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MasterJedi Nayar

The future of SecondLife

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

Everyone who thinks SL is a good substitute for reality is severely handicapped - or severely demented.

Does anyone actually think that?

 

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I actually took the time to read this whole thread and with all the links being thrown around this one from April never surfaced:

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2011/04/linden-lab-financial-analysis.html

Now where the discussion began on how rosey the future is (or not) and gradually deteriorated into what Second Life is or isn't, fact of the matter is, especially acording to the above article, SL is in trouble. So more likely the question is probably not what SL will become but if it will survive. Now this is not to ask if LL will survive since that is a different question since LL has its fingers in more than just the SL pie. I tried to find the link I read about a year ago concerning LL's involvement in the OS Grid for instance. Unfortunately I couldn't..

I would love to see SL continue and thrive. I have a business plan involving the RL entertainment industry (with an interested RL clientel I might add) waiting for SL (or some other grid) to solve some BIG problems that will make the difference if virtual worlds (not games like WOW, but true virtual worlds) will remain the private playground of a few tens of thousands worldwide or make it into the mainstream.

I'll enumerate the hurdles in what I see is the order of importance and you will see I agree and also disagree with a lot that has been said.

1. Concurrency.

This I see as the biggest problem since if you don't have a lot of bodies online how successful can you be? Right now the wheels start to come off SL when the online population reaches <> 70K with it becoming a waste of time somewhere <> 80K because of general lag, teleport, and delivery problems etc. etc. etc. This I see as a three fold problem, the first of which is to solve the network and server problems. The system needs to be able to handle a higher number of Avis in order to begin to attract them.  Also attached to this is the maximum number of avitars that a SIM can handle.

The second problem is getting L$ into the pockets of new Avis FAST and continually until they either decide they want to invest real money in the grid or have developed a marketable skil to earn L$l. IMO LL made a huge mistake when they killed camping without providing some sort of substitute. To all those who would dispute this I would say L$ are L$ whether bought directly from LL or given to a camper for 'gaming' traffic by a store owner. LL still gets money in their pockets.

Third problem is that people have problems with the UI. I have to confess I never did, no matter what viewer I used, but LL's answer was V2 which IMO was the clumsiest thing I ever used. V3 is getting closer but strongly resembles the better of the third party viewers which IMO is still better and easier to use. Why not set specs for a viewer and let the populace produce their own and devote resources to the network and servers????? The TPVs almost always do it better and at a lower cost to LL (that is nothing).

2. Visibility

Solving this will help with #1. I have never seen a company that lacks an a public image like LL. Moving through mainstream cyberspace how often does one stumble upon adverts for Second Life? as compared to the social media sites or WOW????

Secondly when SL has made the news lately it is usually some 'expose' on the seedier sides of the Grid. Last year, I believe there was a CBC, special on how SL destroyed RL relationships. The subjects they used were pathetic people to begin with AND if the reporter was really savy we all know she could have found even darker secrets buried, plus she used graphics that were obviously not mainstream SL. However LL left it up to users to 'defend the faith' and many of the replies proved as pathetic as the subjects of the expose. I never see anything covered in the news about the immense amount of creativity that happens constantly on SL, the educational triumphs, the community, etc. LL could make an effort to tell others besides users what is happening. LL, don't you have friends or even know anyone on A&E or Bravo???

3. TOS

This again ties in with #1. When I found SL in 2006 (Clyde is my second avi) TOS was simple and easy to understand. Since then there have been so many thou shalts and thou shalt nots added that I almost need the service of a lawyer before I venture anything new. The latest is the 'audition' one has to take before being aproved for mesh, like that is really going to stop copyright infringement if a person wants. SL is now a world built by the residents but controlled with an iron fist by LL when on a whim they decide to change whatever. Back off LL. Rather than trying to cover your arse from every legal threat that may evolve in TOS just make the owners of the avis divulge their real names at signup and be responsible for their actions. You already have that info from anyone who is either age verified or has payment info used so let the users know you have it and you will divulge it to any legal or criminal investigation.

4. Marketplace

While this seems only to affect merchants it also effects anyone who shops in that the fact that LL owns the marketplace stifles competition. Inside the marketplace merchants are constantly complaining about the glut of cheap items yet any competing marketplace that is willing to take it up (cheap stuff) has soon found itself belly up not from the items which sell well on the Marketplace but from lack of visibility because LL bombards you with Marketplace as soon as you load the viewer. This gives LL a virtual monopoly on the distribution of goods, the only other source being directly from inworld stores which are not all that easy to find with the new search and since trafficing has been 'fixed'. I closed my inworld store when I could no longer find it in the 'improved' search engine and wasn't about to participate in the keyword and prim manipulations it takes to move up the ladder. Think what would happen to RL economy if you could only shop at Macey's which was government run. Secondly this comes at an immense cost to LL maintaining a 'commerce' team that again like the UI team is woefully behind what the residents want and what they experience elsewhere on the web. Acquiring the Marketplace was another huge and costly mistake for LL.

So IMO the Future of Second Life in particular and virtual worlds in general will be decided by how and how soon the above items are handled.

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Re: http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2011/04/linden-lab-financial-analysis.html

--------------------------------------------

FYI, a company's valuation is derived from forward earnings. A crude, historical average is 14x. Thus Twitter, with forward earnings of $150,000 would be valued at $2 billion. Linkedin has a current value of $7 billion (28x revenues of $250 million). A more realistic valuation for Twitter is 25x, giving $3.7 billion.

