Home Home & Garden Breaking the Land Barrier: Strategies for a More Inclusive Second Life

Breaking the Land Barrier: Strategies for a More Inclusive Second Life

by Prisqua Newall
49 views 10 minutes read

Recently, I’ve noticed a surge of discussions and comments about land prices and prim distribution in Second Life. These conversations inspired me to create a video exploring potential improvements to our virtual world.

However, what’s really prompting me to write this blog post is the increasing number of requests on the official feedback forum. These requests are currently being tracked by Linden Lab, suggesting they’re considering some changes.

Interestingly, I’ve heard that Linden Lab is reluctant to adjust prices, fearing it might disrupt the market. In my opinion, this stance is misguided. I strongly believe that more affordable prices and a wider range of options would benefit everyone in the Second Life ecosystem, from individual residents to estate owners and Linden Lab itself.
The purpose of this blog post is to delve deeper into the ideas I presented in my video, offer new suggestions, and demonstrate why these changes would be beneficial for the entire Second Life community.

I’ll explore how smart prim distribution and more accessible land prices could revitalise our virtual economy and enhance the creative potential of all residents.

As we dive into these topics, remember that these are ideas meant to spark discussion and potentially inspire positive change. Let’s examine the current landscape of Second Life land ownership and imagine how we could make it better for everyone.

Let’s start by looking at the current landscape of private regions in Second Life:

1. Full Regions: $209 per month, 20,000 prims
2. Homesteads: $109 per month, 5,000 prims
3. OpenSpace regions: $60 per month, 1,000 prims

It’s important to note that these prices are before taxes. Each country has different tax rates, which can significantly increase the final cost. For instance, some countries have taxes exceeding 20%, substantially raising the monthly price. Additionally, currency exchange rates can make purchasing directly from Linden Lab unaffordable for residents in certain countries.

This is where private estates come into play. When buying directly from Linden Lab becomes too expensive, many residents turn to Estates to purchase or rent land. However, it’s worth noting that Linden Lab still profits in these scenarios, as Estates must buy regions from Linden Lab to meet this demand. Whether residents purchase directly or through an Estate, Linden Lab ultimately benefits from the transaction.

While Linden Lab has reduced setup fees over time, monthly costs haven’t significantly decreased. In today’s economy, these prices can be prohibitive for many. So, why not consider lowering prices across the board?

Lately, some residents have been calling for even higher prim limits, specifically 50-60K prim regions. This request stems from the discovery that Linden Lab themselves are using such high-capacity regions. While the prospect of having access to so many prims sounds appealing, it raises several important questions. First, we need tech-savvy residents to weigh in on the potential impact of such high prim counts. Would these regions experience more lag? How would the average computer handle rendering that many prims? These technical considerations are important to understand before pushing for such a change.

Moreover, given the current pricing structure, such high-capacity regions would likely come with an exorbitant price tag. In an economy where many are already struggling to afford existing land options, introducing ultra-high-prim regions at premium prices doesn’t seem logical or beneficial to the broader community. It’s essential to balance the desire for more prims with the practical realities of affordability and technical feasibility.

On the other hand, we need to consider the impact of Premium Plus memberships. Linden Lab added a perk that allows Premium Plus members to get a homestead without buying a full region first. This was a smart move, addressing a long-standing complaint while avoiding market disruption.

To maintain this as a special perk and prevent market upheaval, I propose a tiered approach. Premium Plus members could have exclusive access to 5,000 prim homesteads without owning a full region. This keeps the perk valuable while distinguishing it from the proposed 10,000 prim standard homesteads.

If Premium Plus members want a 10,000 prim region, they’d need to follow the traditional route: either purchase through an estate or buy a full region first. This approach maintains market stability – addressing Linden Lab’s concerns – while still offering clear advantages to Premium Plus members.

To further protect the market, these Premium Plus homesteads should be non-transferable. Members wouldn’t be able to sell or transfer their regions, ensuring the perk remains exclusive and doesn’t flood the market with discounted homesteads.

This strategy offers a win-win solution. It preserves the value of Premium Plus memberships, maintains market stability, and still allows for the introduction of more generous prim allocations for standard homesteads. It’s all about being smart and offering targeted advantages that benefit users without disrupting the overall ecosystem.

Let’s talk about OpenSpace regions, intended for waterways and low-usage areas. As an estate owner, I appreciate the idea of having more waterways to link regions or offer residents scenic boat routes. However, the current pricing is, frankly, absurd. Paying $60 plus taxes and currency exchange for a mere 1,000 prims? That’s beyond pathetic – it’s downright highway robbery!

