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MiaSnow Myriam

Where do you think SL is heading?

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MiaSnow Myriam wrote:

 

then when i tried to upload my 1st mesh experiment, i was prompted to go through a tutorial / test that i had to pass, about intellectual property. i liked that! it was informative, & easy, & shows LL cares about that topic.

I'm afraid that only shows that LL cares about the potential lawsuits from big names, like video games companies.

Though a simple search on the Marketplace would show them that their test isn't enough, and since only copyright owners can send DMCAs, nothing will get anywhere. 

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Senobia Xenga wrote:

Why do these threads crop up every so often from disgruntled members? Is it to get attention from the Lindens? Do they really think one gripe will make much difference? I mean, it's kind of like threatening suicide. Most people who intend to commit suicide don't give warnings. They just do it.

 

Same with people who truly get fed up with/burned out on/sick of SL. They don't carry on with long farewells. They just go.

If you need someone else to point out the good/bad reasons for you to stay somewhere - anywhere - you maybe should have left a long time ago before your ability to enjoy it hinged on other people.

The most damaging type of customers for a company are the disgruntled ones that leave and never say a word, because the company has no idea why.  Sort of like all those people that supposedly sign-up for SL and never return without a word as to why they never came back.  It all becomes a guessing game for the company with what is wrong.  

Contrary to some beliefs, LL does watch the forums.  They may not respond to most things here, but I'm sure they do watch.  

PS - Comparing customers that leave a company to people that commit suicide is ridiculous.  Just saying.

 

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I don't know, but I don't recall any period of time in SL since 2007 that the sky has not been claimed to be falling.

 

Now, it is true that the marketplace has some very serious issues atm, and search is not very helpful, and there are all kinds of bugs and non functionality --- but in many ways SL has improved a great deal since I have been here, so it balances out.

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True, but I don't really consider the OP to be saying the sky is falling.  

I would recommend to them to make sure the marketplace is working well for them before closing their in-world shops, or at least consider scaling down their land holdings for their shops to the bare minimum of what they can afford so those customers that use marketplace for only a way of searching for things can still see the products in-world first before they decide to buy.

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After working in SL for 5-plus years now I have been asked this question a lot, especially from business people that for the most part have unfortunately left SL. The answer is not clearly black and white, mostly because - as mentioned in other replies - Linden Lab is reporting less and less information to its users about current conditions and future plans. In a nutshell though, this is how I explain the current situation.

When SL was first made, it truly was a user-based virtual world and quickly developed into an economic "game" whereby the linden was both a way to judge success and also a means to earn RL money. For USA citizens in particular, this was an incredibly novel idea and it attracted people from all fields of interest from bankers to hookers. For those who were around in 2006-2007, the lindens flowed like honey. Since then, however, Linden Lab has systematically eliminated most sources of in-world revenue although not likely in a conspiracy-type way considering their employee turnover. First to go was gambling and banking due to concerns about RL litigation. The land market was then pulverize with multiple hits by changes in the adult rating system, discontinuing non-profit / educational discounts, and the Linden "free" Home program. The biggest change though has been the buying and growth of the marketplace. Although it is reported as being successful in linden sales, the impact on in-world play has been dramatic. Content creators no longer need to buy or rent land to maintain stores for their products. Consequently, land sellers and renters have seen a cataclysmic decline in revenue. The loss of in-world stores has also eliminated a large portion of the jobs that once were plentiful, from models to managers, and the entertainment areas that were by-products of their entrepreneurship. This massive loss of business-related land and jobs lead to the biggest decline of in-world transactions and caused the once-robust in-world economy to flounder. Consequently, lindens are mostly transferred between a select few rather than the masses with little or no growth in the overall linden balance. The grid is also loosing land at an increasing rate, with over 1000 private regions closing - a nearly 5% decline - so far this calendar year.

