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July 17, 2006

Comments

Gigs Taggart

A great move, it will allow more flexibility in sources.

One concern is that it will make the premium account worth not as much. The previously calculated 361 break even rate is going to be 287 with stipend 400.

Barbarra Blair

I really would like to know what you are planning to do to make Second Life more fun.

Anything that makes Second Life less fun is bad for Second Life, and having to scrounge for currency is not fun.

Oz Spade

Are you sure "Supply Linden" is the best name? Analogies of drug suppliers immedietly comes up in my mind. :P

Also keep in mind that there will be many users who will not want to buy L$ via USD and will have no other way to get L$ other than begging if you move to a USD -> L$ only economy base. This is in large part why many users left There. Relying on users to create creative methods to give others "free money" (those who can not create objects and such) results in, well, nothing, as has been evident with the creation of dwell chairs and the like which were the only source of income for many.

A large portion of people are not comfortable spending large amounts of real money (and every $.02 cents adds up) for virtual money. Please keep this in mind.

Prokofy Neva

I'm glad you're trying to take measures to stabilize the Linden and keep the gains it has made in the last few weeks.

The premium account of $9.95 now makes now sense; you can buy the $2000 Linden for less than $9.95, and not everyone wants to sign up for 3 months at once to a new game or world. So stipends became senseless; it's unfortunate that the other piece of the premium account, the subsidized free land, may also be jettisoned for people as they stop buying subscriptions to get the pay packet each week. First land is a great civilizing force and a huge boon to new players for learning and resale; I think you should tell us the real numbers of premium accounts these days, and of these, how many use the first-land option so we can understand if the civilizing forces are at work, or just the griefing. If retention is measured by move to premium accounts -- are you retaining? Or do you have a new way to measure this now?

New players ought not to have been dinged by this cut; the fact that you're hitting new players lets me know that you don't have very many of them such as to worry bout them very much. It would have been more just to ding all accounts, and oldbies first -- after all, most oldbies before 2005 had the huge windfall of all the ratings bonus stipends pouring into their accounts, which they could get from clubbing and socializing. You have done the right thing with cutting stipends; just backward, it should have gone 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.

I suppose supplying money is necessary. I don't get it. Yeltsin also printed rubles, and it led to the ruble collapse in 2002-2003 in Russia.

As for the circuit-breakers, I guess all this does is ding a few very large holders of Lindens because most people can put a market sell on and forget about it for a few days if they have to.

Please come clean now on your plans for changing anything about the tier structure. I'm sure that's up your sleeve next, and you really need to be honest about that. If you are removing the 10 percent bonus, which would be really cruel and suicidal for mainland projects, people need way more than 3 months to adjust. If you are flattening tier such as to make rentals obsolete (except for outside firms with huge advertising budgets who can add content as a RL expense in a PR budget), than you need to be really straightforward about that.

Argus Stravinsky

Perhaps Linden Labs is doing this to try to improve the 'standard of building', in a sense.

I've not been on the MG for over a year (since I transferred to the TG), but I have noticed that "virtual wasteland" can generally apply to the majority of builds I have seen; besides huge community projects with massive starting capital that SUCEED, few people I've seen truly strive to build something more than "adequate" buildings.

This is a key difference between SL and RL: the improving of skills from neccessity.

In Real Life, without relatively good skills, you lose many opportunities and are 'doomed' to fast-food restaurant-esque low-paying service industry jobs, if not unemployment, homelessness, or death by starvation or inadequate health care.

If, however, you study hard and get at least a high school degree if not a college degree, you have a much higher chance of getting a good paying job, thus you have a greater chance of living more comfortably, and certainly face less risk of homelessness or starvation.

In short, you MUST have skills of some sort, because lack of skills means you die or live far less comfortably than most would like.

In Second Life, however, there is no initiative as great as death. You CAN become a great scripter, builder, clothes designer, etc, and make some money, but:

A) You could just as easily pay for that same amount of money with RL cash and

B) Linden dollars are only neccessary as far as the person is impulsive and buys others' designs.

So, you see people who strive to become the best, to produce high quality products... but they are not the majority. Most are content to slap up a box and say "That's ok, I've done GOOD ENOUGH, and anything else I need I can just pay for with actual cash," and this might just be what LL is trying to avoid.

In order to avoid "virtual lethargy," they are providing the initiative to become creative: you don't make something, you don't get money to spend on your own desires. Surely nothing can be as great an influencer as death, but something is neccessary to try to improve the virtual 'standard of building' and prevent SL from turning entirely into a virtual wasteland.

How efficient this might be, and whether it will have more effect than the uproar about the policy change it creates, is up to debate.

