As in, which basket(s) to put them in.
Several months ago I sold my remaining sim in Second Life shortly after one of the two tenants I had left. I realized I didn’t want to be a landlord, and the cost of owning a sim had become much larger than the entertainment value it was worth. So I did a cost/benefit analysis of sorts, and I decided how much money I was willing to pay each month for my fun in Second Life.
Having been in the frame of mind of renting the bulk of my Second Life property directly from Linden Research, I replaced my sim by becoming a premium member again, contributing tier to a group I control, and buying a chunk of mainland for the group. That seemed like the best way to get the most prims for the least money. (For those who don’t know, tier on mainland is less than tier on private sims; groups get a 10% bonus above the amount of tier contributed by group members; and tier on mainland is paid in US$, eliminating the exchange fees.) Prices for land on the mainland are also at what may be historic lows, so it was cheap to buy the land.
Then came the mass layoffs. And I thought, I’m not sure I want to put so much money into such an unstable business. So I reduced my mainland holdings by half in order to drop to the next lower tier level. (Monthly tier, not the purchase price, being the major expense of owning mainland.)
And then came the news of Qarl Linden being let go. I never met Qarl, and I have no idea what the whole story is of his employment at Linden Lab. But the situation, nonetheless, only increases my sense of unease about the business health of Linden Research.
Tateru Nino continues to be one of the virtual world commentators/analysts I most value reading. She estimates that layoffs at Linden Research will total 60% by the end of September, “if all goes well”:
“If all goes well”? Yes, it doesn’t sound very good, does it? But it will mean that the company is still there, and hasn’t gone all belly-up.com – which would be the worst possible outcome for everyone, including Linden Lab’s competitors. Few people would actually want to see the Lab go out of business, and it certainly appears to be making all the right moves to ensure that it doesn’t.
And in the comments:
Without faith in virtual environments, generally, the opensim grid could well wind up in the same position as previous generations of online virtual environments: A niche-corner of the Internet with a small market of users shared between them; barely noticed by the public at large, and ultimately not sustainable for more than a decade or two without enough growth to offset attrition.
I do not want Linden Research, Inc., to go out of business. I enjoy my Second Life. But when I look at what I pay each month not just as a fee for server space but as an investment in future pleasure, it’s clear that the added value has little or nothing to do with Linden Lab. Second Life is the best platform I’ve found for what it offers (none of the OpenSim grids come close—yet). But the only pleasure it offers, in and of itself, is landscaping and building. Almost all of the joy I get out of Second Life is the result of communities.
So I’ve now eliminated my mainland holdings, and I’m putting my eggs in baskets that have the potential to outlast Second Life: the communities that bring me joy.
This week I became a true resident of Steelhead. I’ve owned land there, in various sims, for a while, but I now own a good-sized parcel in Steelhead St. Helens that will be my SL home. There are several reasons I chose Steelhead, many having to do with the owners, TotalLunar Eclipse and Tensai Hilra: I’ve met them in real life and liked them; they are actively engaged in Steelhead socially; and they keep up with the cutting edge of virtual world-related technology, including keeping an eye on alternatives to Second Life. (It is this last characteristic that makes them stand out from my other favorite land barons who share the first two.) And to the extent that I’ve been socially engaged in Second Life of late, it is with the people of Steelhead.
After a few months of wandering, it’s good to be home.