Premium subscription changes: a little more news from Grumpity

At the April 20th, 2018 town hall event, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Linden confirmed that as a part of pivoting Second Life’s revenue generation away from a heavy reliance on land, the Lab are looking at introducing a range of Premium account options which will have different levels of benefits associated with them – see here for more (includes an audio extract of his comments).

While details have yet to be finalised, Grumpity Linden spoke to some of the ideas under consideration at the Web User Group meeting. Because her comments are likely to be of interest beyond that meeting, I’ve provided a transcript of her comments, with an audio recording, below.

to précis Grumpity’s comments:

  • The Lab is looking at a range of Premium subscriptions, not just the single tier we know at present.
  • As per Ebbe’s original comments, how many and what they might each comprise is still TBD.
  • The over-arching idea is to make premium options so attractive, it would be “insane” to ignore them.
  • Simple examples of additional benefits being looked at is guaranteed access to in-world events / early access to in-world events, but overall, the Lab is looking at a broad range of benefits and (in the case of Basic accounts) limits.
  • With regards to Basic accounts, the Lab’s view is:
    • There are many things within Second Life which come at a cross to everyone’s in-world experience, but which are offered on an “unlimited” basis to Basic account holders – this may change.
    • Despite rumours circulating on the forums, there are no plans to prevent Basic account holder from rezzing things in-world.
    • The Lab wants to provide a Basic account experience sufficient to give incoming users an understanding  / flavour / taste (call it what you will) of all aspects of Second Life, while encouraging those who engage with the platform motivation to move to a subscription tier.
  • The coming changes are not about curtailing any use of Second Life or limiting what people can do or “nickel and diming” everything that can be done within Second Life.  they are about giving people more reasons to go Premium, make them happy / excited about premium opportunities, and hopefully of driving revenue generation.

Obviously, it would be nice to have more in the way of specifics – and these will come it time. As has been noted, it is still somewhat early days in what is being considered / planned, and I (and others) will obviously be reporting on things as the plans are made more public.

In the meantime, for those interested, here are Grumpity’s comments, and the audio recording of those comments as made at the April 25th, 2018 Web User Group meeting.

What’s coming on the premium tiers? We are looking at all of the existing premium benefits, we’re also looking at what is included with Basic accounts. Our goal is to make a basic experience that allows you an introduction to all areas of Second Life.

So I saw some fascinating speculation on the forums, and I don’t believe we’ve ever considered not allowing Basic members to rez. That would be probably insane on our parts, because this would take away from an integral part of Second Life.

But there are certain things that impact everyone’s experience on one hand, and are completely unlimited to a Basic account on the other.

So we’re looking at different ways of putting in limits that will actually improve everyone’s experience, give basic accounts a sufficient taste of what it is like but also; honestly, our goal is that if you’re committed to Second Life and  you’re invested in Second Life, the Premium benefits are such that it would be insane not to be Premium. And that’s the end goal.

And we’re looking at all sorts of limits, and we’re also looking at higher Premium levels that give you even more things. Like you could get into events even before all the other people, and you’d be guaranteed to get into the hair fair or something.

I can’t give away specifics, because this is so far away, and then when we announce you guys will be, “Oh, this is old news!”  So, we’d like to hold some stuff back. But our goal is to make you happy; it’s not to make your lives miserable and to nickel and dime you at every turn. It is to make Second Life more profitable and successful by making our residents happy [and] also by making new residents’ introduction to Second Life smoother.

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A Bay of Dreams in Second Life

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Solo Arte, the open-air gallery space for art and culture designed by Terrygold, is well-known for art displays and installations, as I’ve frequently covered in this blog. All of the art events at the venue have tended to be on platforms in the sky – Terry has designed a lovely outdoor urban setting, complete with small indoor galleries as well as the street-side areas for art displays, while additional installations can be set-up on their own platforms. This has tended to leave the ground level space of the quarter-region parcel unused where public access is concerned.

Or at least, it has until now. Bay of Dreams is a new ground-level setting Terry has created for people to enjoy – and it stands as another demonstration that you don’t have to have an entire region in order to create something special.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

“It’s inspired by the Canadian woodlands,” Terry told me as we explored the space. “We will also be hosting some parties and music events here, and people are welcome to explore the woodland paths and come here for a little peace.”

The setting has the feel of somewhere in the Rockies – the parcel is bounded on two sides by curtain walls of rock to separate it from its neighbours, the remaining two looking out over open Linden Water, which one might imagine to be the waters of a lake. Scotts pine vie with the rocky curtains for height, a grassy path winding its way eastwards through them from the landing point, while a raised wooden board walk curls back to the western edge of the parcel and a waterside venue space.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

A rectangular, lawned space bracketed to the north and south be a stage area and a pavilion-style bar respectively, and by water to the west and east, this events space is extremely attractive in design and layout. It’s fair to say – if an understatement – to say it embodies an artist’s eye, with simplicity of layout with a balance of design and placement of elements – notably pieces by fellow artists such as CioTToLiNa Xue – to create an elegant venue space. A wooden pier to one side offers a rezzing create where a canoe can be taken for a row out onto the southern waters – just be careful about paddling too far, as you might bounce off the region edge.

These southern waters are dominated by a near-nude rock that rises impressively from them. It is straddled by an equally impressive cabin crouching on study wooden legs rooted in the stone beneath. The cabin can be reached via two platforms at the base of the rock – against which a canoe can be moored – and ladder-like steps. For those who don’t like the idea of rowing to the rock, it can be reached via another wooden board walk.  This extends out from the eastern side of the woodland trail, winding its way over a small island between the shoreline and a the tall rock.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Along the path to this board walk can be found a little camp site and a tiny waterfall tucked away under the cliffs bordering the parcel. The trail itself continues beyond the board walk to where a sign points the way to a little cove where people can sit or cuddle – or take a HUD from the sign at the water’s edge and go for a swim.

Bay of Dreams is a charming, extremely well designed environment put together with an eye for detail. It has a balanced elegance about it which gives life to the truism “less is more”. Should you enjoy a visit, please consider a donation towards the parcel’s upkeep, and if you want to keep abreast of events at Bay of Dreams and Solo Arte in general, consider joining the Solo Arte group.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

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