buy and sell land baron, and pay a premium at that, for barebones access to LL's product, land. This is LL's responsibility.

If, however, renting stores is the only way to fund my build, then I'm not working hard enough to create engaging content, and that's not LL's fault, it's my own.

Shug Maitland

Why I like stores in SL:
1- Shopping is part of the shared user experience, or in other words, community. I will frequently say hi to other shoppers -- used to be they would say hi back.
2- Shops, especially on the mainland, are in neighborhoods or malls. I can not tell you the number of times I have gone to a shop for something only to find something completely different that I did not even know I wanted in a neighboring shop :)
3- Shopping in stores exposes you to the goods displayed in an environment that gives you a feel for the pride in craftsmanship and ability of the creator.

In short it is the difference between traveling to Freeport, ME to shop at the LL Bean store and spending the day in the town vs. thumbing through the catalog.


I think the most important point is that land simply is too expensive.

And land of your own is essential to experience SL at its best, and at its most creative. But especially the kind of land (the number of prims!) you need to create an environment -- a park, a building, a shop -- to draw an audience, is much too expensive. Especially for young, creative people without an income of their own.

Also, I think there's a point to what Shadowen says. Many sims seem to be empty most of the time ... which IMO raises two points: One, how long are people willing and able to afford dumping so much money into a void? And two, while I personally enjoy my solitary ramblings, most people join online games and worlds to experience community. Not to wander aimlessly around empty sims.

Unfortunately that leads right to the huge technical problems of SL. As soon as there's an event, LAG is an issue. Often it gets so bad that you can barely move. Not exactly what draws people to stay or to invest. Add to that the ugly viewer with its old-fashioned, overcomplicated menus and design, and how much SL requires in terms of technical resources to run smoothly ... All of that doesn't make for an easy or pleasant experience -- not to mention the reputation SL has in general!

If land (or rather the prims you need to create something special) were cheaper, if SL was easier to use both in terms of the viewer and the necessary resources … I think more people would be happy to invest.

Susannah Avonside

I joined SL in mid 2010, and enjoyed the experience greatly, and also saw the creative potential of the underlying technology. However, it struck me that most of the regions that interested me were the exact same regions suffering from the extremes of lag, either due to popularity, or, more usually due to the complexity and richness of the builds. Lag is a killer, and something that keeps people away, and this highlights the seriously limited scaleability of SL. It's all about greed. The 15000 prim per sim limit is ridiculously low when compared to Open Sim technology that in some instances, (Kitely) that supports up to 100,000 prims per sim. (I realise that due to the way the technology is implemented that SL and Kitely are not directly comparable, but you will see my point) Even the 'cooking' release of Open Sim is capable of implementing up to 80,000 prims per region.

I'm sure that LL's server code will also support similar figures to these, but along with the limit of avatars per region, it's down to sheer greed - charging nearly $300 a month for a region that will support only 15000 prims and 20 - 30 avatars on a single core is daylight robbery for a region that will have avatars struggling like they are trying to walk through treacle if the build is as rich and immersive as somewhere like Forest Feast or Japan Tempura Island.

How do LL justify such profiteering? With the correct level of hardware, such places could be transformed and then we could see popularity return to SL - so long as LL dropped the price to a 'reasonable' level. As for what is reasonable, one only has to look at costings for datacentre hosting of Open Sim regions, which (discounting vps offerings, which aren't usually suitable for VW implementation) seems to start at around $30 a month per region, and that's with a reputable company dealing exclusively with virtual worlds. Maybe because it's SL and has (still) such a high user base it commands a premium, but not to the extent of $300 a month. Whilst there may well be a steady and slow decline of SL, Open Sim sees a slow increase. No one sane would claim that any Open Sim based grid was a hive of activity, but in OS Grid at least I am seeing more and more new users, and returning users. Many are refugees from SL, usually those who have avoided the 'walled garden' copycats of SL, InWorldz or Avination, for example, both of which are also based on Open Sim code. (and both of which are based on greed - and if not failing, are hardly flourishing - a portent for SL, maybe?) Most Open Sim based virtual worlds are not commercial, and there is a lively debate as to whether an economy is needed or not. My personal view is that an economy is needed, as is the ability to travel seamlessly between virtual worlds through implementation of Hypergrid. That will probably send shudders down the spine of many content creators concerned about content theft of their intellectual property, but the whole theme of content theft in Open Sim has become part of the FUD about Open Sim; that it's hotbed of copybotters supplying all the half-decent stuff available. The truth is, that whilst you will find ripped-off stuff in Open Sim worlds, you will find much, much more of it in SL. There is a small, but growing dedicated group of content creators who are making Open Sim a better looking place to be. We still need more who are dedicated to the more 'mainstream' SL kind of stuff, rather than Sci-Fi or BDSM themed stuff, but that is happening. I'm sure in time a practicable virtual money system will evolve, as indeed there are already two systems that are grid independent, but based on the Linden Dollar.