With current revenues of $75 million (conservative estimate) and a low growth multiple of 14x, Linden Lab is worth $1 billion. If LL could show any signs of growth, getting back to revenues of $100 million, the multiple would jump to 25x, giving a valuation of $2.5 billion.

In other words, Linden Lab today is probably worth $1 billion. With some positive growth, it could jump to $2 billion. With solid growth, it could join Twitter at $4 billion. See the leverage? That is why SL still has the potential to be a big winner. That's why the stakes are high for the new management. It's all there for the taking if only LL would wake up!

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I admit that there is more that can be done, but a lot has happened in SecondLife already.  Liden Labs still has a lot to do before things can really roll, or it would have rolled already.  In some ways it already has, but LL can destroy all that if they do not push onward more.  It is all up to them.

Why I have stated so much about SL is to hopefully enlighten not only LL but everyone in SL.  It was every individual that has created what is in every region and land parcel.  Linden Labs created their own things and so forth, but SL is unque because of everyone has contributed.  Only way to get LL to do more as you have suggested is for us to show them the importance of doing so.

There is lag in real life.  Sometimes we call it political clap trap.  As Shakespeare said, "Dear Brutus, are fault does not lie in our stars but in ourseelves."  To achieve nirvana or any other enlightenment (meaning it has different names), we have to work hard at it as individuals and sometimes as a group.  That is why we are called the United States of America.  We can unite when it comes right down to it.

 

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Clyde Lindman wrote:

I actually took the time to read this whole thread and with all the links being thrown around this one from April never surfaced:

Now where the discussion began on how rosey the future is (or not) and gradually deteriorated into what Second Life is or isn't, fact of the matter is, especially acording to the above article, SL is in trouble. So more likely the question is probably not what SL will become but if it will survive. Now this is not to ask if LL will survive since that is a different question since LL has its fingers in more than just the SL pie. I tried to find the link I read about a year ago concerning LL's involvement in the OS Grid for instance. Unfortunately I couldn't..

I would love to see SL continue and thrive. I have a business plan involving the RL entertainment industry (with an interested RL clientel I might add) waiting for SL (or some other grid) to solve some BIG problems that will make the difference if virtual worlds (not games like WOW, but true virtual worlds) will remain the private playground of a few tens of thousands worldwide or make it into the mainstream.

I'll enumerate the hurdles in what I see is the order of importance and you will see I agree and also disagree with a lot that has been said.

1.
Concurrency
.

This I see as the biggest problem since if you don't have a lot of bodies online how successful can you be? Right now the wheels start to come off SL when the online population reaches <> 70K with it becoming a waste of time somewhere <> 80K because of general lag, teleport, and delivery problems etc. etc. etc. This I see as a three fold problem, the first of which is to solve the network and server problems.
The system needs to be able to handle a higher number of Avis in order to begin to attract them.
  Also attached to this is the maximum number of avitars that a SIM can handle.

The second problem is getting L$ into the pockets of new Avis FAST and continually until they either decide they want to invest real money in the grid or have developed a marketable skil to earn L$l. IMO LL made a huge mistake when they killed camping without providing some sort of substitute. To all those who would dispute this I would say L$ are L$ whether bought directly from LL or given to a camper for 'gaming' traffic by a store owner. LL still gets money in their pockets.

Third problem is that people have problems with the UI. I have to confess I never did, no matter what viewer I used, but LL's answer was V2 which IMO was the clumsiest thing I ever used. V3 is getting closer but strongly resembles the better of the third party viewers which IMO is still better and easier to use. Why not set specs for a viewer and let the populace produce their own and devote resources to the network and servers????? The TPVs almost always do it better and at a lower cost to LL (that is nothing).

2. Visibility

Solving this will help with #1. I have never seen a company that lacks an a public image like LL. Moving through mainstream cyberspace how often does one stumble upon adverts for Second Life? as compared to the social media sites or WOW????

Secondly when SL has made the news lately it is usually some 'expose' on the seedier sides of the Grid. Last year, I believe there was a CBC, special on how SL destroyed RL relationships. The subjects they used were pathetic people to begin with AND if the reporter was really savy we all know she could have found even darker secrets buried, plus she used graphics that were obviously not mainstream SL. However LL left it up to users to 'defend the faith' and many of the replies proved as pathetic as the subjects of the expose. I never see anything covered in the news about the immense amount of creativity that happens constantly on SL, the educational triumphs, the community, etc. LL could make an effort to tell others besides users what is happening. LL, don't you have friends or even know anyone on A&E or Bravo???

3. TOS

This again ties in with #1. When I found SL in 2006 (Clyde is my second avi) TOS was simple and easy to understand. Since then there have been so many thou shalts and thou shalt nots added that I almost need the service of a lawyer before I venture anything new. The latest is the 'audition' one has to take before being aproved for mesh, like that is really going to stop copyright infringement if a person wants. SL is now a world built by the residents but controlled with an iron fist by LL when on a whim they decide to change whatever. Back off LL. Rather than trying to cover your arse from every legal threat that may evolve in TOS just make the owners of the avis divulge their real names at signup and be responsible for their actions. You already have that info from anyone who is either age verified or has payment info used so let the users know you have it and you will divulge it to any legal or criminal investigation.

