Second Life land set-up fees reduced

Land costs in Second Life are one of the most controversial issues to discuss. While it is often claimed that “the tier is too damned high”, the Lab has always been somewhat hoist by its own petard in having virtual land fees as the mainstream of its income. As I explained at length in January 2013, this actually limits how much the Lab can actually do with regards tier without potentially hurting its ability to function.

However, one area that has always seemed unaccountably high is the one-time set-up fees charged for private regions. These have stood at US $1,000 for a standard full region and $375 for a standard Homestead region (both inclusive of the first month’s tier, and ex-VAT where applicable) for many years, which has always come across as an exorbitant  amount to charge. There have been numerous calls over the years for these fee to be reduced; in my 2013 article linked to above, I went so far as to suggest a reduction in set-up fees coupled with a modest reduction in tier might be a way forward for the Lab.

The Lab, though, seemed steadfast in its approach. Tier would always be difficult to adjust, and they appeared reticent to play with the set-up fees. But on Tuesday, November 17th, that latter point changed.

Crossing Sands; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr With immediate effect, set-up fees for all private island products (unthemed and themed) in Second Life have been reduced by 40% (image: Crossing Sands MarinaFlickr)

As announced in a an official blog post, the Lab has confirmed that with immediate effect set-up fees across all private island products (Full, Homestead and OpenSpace, both developed and undeveloped), have been reduced by 40%. This means that the set-up fees for all classes of private island product are now (ex-VAT, where applicable):

  • Full Private Island US $600
  • Themed private island US $629
  • Homestead region US $225
  • Themed Homestead region $250
  • OpenSpace region US $150

What’s more, anyone who has paid a region set-up fee in the past 14 days will receive the difference in fees back as a credit(in US Dollars to their account balance.

This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction – although how much of an impact on land usage it has will be interesting to monitor. In October 2011, the Lab abolished all set-up fees for a period of one month in a “land sale”, which saw  689 added to the grid, a net growth of some 508 regions for the month. Unfortunately, such was the situation then that, as the realities of tier kicked-in, the increase in regions was all but negated in a few months as the heavy decline in region numbers continued through 2012.

As it stands, it is fair to say the global economic situation has improved since 2012, and people have again found themselves with more in the way of disposable income in their pockets they can put towards tier. This has likely to have been a contributing  (but not the only) factor in the slow-down in regions losses seen in 2013 / 2014. But will a cut in set-up fees be sufficient to fuel a further sustained slow-down in grid shrinkage which has accelerated slightly in 2015? That’s something only time will tell, although I’m admittedly sceptical.

Which is not to negate the move by the Lab in any way – rather the reverse, it is most welcome, if perhaps a little overdue.

Venexia; Inara Pey, June 2015, on Flickr Tier has been a significant contributor to the loss of regions in SL, including places such as Venexia (above) and its sister region, Goatswood.  Whether the reduction in set-up fees will help slow this situation down is an open question.

Changes to Transferring Regions

Alongside the set-up fees reduction for private regions, the Lab has also announced changes to transferring regions with grandfathered pricing, with the blog post stating;

Previously, Private Islands with grandfathered pricing would lose that status and revert to the usual schedule of land maintenance fees when the regions were transferred to a new owner. Today, we are changing that policy to make it easier for these regions to remain on the grid if and when they are sold to new owners.

Effective immediately, both Grandfathered Full Private Island regions ($195/month) and Grandfathered Homestead Private Island regions ($95/month) may be transferred to new owners without losing the discounted pricing.

However, this news come with a caveat: the one-time transfer fees for grandfathered regions are increased, with grandfathered full regions costing US $600 to transfer and maintain the grandfathered tier, and homestead regions US $300 (both fees per region, and exclusive of VAT where applicable),

13 thoughts on “Second Life land set-up fees reduced

  1. It would be interesting to see what the “For Sale By Owner” group make of this. I’m not convinced this was the best way to go here, second hand homestead regions will be pretty much unsellable.


    1. Was there that much demand for second hand homesteads as opposed to the general churn through large estates? I’m so far removed from that end of the land market at present, I profess to not knowing.


      1. People were advertising them for sale for $150 – $180 on the official forum. The new price means that won’t fly as LL’s regions come with the first month of tier paid.

        Large estates were already able to get regions on the cheap anyway, so not much change for them.


        1. “Large estates were already able to get regions on the cheap anyway, so not much change for them.”

          Which is why I wondered about the second hand market and how viable homesteads would be within it, given large estates do get them on the cheap and the churn is high. Independent region holders who want a homestead are affected, obviously, but I wasn’t sure how big a demand there was for that side of the market.


  2. Many people do want homesteads but of course they cannot have one without owning a private sim so the cost there has not come down at all.


    1. I wouldn’t entirely agree.

      Those wanting a homestead have plenty of opportunity to obtain own without having a Full region, by going to a private estate and leasing.

      To me, where the problem lies is that cutting set-up fees in this way potentially something estate owners can’t easily pass on to potential renters without things getting complicated- a problem completely avoided by the limited offer no set-up fees land sale of 2011. As such, it wouldn’t surprise me if, for the sake of ease of operations, many estates didn’t simply absorb the set-up fee, and so the benefit / stimulus (if stimulus was the intent) is, for most people, largely hollow.


      1. I know plenty who if given the chance, would buy a homestead outright, without leasing one. Leasing varies in price and many simply do not want to risk leasing a homestead and the land company go out of business.


  3. What would be nice, is if those of us with full regions were given the option to pay a fee of $600 or more to convert them Grandfathered. Otherwise smaller but established estates will never be able to take advantage of this unless they remove their content and start over again.


  4. This is a step in the right direction, but I’m not going to get dancing in the streets excited by it. The setup fee for regions has come down, yes, but it’s essentially been reduced from ludicrously overpriced to only ridiculously overpriced. If LL TRULY wants to stimulate growth in SL, they need to get rid of the setup fees all together (or at least make them a pittance), eliminate transfer fees ($600 US to TRANSFER a region? seriously?), allow people to own a homestead region without having to own a full region, and either lower tier or perhaps eliminate the tier system all together.

    I know there’s been multiple times I’d love to pick up that extra 512m or 1024m parcel, but it would bust my tier, costing me in effect another $35 to $50 dollars a month. So what do I do? I keep my tier where it is, and pass on the land. If it was a pay as you go and I’d only add another few dollars to my monthly tier, I’d snap it up, but another $50 a month for going one meter over tier?. Noooo….. Pay as you go at least in my case and probably many many more would mean more money in tier and sometimes even land purchase price for LL that I won’t do because of the huge jumps in tier now. There’s a lot less thought involved if buying a 512m parcel of land increases your monthly tier by $2 instead of $50. Land starts becoming more of an impulse but than a major purchase.

    That’s one area where I do think they have the right idea in Project Sansar. Take the onus for paying for the world off the average resident who’s there because they love it and just wants a little spot to call home, and put it more squarely on the ones that are there to make money. I’d love to see SL follow suit.


  5. Well it must be said it is about time that these Lindens did lower the tier. Tier is sooooooo much OMGosh.


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