There are other factors as well, including the big issues of grid functionality, the need for reliable viewers using mid-range computer requirements, the steep learning curve required of new residents, and general customer service. Those are more an annoyance though rather than a complete inhibitor to SL residents who find the virtual world enthralling enough to stay after their first few weeks of exploring. By and far it is the in-world economy - the ability to earn and have the power to buy items - that drives most residents and so I have focused on that problem.

So where does this leave Second Life? Obviously it is still profitable for Linden Lab or it would have closed. The in-world economy, however, is no longer the robust free market model it once was. In fact, there is no longer the basic belief that lindens can be earned through creativity and hard work. Today the general rule is either make a free account to have fun or register one to buy land and lindens with no expectations of recovering the cost of tier and doing business. The only linden / revenue generating possibility that remains is producing products and selling them exclusively on the SL Market (promoting and selling in-world is like throwing money away). Even this is coming under attack by Linden Lab though with their program of offering free high-end products available to paid members.

So what is the future for Second Life? As long as it is making money for Linden Lab they will keep it open. Most of their revenue is made in land tier - although that is declining at a steady pace now - and sales on the marketplace. These are inseparably linked too since products sold on the market can only be used in Second Life. Consequently, the marketplace has become the barometer to watch concerning the health and future of Second Life. If there is a significant decline in the marketplace it will signal a corresponding decline in grid use and Linden Lab income. How far that decline has to go before Linden Lab closes the grid is anyone's guess, but until it happens SL will chug along much like Yahoo! and AOL do today, still making a profit for its RL owners but otherwise becoming non-existent.

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your response reminds me of how multi-faceted running any business is, but especially one that is so groundbreaking & changing all the time.

i think what you say about watching the Marketplace as a sort of barometer is an excellent idea.


Nuhai Ling wrote:

 In a nutshell though, this is how I explain the current situation.

 

 

 

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Perrie Juran wrote:


Cali Souther wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:

Reading the OP I see two things being asked about.

First is really Linden Lab's business model.  That is a subject of a lot of speculation.  Supposedly the purpose is to make money. As much as possible.  But many find land costs a big hindrance. Personally, I don't believe I know enough to really calculate how over priced land is.  I've seen a lot of numbers thrown around and some I consider very good educated guesses, but really, none of us know how profitable SL is.

The second thing is User Experience.  For me it is still "Your World, Your Imagination."  I am still enjoying "My Second Life." The only limitation I see to that is scalability, how much computing power there is available both server side and client (user) side, and the tubes that connect them.  This is a great discussion of Virtual Worlds and scalability I highly recommend: 

If Linden Lab folds as a company it will be because of bad business decisions.  The interest in Virtual Worlds will remain.

I am of the opinion that Virtual Worlds and the interest and participation in them will continue to grow.  The biggest limitations will be scalability and ease of use.  And honestly, it is not that hard to learn the basic 'navigation skills' in SL.  The biggest problem as I see it right now is how poorly designed notifications (toasts) and the chat window are in the Viewer.

 

While I agree that interest in VR's will continue,  I do think SL tends to be difficult to the new user, and honestly - not very friendly.  There are places for new residents to go, yes - but the first few times I tried SL, no one offered to help me and I hated it.

It took having a friend who had already figured things out,  ask me to try again. 

I think it could be easier, and friendlier to new residents.

OH and...  tier is high, and omg @ the price of
virtual
land! 

By basic navigation skills I meant really simple things like walking.  Not too long ago I said to Torley that unpacking boxes and changing clothes should be a part of orientation and he agreed with me but it seems like he is not involved with any of the decision making any more. 

Perhaps I was fortunate that right from the start I met some very helpful people.  But also I was pretty outgoing and wanted to 'see the world.'  So I said "Hi' to a lot of people and jumped right into conversations.  And right from the start I'd ask people to take me to their favorite place.  Also, I wasn't afraid to experiment.  So I learned quickly.   

