On Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 Linden Lab announced a restructuring of Mainland tier costs, with allotment of “free” land for Premium members doubled from 512 sq metres to 1024 sq metres.
The announcement was made via a blog post, which reads in full:
We’ve got some exciting news for both aspiring and existing Landowners who think the cost of land is too darn high in Second Life. Effective immediately, we’ve reduced Mainland costs by over 10 percent.
But, wait…there’s more!
Premium members now also get DOUBLE the Mainland allotment! That’s twice as much space to build, create and design your own home, business or experience in Second Life at no extra charge! Premium subscribers now have 1,024m² included with their membership: you could keep your Linden Home and still have another 512m² left over, or use your entire 1024 allotment towards a parcel on the Mainland. To learn more about specifics of this change, view our Pricing and Allotment Comparison chart.
We know that costs associated with land ownership can hinder some people from realizing their full creative vision in Second Life or even keep them from participating in Second Life as much as they’d like. In 2015, we decreased land setup fees by up to 40% and restored a 50% discount on set-up fees and ongoing maintenance fees for educators and nonprofits. In 2016, we offered a limited-time “buy-down” opportunity that rolled back maintenance fees on full islands and homesteads.
As Second Life begins to celebrate its fifteenth birthday, we hope that this latest price drop will be welcome news to those who aspire to explore their creativity in 2018 and beyond.
Of course, when people talk about tier being “too damned high”, they are generally referring to the cost of private regions (particularly Homesteads), so this change in Mainland rates many not be looked upon favourably in some quarters. But the fact remains – as I pointed out in 2013 – lowering private region tier isn’t as easy a proposition for Linden Lab as some tend to think, the (roughly) 23% reduction in tier revenue the Lab has seen since November 2013, notwithstanding.
As such, this should be seen for what it is – an attempt by the Lab to encourage land take-up – and leave us not forget there have also been calls to re-invigorate Mainland with all of its abandoned land – without unduly exposing their bottom-line. So, if nothing else, it will be interesting to see what this offer does both in terms of Premium subscriptions and in encouraging people to take-up their “free” 1024 square metres of Mainland (or go bigger and use the 1024 “free” + the reduced difference in remaining tier).
A slight spanner in the works here, of course is that obtaining Mainland parcels can be time-consuming, and comes with the initial overhead of the purchase price. Nevertheless, it will also be interesting to see if / how this affects Linden Home ownership. A complaint against the latter is that while they come with a 175 LI allowance and a house which does not count towards that total, the houses themselves are oft viewed as unattractive. So, will these changes encourage some of those with Linden Homes to abandon them in favour of a 1024 sq m parcel (the aforementioned pain in finding and purchasing a suitable parcel notwithstanding) with at least 350 LI and a house of their own choosing, even if it does count against that total?
Time will tell on this.