The Board of Virtual Ability would like to express our deep disappointment with today’s announcement from Linden Lab. As a member of the non-profit community, we have been active in Second Life for three years, and currently own five sims.
We intend to remain in Second Life, as our services here are central to our mission. But we will likely need to scale back.
Regardless of any financial sense behind this decision, there are multiple negative implications that make us only shake our heads sadly: * Education and non-profits provide an incredible maturity and diversity to the SL ecosystem. * Through our outreach, classes and networking, we constantly bring in new residents to SL. We’re some of the best advocates the Lab has. * The timing in conjunction with the recent announcement about the Teen Grid, leads us to wonder if - once again - the Lab's left hand does not know what it's right hand is doing. Which institutions are going to be able to afford to be in Second Life and work with these new teen residents? * Approximately 20% of the total population in Second Life has some form of disability. The more than 70 health support groups here are at greater risk of being unable to participate and provide their services. * Resources that Virtual Ability was planning to spend on participation in the Snowstorm initiative will need to be redirected to tier costs. This is bad for Linden Lab's publicity, and their potential for growth in markets that are subject to the regulations of Section 508 (or similar policy in other countries.)
More than anything else, education and non-profits are darn good for Linden Lab’s business. Which headline is worth more to Linden Lab’s future prospects, growth, and profitability: “New Gorean Roleplay Sim Opens in Second Life”, or “University of ABC Expands Second Life Presence”, or "First Winner of Linden Prize Priced Out of Second Life"? The amount of good, free publicity Virtual Ability, Inc. and all the other non-profits have provided to Linden Lab over the past few years has far exceeded the discount we’ve received on our islands.
We hope Linden Lab will seriously reconsider the implications of this policy.
Gentle Heron for the Board of Directors of Virtual Ability, Inc.