4. Marketplace

While this seems only to affect merchants it also effects anyone who shops in that the fact that LL owns the marketplace stifles competition. Inside the marketplace merchants are constantly complaining about the glut of cheap items yet any competing marketplace that is willing to take it up (cheap stuff) has soon found itself belly up not from the items which sell well on the Marketplace but from lack of visibility because LL bombards you with Marketplace as soon as you load the viewer. This gives LL a virtual monopoly on the distribution of goods, the only other source being directly from inworld stores which are not all that easy to find with the new search and since trafficing has been 'fixed'. I closed my inworld store when I could no longer find it in the 'improved' search engine and wasn't about to participate in the keyword and prim manipulations it takes to move up the ladder. Think what would happen to RL economy if you could only shop at Macey's which was government run. Secondly this comes at an immense cost to LL maintaining a 'commerce' team that again like the UI team is woefully behind what the residents want and what they experience elsewhere on the web. Acquiring the Marketplace was another huge and costly mistake for LL.

So IMO the Future of Second Life in particular and virtual worlds in general will be decided by how and how soon the above items are handled.

Thanks for posting that link. Pikajuna's blog is interesting & comments on it even moreso. What I especially liked is her call for SL to become a non-profit, community-owned enterprise, out from under the thumb of our corporate overlords. I've called for this very thing in these fora, and been dogpiled by Capitalist apologists for my trouble. It's as if many think that by identifying with their oppressors they somehow share the oppresssor's perks. Fact is, by jumping to the defense of the oppressor's prerrogatves, they just become tools of oppression themselves.

I don't think the concurrancy issue can be resolved without fundamental restructuring of grid archetecture. LL has laid off staff and cut expenses. I don't foresee them undertaking such radical restructuring. They will just continue to milk SL as a cash cow until they kill it, instead. Like you say, they have fingers in other pies and the death of SL won't necessarily be the death of LL.

I don't believe that it's necessary for newbies to have $L. I do fine with little or no $L. I'm not quite sure how camping used to work but if it means hanging out somewhere inworld just to earn $L, I can't think of anything more boring. 

In my limited experience, I agree that TPV's are superior to LL's viewers. Viewer2 sukked & if I hadn't discovered Firestorm I would've dumped SL within my first couple weeks.

Be careful what you wish for with #2. Visibility. If the general public became widely exposed to all the slex, BDSM and assorted sordid sleeziness any kid can be exposed to in SL merely by lying about their age, the negative publicity would probably kill SL all that much quicker. I believe that LL refrains from actively promoting SL because they realize this.

Who even reads the TOS? They're all about covering LL's rear in case of lawsuits. They basically say that you have no rights in SL. Just be kind to one another and if LL arbitrarily decides to ban you, oh well... Just move on. If LL made us divulge RL info as a condition of participating in SL, then I, for one, wouldn't bother with it. I'm not sure how being age verified means that LL has that info, as you say. All I did to gain access to A rated sims was state my age.

I like Marketplace because I can browse it without being logged into SL. I order freebie stuff from it so if something doesn't arrive it's no big deal since i spent nothing on it. I'd rather see inworld shops disappear than I would Marketplace.

I would say that the future of Second Life in particular and virtual worlds in general will be decided by the RL economy. Technocopian idealists like the author of the OP, say the "sky's the limit" but the truth of the matter is that the RL economy is running up against planetary limits to further growth. The Capitalist economic paradigm is essentually a Ponzi scheme, based on the irrational idea of infinite growth on a finite planet. It is bound to crash and we are seeing signs aplenty that the crash is empending. The decline of decadent luxuries such as online virtual worlds could just be one more sign of imminent economic contraction. 

Jeanne

 

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I don't think the concurrancy issue can be resolved without fundamental restructuring of grid archetecture...........

Totally agree with everything you said. The biggest possibility I have encountered so far is the OS Grid where your SIM resides on your server and the central servers just handle inventory and routing. OS is still pretty primitive but is advancing and has diverged from SL in quite a few areas, particularly in scripting.

I don't believe that it's necessary for newbies to have $L

I partially agree. If a newbie is savy he/she will find all the high quality freebies available, but that's just part of the picture. That special skin and clothes and hair will eventually cost and while new folks no longeer have to contend at the beginning with an Avi that looks like an animated department store maniquin there is a limit what can be done for free and most people I have met reach that limit quite quickly. Then maybe land which always costs.

I'm not quite sure how camping used to work but if it means hanging out somewhere inworld just to earn $L, I can't think of anything more boring.

During the camping days almost everyone had an alt or 2 that did nothing but camp so your main avi was free to do whatever and maybe camp overnight. The one problem with this was some people camped armies of bots which were never used for anything else, except maybe the sport of bot tossing where active campers used orbit weapons to see who could put a bot in the strangest place. There was a lot of socialization that happened among campers early on too. At the beginning I met most of my friends camping. Alas all but 2 have left from those days.

if I hadn't discovered Firestorm I would've dumped SL within my first couple weeks.

Yes Kudos to the Phoenix team, their product an example of what can be produced when developers listen to users.

All I did to gain access to A rated sims was state my age.

Really? Back when it started they wanted either your drivers license or passport number. If you have payment information used or on file it will be very quick to trace it back to the real you.

I like Marketplace because I can browse it without being logged into SL. I order freebie stuff from it so if something doesn't arrive it's no big deal since i spent nothing on it. I'd rather see inworld shops disappear than I would Marketplace.

I would rather see 3 or 4 marketplaces thriving. The SL Marketplace was originally privately owned until LL bought it and it's chief rival. Still after that there were at least 3 others running until they went belly up for the reasons I stated above. Inworld stores are important especially to builders and scripters so potential customers can experience their work before they buy.

I've seen the term technocopian before......love it!

 

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Thanks for your reply & great post Clyde! :)

The biggest possibility I have encountered so far is the OS Grid where your SIM resides on your server and the central servers just handle inventory and routing. OS is still pretty primitive but is advancing and has diverged from SL in quite a few areas, particularly in scripting.