I do take my time to help new residents.  But I only have so much time I can devote to this.  I tell newbies that it can take take a few days to begin to feel comfortable but to be patient.  There are what I refer to as 'rites of passage' in SL (I once started a thread on it).  Things like learning to unpack a box, rez a cube, change clothes, use a pose ball, etc.  There is a lot to learn here.  But I don't see a way around it. The problem that arises is we are in the "got to have it now instant gratification generation."

Points well made, as always...   LOL ..  I could barely walk when I first started,  and I still walk into walls a year 1/2 later...   but that might just be me!

I think it's fun, and well worth the effort.  I have several friends that insist on staying in their 2D Virtual World with it's 20 people,  no new faces... because SL is not "easy" ...  but I have, and continue to offer my assistance to anyone who is new and needs some help.

Time is a luxury...  as they say...  I know the feeling well.  Seems to be an abundance of it today,  here @ the office...  good grief it's only 12:22 pm.

 

 

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I think it's apparent, from the number of people posting about LL's lackluster customer service skills in various threads (Can't say, never had an issue to contact them for), that LL isn't as tuned in to the wants/needs/demands of their clients as they should be. So this reply, as it pertains to the Lindens giving a rip about a complaint, is laughable at best. 

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I read this:

 


MiaSnow Myriam wrote:


But it makes me wonder then, why would I pay so much tier for land? I hope SL is going to soon add features that make the land more valuable for residents

If you're not happy with the land fees, don't buy any! If you don't think you're getting your money's worth, don't buy any! LL will continue to sell so long as people continue to buy. See how that works? They're not going to change their MO for you. Or him. Or her. Consumer power is in numbers, not disgruntled singles.

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Seven Overdrive wrote:

Contrary to some beliefs, LL does watch the forums.  They may not respond to most things here, but I'm sure they do watch.  

PS - Comparing customers that leave a company to people that commit suicide is ridiculous.  Just saying.

 

Watching their ship sink from afar without any intervention to save it? That'll keep 'em afloat, for sure! /end sarcasm

 

PS - Your opinion. Thank you for sharing it.

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geez calm down.

 i said "
I hope
SL is going to soon add features that make the land more valuable for residents"   


Senobia Xenga wrote:

If you're not happy with the land fees, don't buy any! If you don't think you're getting your money's worth, don't buy any! LL will continue to sell so long as people continue to buy. See how that works? They're not going to change their MO for you. Or him. Or her. Consumer power is in numbers, not disgruntled singles.

 

 

 

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Granted things are far from perfect and LL has made some questionable decisions but ever since 2006 when I came to SL I've heard doom and gloom about its future.  "Now' is always the worst it has ever been. I am here to tell you that is not true.

I remember times when it was a lot worse. When the entire grid crashed frequently and it took most of the day to come back up, and that doesn't even count Wednesdays when the grid was shut down for maintenance. I remember having to get naked to be able to TP anywhere, and even then it took a few tries. I remember TP'ing and arriving with any prims you were wearing stuck to your butt.  Griefing was a LOT worse too compared to today with grid wide attacks as opposed to just a sim or two. I could name a slew of things that were worse than now.

When people speak of the time when you actually saw Lindens around, keep in mind that the world population was MUCH smaller too.  If only 10k people are around, then the Lindens were certainly move visible due to the sheer numbers of Lindens to Residents. When I first logged in to SL, you could go days without seeing anyone unless you specifically sought out the few places where they were.  No one 'helped' me.  It was sink or swim on you own.  I even had to teach myself how to build as I don't recall much in the way of classes or places to go to get help.

Land prices are high,but they have always been.  In terms of RL money there hasn't been all that much change.  Back when a full sim was 195 month, they were on a much lower class of server and performance was lower than it is now and with frequent grid crashes and scheduled down times, you didn't get the same number of hours you do now either. I suspect the cost per hour has actually gone down.  Yes it has gone up to 295 now, but with the higher server grades, almost 24/7 reliability and taking into account inflation, it hasn't increased much if at all.  Even so, I myself would love to see land tiers lowered,but doubt it will ever happen so I don't waste my time complaining about it.