Baba Yamamoto

""""
Problem there baba. Is Emphasizing platform vs game in second life may put the scope beyond that of any game but what will the user base of that area truly be? When you take game out of SL your left with something devoid of the social area's that SL have and is just about business and developing it as simply a platform will lead to people consistantly having to work to do anything in SL.

Having games in SL is great but when no one can afford to play them or make them what then?
""""

I never said to take games out of Second Life. I suggested that Linden Lab focus on enabling all kinds of uses for Second Life including games.

Nothing Linden Lab does will stop people from making games short of making a rule prohibiting them and banning anyone who plays games. That would be dumb. There is no Second Life game now nor has there ever been. There are only user created games, so where is the gripe?

The people who will work in Second Life will have the task of making sure nobody else has to work at it. If you don't wish to design your own experience, you will seek one out provided by others. You decide, is Yahoo to my liking for email, or should I use hotmail? Do I want to shop on ebay, or Amazon? Do I get my news from Fark or the Washington Post? Do I play The Sims or Duke Nukem Forever? Windows Media Player or Winamp? AIM or MSN? Firefox or IE?

Your experienc is determiend by the choices you make. Some people will make entirely new things instead of using something provided by others, but you need not. Most of the services or product mentioned above were created by people whose job it was to make sure your needs were met.

Lina Pussycat

The point i was trying to make is the platform they are moving towards isnt the same platform that exists now. They are focusing to much on the economic side of things which ends up hurting everyone and if to many policies are changed it will lead to people not making games due to them not being able to 1 make money off them and 2 people not really being able to afford to play some of the games as they will be forced to buy L to do so if the policies change to much.

What I want LL to do is balance things as opposed to shifting them one way or another. If they focus economically they end up ruining some of the things that make second life what it is. The same goes for focusing it socially though. There is a fine balance and LL is treading more towards the economic end.

Comerse exists in SL and if they buyers arnt happy and cant afford a product they are more likely to just not buy it in SL. Do you want to come to a point where the people developing things make so little money that they cant really afford to stay here because if economic policies keep cutting out the L that is the most likely root for SL's future.

Simply put descisions need to be made for the good of all SL not just developers or people playing socially but everyone and these economic moves if continued will hurt everyone including the people pushing for it as well as LL.

Haravikk Mistral

How about we actually address the real issue of the money fountains not having sufficient sinks to counter them? If you keep taking things away from the players directly then you are going to cripple this game and it's going to be nothing more than a neat way to teach Economics students how much their lives are going to suck!

The linked thread has loads of ideas, but I'll summarise anyway since it seems that yet again LL is turning a blind eye to the suggestions forum despite it having a wealth of ideas and solutions to problem all over SL:

- Variable upload charges - the people who are wasting bandwidth with huge images are getting an easy time with the L$10 flat-fee uploads. The bigger the file, the bigger the upload charge, simple stuff.
- Taxes - at set periods (e.g daily or weekly) take a look at an account's overall profit, and deduct say 1% as tax. MASSIVE money sink with very little impact to either casual players or business. Just remember to tax outgoing too (L$ -> USD$)
- Charge for the ability to enable P2P teleports on plots of land, just like listing in find places you pay per week to enable P2P on your land, doesn't hurt home-owners, and business presumably make the money to do this.

With the taxes idea especially you get so much income that we can easily bring back dwell and make SL back into a game with a stable economy. Taxes work in real-life economics, so why not add them to SL to fix it's crappy economy?

I really am losing faith more and more rapidly, as the only Linden who seems to listen AT ALL is Torley =S

Lina Pussycat

The problem with P2P teleport payment is a bit off for starters not all businesses make money. I for one co own a club that really makes no sort of profit as we try not to. The point here is the economy has been stable for the last month and its shocking to hear another economic change that just does things the end up tightening the money that people have.

The last month has been great and has just proved beyond a doubt that the money coming in isnt a problem. Its more people's confidence in lindex and patience that comes into play with the value of the L but most people fail to realize that. A game like WoW which was mentioned earlier has a flat rate fee or 14.95 a month. Project Entropia doesnt even charge a monthly fee and you can get all your money from monster drops if you really wanted to and look what their money is worth really.

There is to much to the equation to say its volume or new L coming in that is the problem but thats where people are focusing all the attention. 500L a week wasnt killing anyone at all and the last month proved this the 300L > 1usd exchange rate which has been stable for the last month isnt that bad and these tactics to get it up to 250L > 1usd are hurting the people buying L and the amount of L people actually get without being forced to buy something.