In my view, a 1,000 prim region shouldn’t cost more than $10 a month. At that price point, I guarantee you’d see a proliferation of beautiful waterways across estates. But let’s dream a little bigger. What if we could have waterways that we could actually decorate with sea life without maxing out our prim limit in the blink of an eye?

I propose increasing the prim limit for OpenSpace regions to somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000. This would allow for more detailed environments, complete with underwater scenery, decorative elements, and maybe even the odd sunken treasure or two. It would transform these spaces from bland, empty water to vibrant, living seascapes.

Now, if Linden Lab is worried about market disruption (though I think they worry too much), we could implement some conditional rules. For instance, perhaps you need to own at least three full regions before you can purchase an OpenSpace. This would maintain some exclusivity while still opening up new possibilities for established estate owners.

The bottom line is this: it’s all about balancing prices and prim distributions to make Second Life more reasonable and fair for everyone. And here’s the kicker – this can be done without significantly hurting Linden Lab’s bottom line. In fact, I’d wager that more affordable, higher-prim OpenSpaces would lead to increased sales, potentially boosting their revenue in the long run.

Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats – especially in a virtual world where we can control the tide!

The situation with Woolworths and Coles in Australia provides a valuable lesson for Second Life’s virtual economy. These two supermarket giants dominate about 80% of Australia’s grocery market, creating a near-duopoly. This market concentration has led to higher prices for consumers, reduced choices, and difficulties for smaller competitors to enter or survive in the market.

In Second Life, we’re seeing parallels with major estates controlling large portions of the virtual land market. Just as Australians are struggling with inflated grocery prices, Second Life residents face high land costs that limit their ability to own and develop virtual spaces.

The key takeaway for Linden Lab should be this: allowing a few large players to dominate the market can lead to reduced innovation, less diversity, and ultimately, a less vibrant community. In Australia, this has resulted in a cost-of-living crisis that’s now drawing government scrutiny.

By implementing more balanced land policies – such as abolishing grandfathered sims, introducing uniform lower prices, and capping estate sizes – Linden Lab can prevent a similar scenario in Second Life. This approach would foster a more diverse and competitive virtual real estate market, encouraging more residents to invest in land and create unique spaces.

Ultimately, a more accessible land market would likely lead to increased engagement, a larger user base, and potentially higher overall revenue for Linden Lab. It’s about creating an environment where both large estates and individual residents can thrive, fostering the creativity and diversity that makes Second Life unique.

By learning from real-world examples like the Woolworths and Coles situation, Linden Lab has the opportunity to make proactive decisions that will benefit the entire Second Life ecosystem in the long run.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: Linden Lab’s profits. While land sales reportedly account for only 10% of their profit, I firmly believe that making land more affordable and offering more options would create a healthier economy overall. More residents would be able to invest in land, leading to increased creativity and community engagement. If prices were more reasonable, many of us, myself included, wouldn’t have had to give up beloved spaces like Koala Beach.

Consider the potential impact of these changes:

  • Increased diversity in virtual landscapes: With more affordable land and smarter prim distribution, we could see a boom in unique, themed environments that push the boundaries of creativity in Second Life.
  • Greater accessibility for new and casual users: Lower entry barriers would allow more residents to experience land ownership, potentially attracting and retaining a larger user base.
  • Enhanced economic ecosystem: A more balanced market could foster healthy competition among estate owners, leading to better services and more innovative offerings for renters.
  • Strengthened community bonds: More affordable land could lead to an increase in community-run spaces, events, and projects, fostering stronger social connections within Second Life.
  • Accelerated content creation: With more residents having access to land, we could see a surge in user-generated content, keeping Second Life fresh and exciting.

To wrap it up, I’m advocating for a smarter distribution that makes everyone’s experience better. Such tweaks could spur a more dynamic and creative community, with real estate agents able to offer an exciting array of options to renters – it might even be better than finding a forgotten TimTam in the back of the cupboard!

Let’s band together and encourage Linden Lab to consider these changes. Visit the feedback page, upvote suggestions you agree with, and keep the conversation going. Together, we can make our virtual world even better, mate.

Remember, these are just ideas floating around in my head. While I don’t have insider knowledge of Linden Lab’s plans, I believe that by discussing these concepts and sharing our thoughts, we can potentially shape the future of Second Life. Après tout, great ideas can come from anywhere, non?

What are your thoughts on these suggestions? Do you have ideas of your own for improving Second Life’s land and prim system? Don’t be shy – share your comments below!

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