When I was home over T'giving my brother, who is a nerd, told me about OS. He said that if he had time to spend on SL, OS is the way he'd go. Alas, tho, he is a new dad, with another on the way, and has no time for SL. I'm not nearly savvy enuf to explore OS's possibilities. Wish I was!

...there is a limit what can be done for free and most people I have met reach that limit quite quickly. Then maybe land which always costs.

Naww.. I disagree. I've constructed an avvie that I consider very attractive, with only freebie stuff, stuff I've acquired from Midnite Manias & lucky chairs, or has been given to me or that I've purchased w/ $L I've gotten from filling out surveys. There are fashionistas who are all proud of their avvy's looks cuz they've spent lots of $L on it, who are no prettier than I am in SL. It's all just an ego game & I reject it. It's more fun being creative w/out spending a cent. As for "land," the only advantage is having a place to park all the stuff you build. Either don't build, I say, or else build then delete it, or find someone who will let you rezz your stuff on their land. To my mind, SL is already so overbuilt that I see no reason to add to the clutter.

During the camping days almost everyone had an alt or 2 that did nothing but camp...

Well, I have an alt but I don't like leaving my computer on overnite. It wastes electricity. I'm not sure but I doubt that the $L acquired by camping would even equal the RL money spent on the electricity to get it. Seems like a dumb idea to me.

Yes Kudos to the Phoenix team...

Yeah!!  Agreed. Firestorm is awesome .. ;)

Really? Back when it started they wanted either your drivers license or passport number. If you have payment information used or on file it will be very quick to trace it back to the real you.

Nope. All I did was give them an age in a dialog box. I actually lied about my age. I gave them an age three years younger than I actually am, but still well older than 18. LoL  I don't have payment info on file but I have no doubt but what LL can't get my IP, since the JLU routinely hacks peoples' IPs inworld, I understand. All the paranoia is creepy, if you ask me. SL can be a wonderfully cool place, but it also has its creepy side.

I would rather see 3 or 4 marketplaces thriving.

That's a good idea! My only objection to inworld stores is that I don't like seeing commercialization. Lots of sims are pretty but then they have their stores or malls that kinduv spoil it all w/ spam. It's true that you can get a better idea of what you're buying this way but if you only 'buy' freebie stuff it hardly matters. If you don't like what you get, just delete it.

I've seen the term technocopian before......love it!

LoL And here I thot I'd invented the term!! Oh well...

Jeanne

 

 

 

 

 

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> Well, I have an alt but I don't like leaving my computer on overnite. It wastes electricity. I'm not sure but I doubt that the $L acquired by camping would even equal the RL money spent on the electricity to get it. Seems like a dumb idea to me.

Perhaps the cost of electricity would be greater than the camping gains from one av overnight, but people used camping programmes/systems where multiple avs were camping, and that's different. The first time I came across it, it was a tenant of mine who had 7 or 8 avs camping simultaneously. Also, there was no need to leave them at it overnight.

Camping was never a "dumb idea". It helped loads of people in SL.

 

> As for "land," the only advantage is having a place to park all the stuff you build. Either don't build, I say, or else build then delete it, or find someone who will let you rezz your stuff on their land. To my mind, SL is already so overbuilt that I see no reason to add to the clutter.

There's nothing wrong with your views and attitiudes, but SL wouldn't work if everyone adopted them. There would be nothing in SL except empty land if nobody spent money on land. There'd be nothing for you to enjoy in SL, and nowhere to go in SL because, when you get there, it's just more empty land. Nobody, including you, could build anything because there would be nobody to "let you rezz your stuff on their land". SL would be a dead place.

You are wrong about the only advantage of land. Without landowners, there would be absolutely nothing for you, or for anyone else, in SL. It would be a dead place. Perhaps you meant, the only advantage in YOU owning land.

 

> My only objection to inworld stores is that I don't like seeing commercialization

Here you talk against your own enjoyment and interests regarding SL. Without commercialisation, the places you enjoy wouldn't exist. You said that "Lots of sims are pretty" but there would no pretty sims unless they made a profit, or at least the tier was paid for, through some sort of commercialisation or through other people's generosity for *your* pleasure.

 

Occasionally, I come across someone who genuinely believes that everything in SL should be free. It sounds like you are one such person. It's admirable that you choose to use SL in a totally free way, and I imagine you do it very well, but everything in SL cannot be free, or there would be nothing at all in SL for you to enjoy, wear, do, etc. It would be dead.

In your ealier post you said that you'd rather see inworld stores disappear than the marketplace, and I find that to be a very strange attitude. SL is a virtual world and the marketplace is on the outside. What sort of world doesn't have shops? Very strange.

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Camping was never a "dumb idea". It helped loads of people in SL.

Perhaps you're right, Phil, but I have no interest in it and in any case, my understanding is that Linden Labs pretty much killed it, so it's a moot point.

There's nothing wrong with your views and attitiudes, but SL wouldn't work if everyone adopted them.

According to the Wikipedia, "... the vast majority of casual users of SL do not upgrade beyond the free "basic" account." If someone knows what the actual ratio of paying to nonpaying SL residents is, I'd like to know. Maybe "everyone" doesn't adopt my views and attitudes towards SL but apparently, the "vast majority" do. Linden Labs not only allows but actively encourages people like me to play SL for free. If paying members object to this, if you resent "freeloaders" (as I've been called before in these fora) such as myself, then blame LL for their chosen business model.

Without commercialisation, the places you enjoy wouldn't exist.

What you say is true but once again, only within the context of LL's chosen business model.

Occasionally, I come across someone who genuinely believes that everything in SL should be free. It sounds like you are one such person.

