Monday, 9 July 2012


The astounding virtual world Secondlife is in decline. The world itself, the islands of Secondlife are slowly disappearing

The current high tier costs are obviously too much to bare for the user base. Nearly 400 private sims lost in the last 2 weeks. That is a very large loss for such a short period of time. And we're going to see bigger and greater dips unless Linden lab addresses the over pricing of it's main product - virtual land.

Cloudparty a new virtual world on the horizon has made an interesting play with its low cost entry point for an island of your own at $14.99 USD and has the potential to gut Linden Lab's residential users/players from Secondlife. We could see massive losses of land and mass migration if good content creators set up in Cloudparty.

Within 12 months SL content creators could fill the Cloudparty Marketplace with an vast array of quality content to entice away Secondlife residential players and socialisers.

Right now Secondlife life is more reliant on the constant flow of content created by the virtual fashion industry and creators than they would like to admit. If these creators turn their attention to Cloudparty there will be nothing to stop a sudden and dramatic migration away from Secondlife.

I'm talking about the migration of content creators to Cloudparty. If creators go to Cloudparty, everyone will follow. It's not what Linden Lab are doing that keeps people in Secondlife, it's the content that the creator community develops that is maintaining interest in Secondlife.

Linden Lab are utterly and completely reliant on the creator community to keep creating and keep interest up, since they themselves appear to be doing nothing. Infact they are working on other projects and of course fighting the war on lag which they've been losing for 9 years.

The Lag is NOT the problem with Secondlife. It's the oppressive and onerous monthly tier costs that are driving customers away.

It's the failure to make Secondlife islands affordable that will be the death of Secondlife


  1. I agree that the biggest problem right now on Second Life is tier. There is an extra reason for the "why now?" question: mesh content, with its new Land Impact rules, is still not working its magic, because people are unsure if they will need more land — and pay more tier — when purchasing those lovely meshes. Add to that the hints from LL that they will apply Land Impact calculations to sculpties and heavily tortured prims, and the question becomes more and more preeminent: will the "prim economy" of the future, based on Land Impact, mean even higher tier costs or not? The lack of a clear answer — or migration plan — from LL means that tier costs might skyrocket — or be completely different — thus raising more uncertainty about the future cost of running an operation (shop, community, whatever) in SL. So no wonder people continue to leave.

    I'm not so sure about Cloud Party's "success". Due to the lack of permissions as well as the lack of a marketplace, it seemed premature to me that they have already opened to the public so early. Obviously early adopters will flock to it, as it's sufficiently similar to SL — user-generated meshed content with a familiar programming language (JavaScript) — without seeming to have the same limitations, due to a different way of dealing with the scaling problem (no immediate visual contiguity and sharding to deal with busy floating islands with more than 25 avatars). Nevertheless, I already saw JubJub doing the math and showing how Cloud Party, at this moment, is far more expensive than Second Life — the difference is how the pricing is calculated, which gives a user a false sense of actually "getting more for less": those $14.99 USD gets you an amount of triangles equivalent to a SL 512 plot with 117 sculpties — which in SL actually costs less! It would be the equivalent of having LL selling you a new version of Open Spaces with just 117 prims, but within a 256x256 area.

    Nevertheless it's clever for Cloud Party to set the pricing as they do. The impact of announcing "get your own island for $14.99" is huge. Then, when people start adding content to it, they will quickly run out of triangles — but they will still have the feeling of "owning a whole island", which is pretty much what Cloud Party intends them to feel.

  2. Thank you Gwyneth I appreciate your comments. Agreed if the Lindens did ever change the Land Impact for sculpties and tortured prims we'd basically see sculpty armageddon and we'd see 1000's of sims being lost and years of content and effort destroyed. Could possibly push SL over the edge. If one sculpty became 2 LI it would effectively be like doubling the price of land.

    Regarding Cloudparty it remains to be seen what will happen when it start to scale. I saw jubjub maths too but I don't agree as my background includes creating VRML VR worlds 10 years ago when an avatar and all it's clothes was 1000 triangles and the world itself couldn't be more than 25k triangles. Sculpties and Secondlife prims have given everyone a weird perspective on what real low polygon models with normal maps, could and should be. I've seen SL shoes that are 300k triangle, that's as many polygons as the basic 14.95USd island allows.

    There are amazing possibilities for optimising polygons and 3D content that SL just doesn't encourage. In fact SL has encouraged very bad habits. It's easily possible to make great looking house out of 2000-4000 polygons, the equivalent of 2 sculpties.

    Secondlife prims and sculpties in no way compare to real game style low polygon modeling, which I believe the Cloudparty guys have in mind.

    Secondlife is rather awesome and I'm convinced it's the pricing more than anything else that is causing the stagnation and poor user retention

    Definitely agree with you about Cloudparty's pricing strategy enabling people to own their own island. That's a wonderful feeling to give your customers. Perhaps LL could learn from that and perhaps allow anybody to buy a Homestead without owning a full sim. Or how about an SL entry level sim for $49.95USd 1800prims, 10 agents. Wouldn't that be fun. Perhaps it would stop the rot.

    When Cloudparty takes off my feeling is that LL will have to do something about their pricing strategy, or lack of it, and reduce costs and open up the full Secondlife experience - island ownership - to all.