In respect to the economy, the RL economy sucks now and it is no at all surprising that the SL one does too.  People who are unemployed, underemployed, or afraid of losing their job tomorrow are not going to spend as much money now as they did during the "boom"economy because they don't have it to spend.  There are also a LOT more creators around competing for the same $L than there were back then.  Lastly, there are more people in SL now comparatively speaking, that think everything should be free and refuse to spend any money even though they have it.  Back then, not many thought SL was 'free' and most people were willing to buy Lindens to get what they wanted.  They also had to because freebies were few and far in between. 

The first big flood of new people thought the way to riches was to become a land baron and everyone started to get into the land business buying sims and offering lots. As a result there was and still is more land available than buyers wanting it.  Back then it was rare and almost unheard of to buy land for $1L down or just the first weeks tier..  Land cost a considerable down payment PLUS the first tier. Now many landowners can't find buyers even at the $1L down rate.

Those of us that were here in the early days had more of a pioneering spirit, in comparison to the people coming in now, and put up with a lot more as a result.  We laughed when things went wrong, learned to cope and had a good time.  We made our own entertainment and didn't expect anyone to entertain us for free.

So where is it all heading? As long as enough people still log in, SL will be around and continue to evolve.  If this happens, times will get better when the RL economy improves and people have more money to spend.  The Law of supply and demand will  weed out all the oversupply of land and merchants to a number more closely matching demand and the number of 'freebies' and $1L down land available will fall as merchants and land barons will no longer need to offer them to lure people. People will then be forced to spend more RL or do without that sexy avatar with all the bells and whistles and the luxury home.  They may leave, but will be replaced by people that are once again lured  to SL for what it is rather than free gaming.

Anyway that's what I think but then again I may be totally wrong.  Only LL knows what their long term goals and strategy will be and aren't saying. No one here has a crystal ball so what anyone speculates may be totally out of synch with reality.  We'll just have to wait and see.

 

 

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

...

Lastly, there are more people in SL now comparatively speaking, that think everything should be free and refuse to spend any money even though they have it.  Back then, not many thought SL was 'free' and most people were willing to buy Lindens to get what they wanted.  They also had to because freebies were few and far in between. 

...

 

 

Don't forget that back then, you had to spend money to even be a basic account in SL.  People were already conditioned to spend money on SL because of having to pay just to join (which I was never against, but the Lab felt differently).

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MiaSnow Myriam wrote:

I really am wondering what other people think regarding this topic. Please share your thoughts!

Annnd, where is SL
now
? I find it difficult to guage why people log in SL these days. 

I'm thinking about only using the Marketplace to sell my wares.

As I was reading all these great responses it occurred to me that maybe you haven't asked the right question.  If you find it difficult to gauge why people log into SL, then perhaps THAT should be the question.

Asking why people come to SL Might be a more effective gauge than asking for opinions about where people think SL is headed.

I'm constantly amazed by the things people create here, and it gets better everyday.  Personally I'd be very sad to see the in-world store close the doors and sell exclusively on marketplace, but I can understand why merchants do that.  I want to be out and about and fully engaged in the virtual, not sitting isolated on a sim and shopping on marketplace.  I want to see it in the flesh (so to speak).  It's not just what you're selling, but the presentation, the environment you create to surround your wares that is just as important.  I guess I just want to keep the experience of the fully virtual immersion alive as much as possible.  The thing that always makes me laugh while I'm out shopping are those avies that run through the stores like they have a deadline to meet.  For them, maybe the marketplace is a better option.