Yes, I am such a person. I think that everything in SL should be free, as indeed it is. I have not spent a cent of real money on SL and don't ever intend to. Should I be obliged to, I would simply cancel my account.

In your ealier post you said that you'd rather see inworld stores disappear than the marketplace, and I find that to be a very strange attitude. SL is a virtual world and the marketplace is on the outside.

Yes, it's because Marketplace is outside SL and can be accessed via browser is what I like about it. I'm not always in a position where I can log into SL but I can usually browse the internet and access Marketplace. My inworld time is precious to me and the last thing I want to do inworld is shop, be confronted with advertising, or do tedious stuff like organize inv or edit stuff to fit. When inworld I just want to have FUN! LoL

What sort of world doesn't have shops? Very strange.

What sort of world doesn't have agriculture, disease, or death. Very strange indeed.

Jeanne


 



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I wouldn't say that "the vast majority" of people use SL for free. I believe that the majority ddon't have premium account but that says nothing about whether or not they put money in, acquire money in SL to buy things, etc. I believe that the majority of SL users actually buy stuff. And, of course, you don't need a premium account to have control of land. Anyone can buy a private sim without a premium account, and anyone can buy/rent land on private sims without premium accounts. So I don't think that the number of premium accounts is anything to go by. Those who don't actually put real money in, earn it inside SL so that they can buy stuff. I don't think there are all that many people who don't buy stuff in SL.

I wouldn't, and don't, call you, or anyone like you, a freeloader. I did say that, if everyone used SL like you do, there would be nothing but empty land in it, and it would be a dead place - and you agreed :) As long as there are plenty of people putting money in, some people are able to use SL completely for free, but the idea that everything should be free in SL is a total non-starter. If that happened, we'd be back to the empty land and a dead SL. Anyone who has that opinion hasn't even thought about it. If that includes you, and you said that it does, then think about it :)

Finally, I'm well up on you. I did put a small amount of real money in, in my first few weeks. That was to get me started. Ever since then, I've been taking money out - and lots of it. The last thing I would have wanted to do in SL is what you do. There's no profit in that ;)

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I wouldn't say that "the vast majority" of people use SL for free.

You may not say that but the author of the Wikipedia said that "the vast majority" of people never upgrade to premium paid accounts. I'd like to see some real numbers concerning this. The best I can do is reference Wikipedia. It says that in Feb. 2009, 233 people made a profit of $5,000 or more in SL. It also says that as of Nov. 2010 there were 21.3 million accounts registered. (How many of these accounts are alts is anyone's guess.) Going by these figures - and if you can cite better or more recent data by all means do! - it looks like about one out of every one hundred & ten thousand SL account holders manage to make even $60K/yr. (provided that they did as well every month as they did in Feb.) from the game. Maybe you're one of those 233 people but SL hardly lives up to the OP's hype, does it? I wonder if LL reports these peoples' income to the IRS, or if the Social Security Administration knows about it, if they happen to be retired or disabled in RL. 

Some of the people who don't have premium accounts may buy $L with real money or they may earn $L inworld somehow. I've bought lots of things - some from inworld shops but mostly from Marketplace - but it's all been with $L I've acquired somehow or another without having spent any real money on it. My sisters are popular DJs who explained to me about Shoutcast, etc., and at first I was planning on DJing. I may yet but I've lost enthusiasm for it. My sisters have a following and usually do pretty good in tips but I wouldn't, at least not at first. I hang out in clubs and see DJs with really good playlists only making a few hundred $L in two hours and I think, 'why bother'? I've been asked to hostess but I have a hard time paying attention for very long. I'm always getting up from my keyboard, reading stuff on my bowser, playing with my cat, etc., etc., while inworld. I don't think I could focus well enuf to be a very good hostess, and I would feel ridiculous saying "Show Linden love..." over & over again. I know how to build stuff but I'm not practiced at it. The time & focus it would require for me to get good enuf at building to actually make anything that anyone would want to buy, doesn't seem worth the trouble to me. If I was going to devote that kinduv time & attention to something, it would be something that made me some real money in RL.

So I'm just not interested in either spending real money on SL or on earning $L within SL. I don't feel that doing so is necessary for me, nor do I feel that it's an efficient expenditure of my time. I feel the same way about owning land. In the first place, I feel that saying "owning land" is silly when all you're actually doing is renting server space to store binary code. Be that as it may, though, I wouldn't take land if it was given me, if it meant having to pay tier on it. Having to hustle to come up with tier (or rent) just seems like a sure way to spoil SL for me. This is especially true since it's completely unnecessary! It hasn't been difficult to meet people in SL willing to share their virtual space with me. Even if it was difficult to meet such generous people, I see no disadvantage to just logging off from wherever one happens to be, then rezzing there the next day and moving on from there. There are so many abandoned or unoccupied sims in SL that it'd be perfectly easy to just hang out and never bother anyone, and just be this homeless, $L-less vagabond. This kind of freedom appeals much more to me than does the responsibility of having to come up with $L every week or month for rent or tier.

But... to each his or her own. If people want to spend real $ on SL, or build virtual stuff & sell it, or pay tier for a place to call their "own" and to park the stuff they build on, then more power to them! Pointing out, though, that it's a good thing at least some people are willing to do this or else there'd be no SL, is either disingenious or indicates total buy-in to LL's business model, as if this model is the only concievable way of running their business. Personally, I think it's a poor way of running the business. I'd like to see SL owned and operated by its residents, on a non-profit basis, with ToS determined by consensus. I wouldn't mind paying a fee for participation, if I felt like that fee was going solely towards covering operating expenses rather than to making corporate executives and shareholders rich. I'd like to see the $L, along with private "ownership" of "land," abolished. I don't expect the corporate parasites to relinquish their stranglehold on SL but I'd like and expect to see Open Sim, or some platform totally divorced from LL, take off in an egalitarian direction. Perhaps I wouldn't be so cynical towards the OP's vision and enthusiasm if this would happen.

