On Monday, April 4th, the Lab took a step to help those who are leasing a region (full or homestead) directly from the Lab with the opportunity to reduce their tier payments, by paying a one-off fee.
The blog post announcing the offer – which runs for a six-month period from April 4th through October 4th, 2016 – reads in part:
From today until October 4th, 2016, you can “buy-down” your Full Islands and/or Homesteads to the grandfathered maintenance rates. By paying a one-time fee up front, you’ll be entitled to lower tier rates on your land for as long as you hold it (and remember, we now also allow transferring grandfathered land).
The pricing for this offer is as follows:
- Full Island:
- One-time buy-down fee: $600
- Grandfathered maintenance fee: $195/month (regularly $295/month)
- One-time buy-down fee: $180
- Grandfathered maintenance fee: $95/month (regularly $125/month)
If you plan to hold onto your land for longer than 6 months, this is a great deal for you!
To take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to submit a Support Case using the Land & Region -> Region Buy Down case type. In that case you can provide us with the names of the regions you would like to buy down, and we will assess the appropriate buy-down fee per region.
There are some caveats to the offer: it cannot be combined with Education and Non-Profit discounts, nor can it be applied to Skill Gaming Regions. The quoted prices are also exclusive of VAT, if applicable.
Coming on top of the recent changes to region set-up fees, which is also referred to in the blog post, this is an interesting move by the Lab, indicating that they are trying to mix things up a little in an attempt to try to help with the issue of tier.
The 6-month period of the offer means those who take immediate advantage of it will effectively break even on the one-time fee cost, and will continue to enjoy the grandfathered tier status for as long as they hold the land. And, of course, grandfathered regions can now be transferred – although this does incur a further up-front fee (US $600 for a full region, $225 for a Homestead, for example). At the same time, it potentially offers the Lab something of a cash injection, making it almost a best of both worlds offer.
Tier will remain a contentious issue within Second Life, but the Lab is hoist by its own petard when it comes to taking broader steps with tier and possible tier reduction; there is only so much the company can do without risking hurting itself. As such, this is something of a welcome move, although it will be interesting to see how far down it reaches.