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 – 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.

Quarter sim available

Update, June 17: TAKEN!

I have a quarter-sim parcel in Murdann available for rent. It is the northeast corner of the sim and is available at any time (the current tenant will move when a new tenant is ready to rent).

The stats:

  • L$7,200/week (four weeks minimum, discount if paid monthly in US$ via paypal)
  • 3,750 prims
  • 16,384 square meters

This is a quiet, rustic, lightly-themed estate. No hard definitions, but definitely pre-modern architecture (up to 1920s or so). The neighbors on Murdann include Tea & Strychnine’s main store, the airship of the Consulate of Europa Wulfenbach, and my own TARDIS. Much of the development on the sim is aerial (which is zoned by height).

There is no purchase, and thus no resale, of property. My goal is long-term stability throughout the estate. Please contact me via IM or email (in profile) if you are interested. (Please, no notecards. My IMs are forwarded to email.)

Land available

In light of the coming changes to open space sims, my current open space sims will be consolidated into full sims by the end of the year, at which time new rental parcels will become available. I invite anyone looking for long-term land ownership (one quarter sim or more) to contact me. I offer very attractive terms in a congenial, rustic estate, in exchange for long-term stability from congenial, low-drama tenants.

Sadly, I am likely to relinquish tenancy of Caledon Murdann. (I am certainly going to relinquish it unless the Guvnah decides to consolidate it into a full sim.) Please contact me if you have always dreamt of renting a duchy in Caledon.

I’m sorry, this is bullshit

Sure, it’s nice to see that Jack Linden did actually read the comments in the forums, and it’s kind of cool that he replied to my short comment, but read his response:

SL Forums – View Single Post – Openspace Announcement Discussion with Jack Linden.

And now tell me it’s not a load of crap. A steaming pile of excrement.

This price increase has nothing to do with technical specifications or lag or user experience. This is about Linden Research wanting more money: “the pricing just wasn’t in line with how they are now being used.” Are you telling me that if I have a regular private sim or a parcel on the mainland but don’t put prims, scripts, or avatars on it, you’ll give me a price break? You mean I can rent server space/time, but if I actually use it, then I deserve to pay more?

“We believe these changes are necessary to better account for the increased load, so that we can continue to scale this product *without* making performance worse for everyone.” I’m sorry, but if this is about being able to scale the product, shouldn’t you at least be able to mention some technical improvement the 67% increase in monthly cost will provide? If this was really about poor performance “for everyone,” don’t you think there would be a few more comments in the forum from people who are looking forward to better performance in their open space sims? The vast majority of positive comments in the forum are from people who own regular private sims (by their own admission they do not own open space sims).

“It could be that with the right technical restrictions in place that a truly light use product at lower cost is viable. . . . Clearly for many people large areas of land are more attractive than prim count for example.” No shit? Really? Wow, who would have ever thought of that? Wow, like, isn’t it really amazing that Linden Research, Inc. chose to provide just such a product at the same price point as regular private sims? What a coincidence all those months ago!

“@Otenth Paderborn: Yes, we will provide guidance on what load level is reasonable for Openspaces as soon as we can.” The fact that you can’t provide it now is even more damning than your original post. If you can’t provide a benchmark for what is inappropriate, how can we take anything you say seriously? I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it didn’t cut it when Justice Stewart said it, and it certainly isn’t an appropriate position for Linden Research, Inc.

Changing land ownership

I’ve continued to wheel-and-deal with land ownership, which has been so far a generally positive experience. I had a very nice visit with a representative of Anshe Chung, and I found out directly how she’s made her millions–the L$ I was offered for the property was very low. By waiting it out (and subdividing the property) I’ve been able to get pretty good selling prices. Interestingly, most of the land I’ve sold has gone straight back onto the market, so I’m still selling a bit low.

I’ve sold the Geoje land (after deleting the house and landscaping!) and most of the Lota mountainside. The remaining land in Lota I’ve just split into two 512 m2 parcels, since those seem to move much faster.

And what have I done with the capital? I’ve plunked it down on some hillside and waterfront in Pockwock. The price per m2 was higher than anything else I’ve bought, but I think this will be a keeper. I had two nice conversations with neighbors when I was just looking at properties, and it gave me a really good feeling about the sim.