Jeanne

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You misunderstood what I said, Jeanne. The number of premium members doesn't reflect the number of people who pay (put real money in), and spend in SL, wherever they got the spending money from. We were talking about using SL completely for free - everything free.

I can't produce statistics but, imo, the vast majority of users buy stuff. Many of them put real money in and many of them earn it inside SL, but they don't do their SL living for free.

Yes, I was one of those who was taking that much out of SL every month in those days.

I'm not buying into LL's business model or rejecting it. I've been using it as is, that's all. Perhaps that's what you mean by "buying into" it.

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I can't produce statistics but, imo, the vast majority of users buy stuff. Many of them put real money in and many of them earn it inside SL, but they don't do their SL living for free.

Yes, I agree that most users buy stuff. What I was trying to explain, though, is that it's possible to buy stuff with $L, as I do myself, without actually putting "real" money (US$ or otherwise) into it or "earning" those $L ingame. I've been given $L, I've been taken shopping and had the items I picked out paid for by others, I've filled out surveys both via browser & inworld and been paid in $L for doing so, and I've been given token amounts ($L2 - $L10) just for hanging out in clubs or visiting inworld stores. Then there are freebies, friends cleaning out their inv & giving stuff away, gift coupons, Midnite Mania, lucky chairs, etc. My point is that it's entirely possible to acquire the resources to have a nice looking avatar and to enjoy SL without 1. having a premium account, 2. buying $L with real world currency, or 3. "earning" $L by means of any sort of inworld employment. To my mind, even tho I spend $L on stuff, by not putting any real money into SL constitutes playing for "free."

I would like to see current statistics on how many people never buy anything whatsoever in SL, how many buy things like I do without spending any real money on it, how many have free vs premium accounts, how many have free accounts but buy $L, and how many make a profit from SL businesses and how much they make. I don't know if these statistics are available or not. I have a hunch that LL has this information but doesn't share it. Unless we have this data, qualitative statements like the Wikipedia's "the vast majority," along with the OP's optimism, my cynicism, your assertions, etc., don't mean very much. 

Jeanne

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I haven't disputed anything you wrote in your last post. Yes, it can be done, and is no doubt dome by plenty of people. It can only be done as long as there are plenty of people who put real money in though. Without them, there would be nothing in SL but empty land. I haven't suggested that it's in any way wrong to do it. In fact, in one post, I said that it's admirable.

At one point, you did say that you are one of those who believe that everything in SL should be free. That can't happen, unless you really do want nothing but empty land, and I don't think anyone wants that. I suppose it could happen if there are always some people who put real money in for a while, without any financial return, and the rest of us get by on their financial inout, but that's not going to happen.

Incidentally, getting paid to fill surverys in is a way of earning money, so you do earn L$ in SL sometimes ;)

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I find your discussion very fascinating, while I don't really approve of the "freeloader" attitude, I'm really guilty of the exact same behavior. From my first day in SL I’ve been trying to earn money and searched for freebies never putting money into SL until I decided to start a business. I won't go into the details of how that move was a bad mistake (bought expensive mainland and subsequently the SL hype  faded together with my investment)

However there is one interesting point I disagree on with Phil. Technically and purely theoretically I can conjure up an alternative model of a virtual world where the entire world is “Peer to Peer” and exists only when people log on. Money would probably not be a part of such a virtual world, but there would be no need for central servers. content you acquire would reside on your own computer served to visitors as you meet each other in places your own computers hosts as needed.

An open source firestorm combined with a new open-grid like dynamic system with a few starter sim (seed) models would be enough. Create your own sim and invite friends in. A sort of Bit-torrent approach to virtual worlds.

Now you might say: But what if I log in to a friends world and he/she goes offline, this is where the magic of peer to peer starts to work, as soon as that happens your computer could keep the illusion of that sim up as long as you have sufficient details of the sim downloaded. It's true that this would change the whole dynamics and continuity we are familiar with in SL but I’ve been playing with this idea from the first time I learned how the sim server model in SL works and wanted to write it down.

One more remark about SL and scalability: If sims would be dynamically assigned to the best performing server as their avatar visitor count goes up by using advanced virtualization it should be possible to use the Linden server park more efficiently and have more peak visitors in the popular sims with less lag, so there may be hope for SL yet ;)

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It's an interesting concept, Jeremiah, but it doesn't disagree with me, as you said it does. I've only been talking about SL as it is now. Your concept sounds like it could be developed using opensim sims. I think that many such interlinked sims run on personal computers. I may be wrong about that though.

I don't like the word "freeloader" when applied to people who use SL for free. LL made SL to be used for free and people make freebies for everyone, but "freeloading" implies getting something for nothing, on the backs of other people, when it isn't intended to be that way.

I do think that those who believe that everything in SL should be free for everyone (all items, that is) don't think straight, simply because it can't work without freeloading on other people's real money. If they do think straight, and realise that, then they are low people, but I don't think they realise it. I'd only come across person with the "everything should be free" attitude until another one owned up to it in this thread.

 

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Phil Deakins wrote:

LL made SL to be used for free and people make freebies for everyone, but "freeloading" implies getting something for nothing, on the backs of other people, when it isn't intended to be that way.