The stipends arnt just there to help people to get started. They are there for the casual player and so people have something to fall back on if all else fails. More sinks wont change LindEx and less money coming in wont either. How many people do you actually think are sitting there selling their stipends? Because that seems to be the logic here. The majority of us use our stipends to buy things and If i was forced to buy L i just wouldnt buy a thing. That would go the same for alot of other people.

SL is becoming less and less appealing to newer players and these actions only hurt everyone really. As i stated several times there needs to be a balance. Taxes arnt really the answer and more sinks arnt really.
Stopping changes to economic policy would stabalize things a bit more in reality because a few of the drops in the value were caused by panic due to announcements.

Amhas Szymborska

Hmmm,

Interesting.

I agree with many of the earlier comments that when it comes to the very core of things SL is a businessa and LL is entitled to make some money since they own the system, servers and fork over big bucks to keep the infrastructure humming along.

However with that said, something needs to be done to help alleviate the growing financial pressures on newer players who have no ready way to earn money.

Too many times I have come across new players who are tired and bored of sl becasue they become too pre-occupied with earning L so they can buy goods and services. They beome so concerned about earning a living that they do not or cannot take the time to let their imaginations run wild.

Yes SL may be a business but having fun in SL is the hook that is used to earn and keep residents and I hope the Lindens realize this before they to are looking at an empty grid.

I applaud the changes to the Lindex exchange but the changes can't always be top to bottom. Many times you need to work on the base. So I would like to see a mechanism that will allow newer residents to make a little money and the creation of even more in world financial intitutions such as Ginko Finacial or other credit union type firms with better return rates.

Maybe even a "GASP!" a virtual welfare state that will allow newer users to become aclimated and allow them some learning time before being kicked out into the world.

The name of the game is competition, competition, competition but with a safety net just in case.

Baba Yamamoto

People don't need a way to get free money.. If they want some Linden Dollars to spend they can find some way to earn them. I assume these people already have jobs and can aford to spend 5 USD(L$1500) per month on some Linden Dollars from the LindeX... If they can't aford it, then they can make due with freebies.

I've probably never bought more than L$5000 in items in my 3 years in Second Life. My enjoyment of Second Life does not depend on having Linden Dollars. If your enjoyment does, try supporting yourself rather than asking for some handout.

Catherine Cotton

A long time ago I sank my reputation over the game vs commerical aspects of SL. Apparently I was dead on with many of the changes that have since been implimented. The majority felt that SL was a commercial product and nothing else. The same question I had back then has still gone unanswered. So I will once again pose it to you:

"If you make sl only a business platform where ppl must either earn by being a creator or buy linden $. Who are you going to sell your products to?"

SL is losing it's entertainment value rapidly, not by the hands of it's "residents" but by the hands of LL.

Why would anyone want a premium account these days, the negatives far out weight the positives. I personaly would down grade to basic, take any subscription fees I would of payed and buy linden dollars. I would then rent land cheaper than the purchase price from LL and go shopping with the extra linden dollars. Or simply not purchase anything and save myself the fees completly.

In affect LL is discouraging ppl from subscribing. The history of this company is to continually take from it's customers. I have no reason to believe that trend will change. Especialy given these announcements.

Not good for the economy, it's good for LL bottom line, just as it has always been.

I put things simply and ppl tend to hate that but I don't much care what you are left with is this:

"Continue to take away the entertainment value, and you will have few to entertain."

Cat

spell check it your damn self,lol.

Heuvadoches Naumova

What we have here....is failure to economize....some Linden Labs you just can't reach....so you get what we had here last month...Stability....but they didn't like it...any more'n we did.

My apologies to "Cool Hand Luke"

The point is...if it ain't broke....

And it wasn't broke.... Places like Yadni's and the GNUbie store are becoming more and more popular for a reason, people....Don't sneer, I look damn good in freebies...and I have a friend that's made thousands of $L in costume contests with freebies.

This change in stipends is bad and more over, it's completely unfair. If you must lower it, lower it for EVERYONE, or lower/eliminate it for those who have a pile of cash....

Web Page

Just to translate the announcement into plain english, it means that it's now more expensive to play secondlife, and harder to make money there.

Thank you for your short attention spans

Marcuw Schnook

I'm a little puzzled by this. I can relate/understand why LL is doing this, but I don not see why the premium stipend is lowered.

As I signed up a while ago, my weekly stipend is 50L$ and this remains. For me, to go to a premium account, which would cost me USD10 (rounded) I get a whole 350L$ week more.

And what extra does it give me, beside the L$? The right to owe my own 512m2 of land somewhere.

