Friday, 28 September 2012


I'm a land baron and I don't need anyone's sympathy. What I need is lower tier so I can strengthen and grow my business and so that Secondlife can become stronger and more viable.

Secondlife does not exist for Desmond Shang's 'wealthy Rip Van Winkle' residents who log in 3 times a year and do not take part in the economy, community or social scene of Secondlife.

With an average of 100 sims being lost per week, if tier isn't lowered, there will be no land barons, no Rip Van Winkles, no Secondlife, no nothing.

Monday, 24 September 2012


High tier costs are poisoning Secondlife. What we are seeing now is a slow death, a stagnant ecosystem drained of life by excessive tier costs. There is a clear link between high tier costs, low concurrency, low user hours, lack of interest in Secondlife and a deep fatigue and depression amongst core users who want to use Secondlife for more than just chat.


High tier costs cause low concurrency and low user hours, which in turn depresses the SL economy and that in turn causes abandoned sims which in turn causes low concurrency and so on in a negative loop.

There are dozens of applications that Secondlife can NOT be used for at this time because of the high tier costs, people just can not afford it. Projects are NOT being started, projects are being abandoned.

There's no doubt about the link between super high land costs and the destruction of the Secondlife ecosystem. New sim types and new sim prices are needed yesterday.

The table above shows some possible new sim types and prices to help restore and re-energise Secondlife. There needs to be a more granular approach to SL land products to make the Secondlife product more accessible to all. 

Clearly the decline is not slowing up and we'll see greater land slides over the coming months. Linden Lab really needs to take action, these weekly sim lossess will soon represent millions of USD lost. The current 'Do Nothing' strategy is not working, it's not just risky, it's losing Linden Lab money week by week, it's positively Un American ! Don't they want to make more money ? Don't they want Secondlife to be a success ?  

Until tier costs come down  and new land products introduced, the ecosystem will continue to be poisoned and fatigued. How can Secondlife possibly survive under these conditions ? 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Following on from Hamlet Au's New World Notes Blog post - Don't Expect Linden Lab To Lower Tier Anytime Soon - Here's why we SHOULD expect Linden Lab to lower tier soon :
1. Because LL are losing money. Current tier costs are depressing customers and driving them away
2. Because lower tier would make happy, loyal customers, which equals even more money for LL
3. Because linden Lab WILL make truck loads of money by restructuring the land price model

Customer satisfying sim prices and products
Please Click Graphic Above To See Larger Image 

The above price model is based on 3 sim types :
1. Residential Sims
Appropriately priced, the future bulk of LL's revenue will come from residential sims.
Residential sims should really have new estate tools that includes a plot rental system. We need a built in rental system so all other commercial activity can be blocked with code. People can still give each other money on residential sims but they can not set up shops,vendors or set items for sale. This is viable and would dramatically energise the SL ecosystem

* It's very important to make a distinction between residential sims and commercial sims. Why should residential users pay for facilities they do not need

2. Commercial Sims
Commercial sims are specifically for creators and Secondlife merchants and allow full commercial activity - shops, vendors, events, games etc. the price reflecting this commercial aspect. The Lab could keep charging the current prices for these types of sims. Creators and merchants can monetise so they should pay a premium.

3. Special Sims
New mega sims - We really do need new mega type sims. There are all kinds of games e.g. racing games etc that need to be on mega sims with no glitchy border crossings. This kind of sim could be a dramatic and positive boost to attracting game developers and gamers. Also the role play communities would benefit from these larger sim types. the idea being, larger areas with reduced prim counts, so they can not compete with residential rental sims.

Event Sims
This is a special sim type that could be upgraded to when needed. Any important event, party, wedding, funeral, live music gig, fashion show, charity do, business meeting etc, that needs the best most reliable sims with the best performance possible, should have the option to PURCHASE/UPGRADE TO A SUPER SERVER FOR 24 HOURS. The fact that we do not have this option makes Secondlife unreliable and unprofessional. I've lost count of the events I've been to that have been disrupted by poor sim performance and sim crashes. It shouldn't be this way. In fact, it should be possible to upgrade any of the above sim types to an event sim. Event sims would be fully commercial and support 100 agents - everybody would rez and nobody would be grey.

Anybody can buy any sim type, no blockers to purchasing. The idea that the land market is being protected by forcing people to buy a full sim before you can buy a Homestead is incredibly idiotic. That time is past. The sim losses over the last couple years and months demonstrate the stupidity of this price model and structure

Blocking 99% of your customer in favour of protecting the profits of the 1% land baron class of user beggar's belief.

The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many ? Really ? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around ?  The needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the few.

The Atlas program can be restructured and kept in place but the big land barons are going to have to work harder and actually do real estate development, and provide community features and services that make it worthwhile renting from them. Gone are the days of the cookie cutter slum sims delivered by some of the largest estates who get the best benefits for the least effort. These stale offerings are literally virtual slums and Secondlife would be 100 times better off without them.