But SL absolutely is intended to be this way. It's the very essence of LL's business model. Content creators pay upload fees for their creations and pay tier for places from which to sell it, while the "vast majority" of people (Wikipedia's words) play for free. If the corporate overlords didn't intend for the creative minority to subsidize the "freeloading" majority, they would make everyone have to pay to play. LL realizes that if everyone had to pay to play, most people would simply abandon SL, so they support SL off the creativity of those who enjoy building & scripting & running virtual businesses. Personally, I don't think this is fair at all to the people who create SL content & virtual environments but so long as it remains LL's policy, the "vast majority" of us SL freeloaders are going to take advantage of it.

Furthermore, if you think that people who think that SL ought to be absolutely free "don't think straight," I remind you once again that SL IS absolutely free. No one forces you to buy a premium account, buy $L or pay tier. In fact, most people don't spend a cent of real money, besides for the electricity to run their computers, on SL.

Jeanne

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JeanneAnne wrote:


Phil Deakins wrote:

LL made SL to be used for free and people make freebies for everyone, but "freeloading" implies getting something for nothing, on the backs of other people, when it isn't intended to be that way.


But SL absolutely
is
intended to be this way. It's the very essence of LL's business model. Content creators pay upload fees for their creations and pay tier for places from which to sell it, while the "vast majority" of people (Wikipedia's words) play for free. If the corporate overlords didn't intend for the creative minority to subsidize the "freeloading" majority, they would make everyone have to pay to play. LL realizes that if everyone had to pay to play, most people would simply abandon SL, so they support SL off the creativity of those who enjoy building & scripting & running virtual businesses. Personally, I don't think this is fair at all to the people who create SL content & virtual environments but so long as it remains LL's policy, the "vast majority" of us SL freeloaders are going to take advantage of it.

Furthermore, if you think that people who think that SL ought to be absolutely free "don't think straight," I remind you once again that SL
IS
absolutely free. No one forces you to buy a premium account, buy $L or pay tier. In fact, most people don't spend a cent of real money, besides for the electricity to run their computers, on SL.

Jeanne

You cherry-picked one sentence to quote, which put it out of context. If you go back and read the rest, you should understand. But, in case you can't be bothered, I'll more or less repeat it...

LL made SL so that it can be used for free. (I said that)

People make freebies for other people. (I said that too)

So people can rightly use SL completely for free. (that was the point of me saying those first two things)

What you contrived to overlook was that, imo, it's perfectly good for people to use SL absolutely free, because of those first two items, and I don't think of those people as freeloaders. The word "freeloaders" implies getting and doing things for free, at other people's expense, when those other people don't intend it. If you take a moment to understand what is written, you won't feel so defensive.

I also said that I'd only met one person who believes that "everything should be free in SL", until, in this thread, you also said that you have that belief. If you really do believe that, then you need to re-read the thread and realise that it can't happen, otherwise SL would only be empty land.

Incidentally, LL's business model is intended to make a profit, and they can only make that profit from users not using SL for free, but putting real money into it. Such people are essential to LL and, therefore, to SL. Without them, LL doesn't have a business model and SL doesn't exist. So you were wrong about LL's business model.

I haven't called you a freeloader because I don't know whether are or not. What I do know is that, without people putting their real money into SL, SL wouldn't exist, and you wouldn't be able to have it all it for free. It follows, therefore, that everything in SL should not be free, so you are wrong about that. Or perhaps you believe that other people should put their money in so that the rest can have everything in SL for free, in which case you really would be a freeloader.

Furthermore, and contrary to what you said, LL did not "intend it to be this way" (this way being all for free), as is blatantly obvious given a moment's thought. They didn't give SL to the world for free. They did it for profit, and that profit only comes from customers. They set up the LindEx so that people can both pay in and cash out. They set up trading within SL, so that people can buy and sell things. They set up the marketplace so that users can buy and sell things. They lease land (monthly tier and sales). Those things can only happen when users put their real money in - when SL is not used completely for free. They did not design, or intend, SL to be a completely free world for everyone.

Perhaps you have a guilt complex that makes you defend when you're not even under attack. Only you know your attitude. You may be a freeloader and feel defensive whenever something related comes up. I don't know.

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 In fact, most people don't spend a cent of real money, besides for the electricity to run their computers, on SL.

First of all, there's absolutely no way to know this.  Even Linden Lab can't know this.*  They can know that the majority of accounts connected at any one time haven't used payment info, but that's not even close to the same thing as "most people don't spend a cent of real money."  Using payment info with the Lab is hardly the only way to spend real money on SL, and more importantly, connected accounts are hardly representative of the people using SL.  Indeed, a lot of people reserve their paying account for a "banker alt" that almost never logs in; that is, in fact, the smart thing to do for anyone with a significant L$ balance.

Also, I just have to say: this obsession about not paying for anything really limits appreciation of SL.  While it's certainly possible to get some entertainment value from SL without paying anything to anybody, it's only part of the experience -- and insisting on dismissing everything that's not free is self-imposed blindness.

 


*Given that they have an IP address for every session, and some (unknown subset) of those are (temporarily) associated with a single person, they'd be in a better position to guess than would anybody else.

 

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Qie Niangao wrote:


 In fact, most people don't spend a cent of real money, besides for the electricity to run their computers, on SL.

First of all, there's absolutely no way to know this.  Even Linden Lab can't know this.*  They
can
know that the majority of
accounts
connected at any one time haven't used payment info, but that's not even close to the same thing as "most people don't spend a cent of real money."  Using payment info with the Lab is hardly the only way to spend real money on SL, and more importantly, connected accounts are hardly representative of the people using SL.  Indeed, a lot of people reserve their paying account for a "banker alt" that almost never logs in; that is, in fact, the smart thing to do for anyone with a significant L$ balance.

