Due to a changing regulatory climate, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to sunset a very popular sales mechanism for content in Second Life. It’s widely known as "gacha", and is defined by a chance-based outcome as a result of a payment.
We know that creators plan their content releases far in advance and will need to re-tool their products, so to mitigate the impact to those affected, we are giving a 30-day grace period, until midnight SLT on August 31. After that time, selling content via gacha machines will no longer be permitted in Second Life. Enforcement won’t start until September 1; after that date an Abuse Report for “Gaming Policy Violation” will be the preferred method of reporting this content to Linden Lab.
We will continue to allow any sales where a payment is given for a known item, which means that items that had been purchased as “gacha” will be allowed to be re-sold as long as the buyer knows in advance the item and quantity they will receive. We will, of course, still allow fatpacks, and any other currently-allowed distribution mechanisms.
We did not make this decision lightly and we understand that it will impact creators as well as event organizers and certainly the shoppers! We look forward to fun creative ways of engagement that will come instead.
We realize that this announcement may leave the community with questions. This forum thread is going to be monitored and we will answer any related questions in there.
We have developed an FAQ to assist with answering some of the most common questions we are being asked. This list is not exhaustive, and we will continue working to get answers and add them here.
Q: Is it possible to extend the policy deadline?
A: We are sorry that we are not able to further extend the policy deadline. However, we have been able to extend the enforcement of the policy change an additional 30 days. To be clear, starting on September 1 we expect gacha as a sales mechanism to cease. However we will start with warnings, and any enforcement of the policy as it would be applied on an account will not begin until after September 30.
Q: How are breedables impacted by this policy change?
A: This current policy change and deadline does not apply to breedables or other life simulation products. At the present we are working with external counsel on the subject of breedables. If any action is required we will make a separate announcement and have a separate timeline associated with it.
Q: Will popular games like 7seas be impacted by this policy change?
A: No, because the purchase of bait to go “fishing” is a purchase being made of a known item, and also the fish you catch while playing the game are non-transferable. To be clear, if they are not currently, they must be going forward.
Q: How are subscription boxes affected?
A: Subscription boxes are not affected as long as all subscribers are getting the same content box. Different items being sent to different subscribers on a chance basis is not allowed.
Q: How are Linden Homes affected?
A: Linden Homes are not impacted by this policy change. Linden Lab owns the homes and they are not transferable.
There are still several great questions which we are working to answer with our legal team. We will update with additional information as soon as possible.
Additional FAQ’s for August 5, 2021:
Q: Should any newly developed sales mechanism or newly created items be called “gacha” going forward?
A: No, as we would like to eliminate any confusion with the usage of the term going forward.
Q: Is a game that requires skill to win the prize you want permitted going forward? For example, you throw a dart and you must hit a certain number to get the prize corresponding to that number.
A: This would need to go through the Skilled Game review process and be presented in a Skilled Gaming region, if approved.
Q: I am selling an item that is known, paid for and delivered to a purchaser, and for each purchaser they are entered into a prize drawing where randomly selected people who bought the item may receive a rare item as a result of the drawing, is this permitted?
A: You must also provide a free, concise and easy way for anyone to enter into the random drawing with an equal chance to win.
Q: Can I sell an item, and also then include an unknown random item attached as a bonus? For example, Like a buy one, get one free (BOGO), but the free item is the random/unknown item.
Q: Could a “conveyor belt” system work?
Example: The vendor board selects an item at random and displays it for purchase. That item remains on display and available for purchase until a buyer touches the vendor which locks it to them for purchase. This allowed the buyer to purchase the item and deliver it. The vendor unlocks and then selects another item at random and displays it for purchase and the cycle repeats.
Example image here and credit to Nadi Vemo for the approved vendor design.
A: Yes, as long as the item currently being purchased is known. Note however that you should discontinue the use of the “gacha” term for these sales.
Q: But what about breedables (again)?
A: If you buy a brown cat, and a blue cat (as examples), as long as you knew you were getting a brown cat and a blue cat at the time of sale, this is acceptable at the present including the various unknown traits they may come with or develop. Secondarily, when those cats make little kittens with unknown outcomes, this is also acceptable. Lastly, the resale of any breedables will require at the time of purchase that the purchaser knows what they are purchasing at the root level (for example, it is a blue cat).
Q: What about my specific idea, you didn’t cover it here?
A: We wish we could cover all the great ideas we’ve seen proposed to date. Sadly we can’t address them all and if there are any questions or proposed ideas that would suggest any other permutations on the policy, we recommend a simple and thoughtful approach to stay within the boundaries of the policy. Failing that, please feel free to contact customer support.
If we see more areas that we need to cover, we will look at doing another FAQ update next week.