No one is going to make a huge fortune out of virtual worlds based on Open Sim, and grids like Avination and InWorldz, and SL as well have no future in my opinion, unless they get real, smell the coffee and open up and get realistic about their greed. I am still on SL from time to time as I still have a lot of friends there, but mostly now I am on OS Grid but Hypergridded to my very own sim on a connected virtual world where I am engaged in a large build that is around the 14000 prim range - and because I've worked with the grid owner (I guess I am the stress test guinea pig) it's almost completely lag free. I urge SL people to come and at least take a look at Open Sim. You may not be wowed with the way things look, but remember, it's a development still in Alpha, and is going places. You may not stay, but an increasing number of the RPG groups that were on SL are now migrating to Open Sim now that it's basically stable, and more to the point, extremely affordable compared to SL. Things can only get better for Open Sim, especially as it becomes ever easier to implement one's own private virtual world running on one's own server, at home, and connected to the wider Metaverse either as a Hypergrid enabled standalone, or directly connected to one of the bigger grids such as OS Grid. See it as the embryonic 3D Web that SL promised to be, see SL as analagous to AOL...

shockwave yareach

Catnip -- complex? Mine is quite simple to do actually. You simply adjust the displayMax counter for each user when you get new data in from the box (in the form of an email). This then is dynamic and with a few tweaks can take into account having multiple boxes on different sims. The infrastructure of the servers and the server code is readily adaptable this way. If anything, it's the simplest solution I have been able to come up with -- a landmeasure cube that tells marketplace how much land $user has where it is so marketplace can limit how many items from $user are visible in the marketplace.

But how would the marketplace server know that $item was rezzed by you somewhere in the world? There's no way for the marketplace to tell; none at all.

Archangel Mortenwold

I agree with the people saying land proces in SL needs to come down. If you look at comparable grids like InWorldz, they charge $75.00 USD for tier and you get the same square meters and triple the prim count, making the cost benefit worth it. InWorldz' only problem is starting in a crowded market in a downturned economy that has no hope of recovery as long as far right economics holds sway. Otherwise, it would have mopped up the floor with Linden Lab years ago.

Linden Lab simply HAS to lower its tier price, by one half to two thirds, and expand the number of prims allowed. This will bring back many if not most of the sims that had to shut down for lack of money, and attract new sim owners who can add to the overall SL experience.

If Linden Lab doesn't do this, then it's looking at closing its doors forever within a couple of years if not sooner. It's stupid in a lousy economy to punish existing customers with outrageously high fees when others are offering more for less.

Fu Barr

People!! it's time to wake up!! Linden Labs as a business is a _hosting_ company and if you don't host with them... you dont have to pay them.

If you're worried about tier, get a dedicated server with a different hosting company (like serverloft.com or kimsufi.co.uk) and run opensimulator (www.opensimulator.org) connected to OSgrid (www.osgrid.org).

You'll get free asset uploads, unlimited prim, backups for your builds and terraforms, and depending on the size of your builds you could be running 4-8 full-prim sims on a 100 USD a month server.

Anybody who still voluntarily pays tier on the Linden grid deserves to be overcharged!


Fu Barr:
Yes! Switch to an "alternative" grid and get tons of features and free stuff! Wow!

Also, get lonely. Because there aren't anyone else there. The open grids are pointless because they don't have the populations. Nor are they likely to get them any time soon.

And to all the whiners:
I agree with Shadowen's post above, which is spot on. Lower tiers would not solve anything, you people are just whining because you want to pay less. The problem (as Shadowen points out) is not that land is too expensive for people, but that there is way too much crappy, underdeveloped and empty land everywhere. Adding MORE pointless land by lowering tier makes it worse.

If one is to complain about Linden strategy then their over-focus on the Marketplace (over in-world shopping) is a much bigger problem. It makes sense for short term Linden revenue but encouraging people to do stuff in-world might be better long term.

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