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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Disturbing news from Linden Labs™

I don't normally make serious blog posts, but this one is important. If you don't want to read the link below, the long and short of it is that LL™ has dropped the price of mainland and new sims during the second quarter of 2008, in an effort to stimulate the in-world economy.

http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/04/07/quarterly-land-supply-and-island-pricing-update/

Summertime Blues, Honey's UK and all the other stores, our residences, and the skyboxes we rent out, are all located on their own sim, Edscapes Island. Back in January, when we moved there, I seriously considered buying my own sim, but at $1,695 per sim and given the current political and financial uncertainty in the US, I hesitated, and was fortunate enough to find a sim to lease. I pay just slightly more than the monthly tier to a private individual, who in turn pays LL™. There is risk involved in this on both parties' parts, but we're four months into the deal and I think we're all doing ok with it.

When I first heard about the pricing change on private islands, I got excited, thinking ok, maybe now I can buy my own sim. But within a few minutes, a major reality slapped me in the face - everyone who has purchased islands prior to the "launch" of the new pricing just got royally screwed.

While there are many big land players in SL™, there are a lot of little players - folks who are disabled, on fixed incomes, and who invested in islands hoping to make a little money. Those folks just lost $695 USD per sim. Now, presumably, this is going to be a temporary price decrease, but if it isn't...how in the world are the sim owners supposed to recover from that?

As a property landlord, it also occurs to me that this is going to impact the price of home rentals. It remains to be seen by how much. With rental rates currently at $1-2 per prim, I just can't imagine how they can be lower since the Linden™ isn't issued in "cents", and prims are limited on a sim - no matter how much or how little you pay for the sim.

I also wonder if this will really stimulate sales of other products available in-world. Residents are so tired of the instability of the grid that they're leaving in droves. I, like many others, voice the opinion that instead of making all these other changes, perhaps LL™ should focus on the one thing we all crave the most - stability of the grid. The current SL™ economy is suffering, in a very large part, by the instability of the grid. People are afraid to spend money because IF you actually GET the item you purchase, there's no telling how long the asset servers will actually let you KEEP said item. (Another strong argument for the existence of this Freebie blog!)

LL™ - PAY ATTENTION! Stability would bring residents back, bring in new residents, and give all of us the confidence to spend money once again. You wouldn't have to resort to harming your existing customers to stimulate the artificial economy you've created!

Just one girl's opinion.

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