Having seen rents that vary in price but generally speaking are around 100-200L$/week for 512m2 with often more prim allowance then your own piece of land would allow, what's the use? Most of the First Land even is located at remote, abandonen (new) empty places, unless you are willing to cough up L$4-L$10 per m2 for a 512m2 spot somewhere in a busy/nice/prepared area Again still nothing a *new* account (even premium) could afford (unless buying a lot of L$ beforehand).

As such, premium accounts are more and more becoming for land barons and people that are really making a living out of SL. That's fine for them.

But it makes it even more harder on new players. They saying goes "money makes money". So only the people having money (either in RL being able to buy big amounts of L$) or in game (Linden$) already will be able to get more and more.

To me, the conclusion has become, it's even becoming less interesting for me to get my own piece of land. I can also see people starting playing the free account not seeing the need to upgrade to a premium account just because of this.

And for the more casual player, they will loose interest soon, as there is virtually no way to gain L$ after the grace period of 30 days (money trees for example) and while camping chairs all over are being reduced.

Not everyone is capable of doing some kind of business in SL or want to.

Just my 2cts.

Marcuw Schnook

Forgot to add:
For USD10 you get a mere 1600L$/month and the right to owe your 512m2 of land.

Buying L$ for USD10 gives approx 3300L$, twice as much. One better would buy L$ when they need it then pay a monthly fee (unless they want to become landlords/barons)

Baba Yamamoto

People whose full time real life job is to be a "Land baron" need to make enough to support themselves. Presumably everyone else already has a job, and they have a *free* Second Life account. What more do you want?

You already have a job, which pays for your entertainment budget. You rent movies, or go out to the theater. Why not pay for some L$ and live it up in Second Life? Why is this somehow different?

So you don't need a premium account, because rent is so cheap? Good for you! Go buy some L$ and rent your land for $2 a week. That's about $8.00 a month with some Lindens left over to spend on whatever else.

Why does it matter who you are paying for the experience? Linden Lab or whoever you bought your Linden Dollars from?

>>>>
""'If you make sl only a business platform where ppl must either earn by being a creator or buy linden $. Who are you going to sell your products to?'

SL is losing it's entertainment value rapidly, not by the hands of it's "residents" but by the hands of LL.""


Entertainment is business. What people find entertaining differs widely, but I'm sure someone is developing the next big thing in Second Life right now.

I played a pretty entertaining hack & slash RPG not too long ago that was built on LSL. It looked to be coming along nicely.

Lina Pussycat

Lets start with this. They are making L harder to get for everyone and unless you own a business in SL your screwed to even earn L. They are supposed to go out and earn L? How pretell? Jobs have gone down hill over the last year. And this hack and slash RPG you played made in LSL where do you think the upload fee's came from?

And pardon but do you honestly think people are going to want to stay in SL when there is no aspect that can really be enjoyed without having to spend alot of real life money or work your butt off in world just to make a few bucks here and there. For starters most of the skins now are 1000 - 1250L which is 3.61 - 4.43 cents for 1 skin.

10 dollars get 2939L a month 939L more and I dont have the choice to own land hmmm whats the better deal there really? Say i wanna open up a little shop but still want some L to play with and that shop simply sits on 512 sq m of land i only have 10 a month to spend that leaves me with only 1424L to play with while owning land. They also make 2 512 sq m tiers one you sign up for then one again. Either that or they - 512 sq m from everything.

I think you miss the actual aspect that if people want to go into business then and have money to play with SL is going to get expensive. A good business isnt all little rainbows and butterflies to be successful costs money. To go on find you need the sink for Find weekly. Which means spending an exta amount of L which leaves you with 1304L to run a business with just 512 sq m and having it on find if you can only spend 10 dollars.

Where with the current system you get 2k a month + 512 and that leaves you with 1880L a month as opposed to 1304L a month. It equals out to the stipend being the better deal if you ever want any land. I think mabye if you actually worked it out from a few diff aspects you would see the economical moves are actually bad in the long run.

I care about SL as a whole and want to see a middle ground which already exists. They need to stop pushing things towards business because its getting increasingly harder for people to be here in general let alone get started doing anything.

Lina Pussycat

Also baba most land barons make enough L to support themselves but if they run into a situation where they didnt make enough L alot of them dont have the money to pay for it and still be living a normal life. Alot made profit from land dealings and use an sl income to pay tier as opposed to having real life money. They force their hands and give themselves a time restriction by doing such. I know what i can pay a month for SL and without the stipends the casual players that are paying what they can in tier and dont run a business are pretty screwed over

Chris Kuhr

hmmm...does anybody PLAY sl as an escape from rl? emphasis on the word PLAY...because last time i checked...sl is a GAME...right?

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