Also, I just have to say: this obsession about not paying for anything really limits appreciation of SL.  While it's certainly possible to get some entertainment value from SL without paying anything to anybody, it's only part of the experience -- and insisting on dismissing everything that's not free is self-imposed blindness.

 

*Given that they have an IP address for every session, and some (unknown subset) of those are (temporarily) associated with a single person, they'd be in a better position to guess than would anybody else.

 

I've repeatedly asked if anyone has better statistics on these issues than Wikipedia offers. In lieu of any quantitative responses I've had to provisionally accept the assertion that the "vast majority" of SL players play for free. Please provide some numbers to refute this assertion, if you have any. Sounds like you don't.

I just have to say: this obsession with defending the rapacious business practices of a predatory corporation smacks of a classic case of "Stockholm Syndrome," aka "cohesion unto the oppressor." I guess that if people fall for the idea that you "need" to pay for something you can have for free, they may feel compelled to rationalize this inculcated compulsion. I contend that by not paying to play, my SL experience is superior to that of those who must obsess over making tier, or who must compromise RL experience in order to pay for a premium account. The self-imposed blindness is on the part of those who feel that they must pay LL in order to enjoy SL.

Jeanne

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1. As I said, there is no way to know the statistics.  I'm not making any claims one way or the other about that because no reliable data relevant to the question can exist.  Whatever somebody may have typed into Wikipedia on the subject is at best a completely inappropriate generalization from irrelevant metrics.

2. Fine.  Here's the thing, though: I'm telling you that you're missing out. If you don't believe me, that's fine, but don't presume to have any opinions other than total satisfaction with your SL experience.  Otherwise, by choosing not to participate in the principle business model of Second Life, you've disqualified yourself from having any grounded opinion on the platform's appeal.  I mean: how could you possibly know?  You've made yourself, for all practical purposes, a bystander.

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The backbone of Linden Lab's income comes from SIM tiers (24000+)  and Land tiers s+ premium subscriptions from their Mainland holding (7000+ sims). If those 100's of thousands of SL'ers did not spend that each week or monthly.....Second Life  as virtual world platform would not exist!

There's data available here ------> http://gridsurvey.com/economy.php

You can view historical transactions with avatar numbers up to Sept 2010, then LL stopped making them publically available...but its clear by viewing historical data, there are a lot of people spending real dollars to play SL.

Example 2.5 mill transactions between 200 - 499 L on an item during Sept 2010. ...or 1.2 Million transactions spent on a 1000 - 4999 L item (could be rent too) during Sept 2010. Its clear in the latter example (1000 - 4999 L)....that it is getting away from amounts earnt in-world (ie. camping, surveys & tips), but more to do with someone having to buy Linden dollars....or at least generated by business sales (which requires land, so you have to invest real dollars there)

Again from Sept 2010 figures there were 284,853 transactions for items costing between 5000 - 19999 L...that would suggest Land tiers or rents payable rather than content...with exception of whole buildings.

Now "Monthly spending distribution by Avatar account" during Sept 2010

1 - 500 L$            -  190,517 avatars

501 - 2000 L$     -    87,309

2001- 5000 L$   -     58,775

5001- 10000 L$ -     43,189

10001-50000 L$-     71,875

50001- 100000 L$ - 13,988

100001 - 500 k L$ -    9,870

500001 -1 Mill L$  -     1,112

over 1 Million L $  -      1,337

 

So from the above you can see from the above 477+K residents spent 1 linden dollar or more...which is more or less the current rate in SL. (Dec 2011)

Once you get into 2000 -5001 L expenditure bracket, you're looking at people either BUYING Lindens or earning it from their businesses.....as opposed to being generated from camping, surveys or tips......so that's around 200k residents per month.

You don't need PIOF (Payment of File) to buy Lindens, you can use a number of 3rd Party Exchange system (e.g Virwox, Eldex etc) ...so no need in having a Credit Card registered with LL or requiring Premium subscription.

I'm guessing there's somewhere in the region of 70k to 100k current Premium Subscription accounts....so they all pay with RL dollars.

Bottom line, if people had not contributed financially or spent creative time generating content (need Land for that)...there wouldn't be a Second Life.

It's very niave to think that Second Life should be free for everyone....people like yourself can only live freely because of the effort &  contributions of many (Yes, someone had to create those Freebies that you eagerly scavenge for...it's called RL creative time)

 If 1 million accounts log in per month (an average)...then it's doing so on the backs of 20% that contribute towards the SL platform one way or another (financially or creatively)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How is any 'world' or reality' any less real simply because we understand somewhat the mechanisms of it's creation? People live, love and realize their dreams here. Many that can't for whatever reason do so in the more tangable world we refer to as 'real life'.

If someone offends or delights me in SL, that happened in THIS world, not the one out there, though those emotions effect me no less in either place. I know. I had a near fatal heart attack that was directly effected by some very emotionally intense things that happened here. All that means to me is that it makes it even more real.

I understand that some here are simply capitalist looking to cash in. Some of that is justified by virtue of the quality of product they add to our world. But would any of them honestly make much if there were not people here that considered this a life on some level? If not, why buy anything that's not already in your inventory? Who would be able to sell clothing, furniture, shoes, hair and shapes? Houses, boats cars? None of us need that stuff. We can be here for free as long as we like or until they shut the servers down.

But my life here is enriched by these things weather used by myself or my friends and aquaintences (whom are btw a part of this world also - I have little or no desire to actually ever meet most of them in the other world)

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