If Linden Lab wants to keep the slum lord land barons in place, they should prepare for the end of Secondlife in the next 24 months, if they want to make more money and make Secondlife thrive they need to FREE THE LAND MARKET

The current land price structure is completely friggin borked. It's THE WAY TO KILL SECONDLIFE, doing nothing, keeping things as they are, it's actually the way to destroy the revenue stream and Linden Lab itself.

The new sims and pricing model above would positively transform LL's bank balance and restore the health of the system. The only reason LL can not project the numbers and see where the money is, is that they've lost confidence in Secondlife, their own product. They do not understand what they are selling. The executive team and investors do not use the product. They can not understand why anyone would bother using Secondlife because it's not interesting to them. So they don't believe there are any more customers than the existing userbase and foolishly believe that if they cut costs, they'll cut revenue because in their minds there are no more customers.

There are literally millions of potential customers, if we glance at the success of social games, for example, Yoville, Farmville, Minecraft, we're talking millions of players. 41 million (and counting) have registered for Minecraft and approx. 7.5 million have bought the game. The only reason Secondlife doesn't have a massive number of concurrent users and 100's of 1000's sims online is the price. Secondlife land is too expensive. Farmville at it's peak had something like 80million registered users and only recently has The Sims Social taken over from Farmville, with daily active users of approx. 9.3 million.

That's not a typo, The Sims Social has 9.3million active users per day and Secondlife can hardly push 60k peak concurrency per day.

The idea that Secondlife has had it's day is short sighted as it's still way ahead of any other social game on the planet. Secondlife has never been tested as a mass market product because it's never been priced correctly. Yes you can play for free but that not the product. Playing Secondlife for free without owning land is like playing Farmville without the farm.

Not enough choice. The car company BMW offer nearly 500 different versions of their product range. The 1 series alone has 100 different products - 25 different versions of the 3 door, 5 door, coupe and convertable and so on through their whole range. And these are actual physical products. Surely Linden Lab can offer more than 3 sim types and more than 3 price points for their customers.

Everybody should be able to afford their own sim, that's the real virtual world product. The sooner Linden Lab realise that's what their customers want and that's what they should be selling, maybe they can stop the rot. If they don't realise it and don't offer a more granular approach to their sim products Secondlife will die and Linden Lab will go out of business. By granular I don't mean renting tiny plots or skyboxes from land lords - that's yesterday, that's the problem, that's the slumification of Secondlife, IT'S A BIG TURNOFF.

Secondlife desperately needs affordable residential sims to compete. Otherwise Cloudparty, Open Sim, alternative grids and MMO's are going to wipe them out, it happening right now, it's time for change. Linden Lab can not, as a company, keep crouching in the corner of their ivory tower, rocking back and forward repeating the holy mantra -

'You can not buy a Homestead without a full sim'
'You can not buy a Homestead without a full sim'
'You can not buy a Homestead without a full sim'

Secondlife can thrive. Linden Lab can change. There's a great desire for virtual land, it's all about ownership and control. Human beings are territorial and expressive creatures and that's where the gold is for Linden Lab : Giving people sims they can afford, a place where they have full control, a place where they can express themselves - Their own sim !


Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Sad to report more than 1000 private sims lost in the last 11 weeks. The losses seem to be slowing up a little but what's more alarming is the lack of interest and the low number of new sims coming online since July 2012. See graph below
There does seem to be a deep lack of energy and interest in Secondlife, even within the core community. Obviously the situation is that we have all been worn down by excessively high tier costs.
Current tier costs are a crime against an emerging technology. If it cost 300USD per month for a web site, there would be no Internet as we know it. In reality Secondlife has not properly been tried or tested as a mass market product as it has never been priced for real growth and success. It's only a niche product because of the high price.
Linden Lab are losing more and more money by not lowering tier costs and not believing in their outstanding product.
The fact that Linden Lab has not changed their land offerings (sim types) or lowered their prices in several years is the reason why we are seeing such losses and such poor concurrency.
We all hope that Secondlife on Steam will have a positive effect on concurrency and sim ownership but it really is a lost opportunity. Without lowering tier costs and offering new sim products, marketing Secondlife to Steam users is kind of crazy, a massive business error and probably a potential loss of millions of dollars and thousands of new sim owners.
Even in this gloomy atmosphere there is still a very passionate user base, still putting on events, creating new content, supporting the grid and community in a thousand different ways. Just a little back up from Linden Lab in the form of new cheaper land products could easily provoke new growth, new money for LL and a much needed boost to the SL community and economy.
Come on Linden Lab , Help us to help you !
Drop set up fees
Let anybody buy any land product without a full sim
Introduce some new sim types
Reduce tier costs