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Wednesday, September 04, 2013


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Is funny how Linden Labs is trying to go after building blocks 3 years after Minecraft showed the world what a simplified builder game can sell for.

Ironic because LL always had the technology and in house technical skill to do Minecraft, Blockworld or a simple no fuss building game. What was missing was the vision, and wisdom to go for a lower cost product.

Au's own book shows how very early in SL's history Linden Labs realized how people loved to build and would pay money to be able to build houses and tables and even simply make the terrain around their house more pleasant.

But instead of charging $10 one time to the customer and giving the customer the ability to build for free for years LL went high end. Building in Second Life, outside of 1 hour reset sandbox sims costs as much as owning a car.

Some builders are lucky enough to be subsidized by sim owners, modern Mecenas that pay the car cost to let talented people drive it. Yet like we have known since the middle ages or earlier, the relationship between patrons and artists is rife with tension. The devil in Da Vinci's Sistine Chapel looks eerily like Da Vinci's patron. I'm pretty sure a lot of builders in SL thought of similar ideas when building for an irascible sim owner.

After 5 years owning a sim I'm now using the tiny "free home" that subscribers get for $72 a year. I might not renew SL subscription next year and be "virtually homeless".
People see all those sims disappearing and don't know the reason. Is simple: Owning a sim in Second Life costs as much as a car payment. Not kidding here.
A sim costs $1,000 downpayment, a car can be had for as little as that down. A sim also has a monthly tier of $295 per month which is also what a monthly payment for a car costs.
After 5 years owning a car, I am left with a valuable used car that can be sold for 1-3,000 dollars depending on the mileage. After 5 years owning a sim I was left with... memories.
A 5 years old car can be used as down payment for a new car. An abandoned 5 years old sim can not be retrieved. You need to pay the $1,000 all over again, absolutely no discount or consideration is given for the $15,000 or more you spent on the old sim.
I type this to show people why SL is dying: LL greed killed it at birth. By sucking artists dry, or making an environment were artists have to endure the whims of rich patrons who are then sucked dry by LL they made money eating their own in world creativity.SL's revenue model was shown for what it is by a little independent programmer out of nowhere in May 2009. LL had a good run but ther is no way people will keep on paying a car payment to build now that even Linden Labs itself is jumping on the bandwagon of low cost building games.

It is ironic that a company that had such a reputation for it's vision for virtual worlds failed to see the reality right under it's nose. SL is an extremely overpriced high end platform that lacks performance to be really used for high end games or anything more than "play barbie shopping" (oh and pr0n). Lowering the price substantially, even while cutting features was always the better answer. Or fixing the lag and cross sim issues. They did neither and now see the decline of their product and Notch "eating SL's lunch" for years on end.

Metacam Oh

Renmiri hit it on the head. Lease a brand new Lexus or pay Linden Lab to have a 256m x 256m virtual box to build in. 3 years after paying Mojang 15 bucks for Minecraft I'm still going strong.

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Wagner James Au
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