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Normally I don't update my own comments but a good friend pointed out something I totally underestimated yet hinted at in other posts. Put simply, is Linden Lab already abandoning their Second Life product? Combine the following changes so far this year and draw your own conclusions:

 

  • The Lindens use to be active in the forums posting updates, plans, etc. almost weekly. The last significant post was made on March 19. The last time the CEO posted anything was in December 2011.
  • Grid and linden metrics are no longer reported by Linden Lab.
  • The Second Life Community Convention is no longer sponsored or supported by Linden Lab, likely leading the non-profit that once managed it to discontinue having the convention this year.
  • According to the Phoenix homepage, Linden Lab "has chosen not to participate" in the SL9B community birthday event this year. 20 regions were donated by residents and businesses "for the benefit of the community" meaning someone is paying Linden Lab to have their own birthday party.
  • Also according to the Phoenix homepage, Linden Lab has withdrawn their sponsorship and participation in the Burning Man / Burn 2 event this year.

If you know of anything else Linden Lab has discontinued doing that would seem a logical part of supporting their own flagship product, please feel free to add it to the list!

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Nuhai Ling wrote:

20 regions were donated by residents and businesses "for the benefit of the community" meaning someone is paying Linden Lab to have their own birthday party.


Wow! That's really sad, lol.

 

But I have to say, LL did good for a while with a lot of updates in the last year with new viewer, viewer features, additional server and script functions, Mesh, 64 meter prims. In 4 years I have been in SL I don't think I have seen much progress at all and then BAM! Lots of stuff.

Hopefully LL is in a "Quiet before the storm" period where they are planning their next updates. If not, oh well, I enjoy SL myself and will be here for a while longer regardless.

 

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It would be a shame to lose this world, because I still think Second Life is the mother/father of all virtual worlds. There is no other world where users can create absolutely anything that comes to the imagination and with such spectacular beauty. I think there are still improvements that need to be made, but I feel SL still has so much to offer. Mesh is far from perfect, but when it works...it's amazing.

My husband and I still very much enjoy our SL. Yes, land is expensive, but we love our 1/4 sim so we certainly don't feel we're wasting our money on a hobby. We have room to build, landscape...whatever we want to do.

Does Linden Labs want to be Zynga? I think they certainly want a share of that 2-D game market. I don't see a 2-D facebook/phone app version replacing the full blown version of SL though. I think a version like that would be a great addition, but not a replacement for the graphically rich world we have now.

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Valen Serpente wrote:


Nuhai Ling wrote:

20 regions were donated by residents and businesses "for the benefit of the community" meaning someone is paying Linden Lab to have their own birthday party.


Wow! That's really sad, lol.

 

But I have to say, LL did good for a while with a lot of updates in the last year with new viewer, viewer features, additional server and script functions, Mesh, 64 meter prims. In 4 years I have been in SL I don't think I have seen much progress at all and then BAM! Lots of stuff.

Hopefully LL is in a "Quiet before the storm" period where they are planning their next updates. If not, oh well, I enjoy SL myself and will be here for a while longer regardless.

 

>The V2 viewer was made by people who were not familiar with SL, I take that as one of those "walking away" steps mentioned above.  An alternative might have been to go over the JIRA first.

>Mesh and 64 prims went hand in hand, and even the people working on that did not have a clue about what it would change for the residents. The person from whom I heard it told me the conversation went something like this:

"With mesh, there is one change coming, the maximum dimensions for prims will be 64x64x64m"

"WHAT?? You've got to tell people!!"

"Why? Do you think they will be interested?"

Because once more, LL do not know what is going on inworld.

 

And yes, it is extremely sad that people have to pay to have some place to celebrate SL's 9th anniversary.Though it is not as pathetic as LL not offering those sims, even if they chose not to be involved.

 

 

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I agree that there is a lot of room for improvement, like customer service and more LL interaction between users and LL instead of LL and investors, but if LL was just "Walking away" why would they even bother spending the money to update their viewer or even bother with Mesh and server / script additions? Plus they continue to change and tweak the new viewer to work better for everyone.

Now don't get me wrong, I hate the new viewer and won't touch it, but I can't say LL has completely abandoned SL either, at least, not yet.

And they did let us know about 64 meter prims, did your source hear this conversation from a Linden Lab's personal garner's barber's son in law's babysitter's pet goldfish?

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