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.


13 thoughts on “Premium subscription changes: a little more news from Grumpity

  1. Wow. Well, it looks like this will cause a lot of controversy. Adding things to premium accounts is one thing, but limiting basic accounts? A whole other thing that is likely to lose residents rather than gain. SL occupancy has already gone way down in numbers. When I started actively playing, there were some 75K inworld at the time; now I’m lucky to see 45K. Limiting accounts is not the way to generate revenue, not when there are other virtual worlds out there that are not limiting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see it like Debs. Stealing candy from basics isn’t giving me more benefits, doesn’t help me at all. So, yes, it would indeed be insane not to be Premium … if you wanna have permission to breath freely in SL. I’d much prefer to it if we premiums get perks so really really overwhelmingly beneficial to us that it would be total stupidity not to be a premium member. Things like the additional 512 m². How about just doubling land holdings in general? I.e. when I already have a 1024, make it 2048, when I own a 4096, give me another 4096 and so on …
    Oh yes, and gimme a higher stipend! I want more playmoney, like 500 or 1000 woolong each and every week!


    1. There are things the Lindens could change and won’t for whatever reason. Things like limiting our group memberships. Why? On InWorldz I have unlimited group membership and don’t pay a cent. I also get a much better rate of exchange on converting real money to inworld cash. On SL, I pay for premium to be allowed 60 and it means I’m always having to leave and rejoin groups. The land isn’t an issue for me because I’m never at my own home anyway. The stipend is a drop compared to what I put into the game to purchase stuff. I honestly wish they would spend more time and trouble on fixing the game for the best experience – not having to restart regions, issues with textures, lag, etc. than they do on assuring us they are giving us more. I’ve been premium for several years and, honestly, what they do give to premium members is a drop in the bucket. Go on, Lindens, thrill me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Thar She Blows! and commented:
    It would be insane not to become a Premium member … if you wanna stay playable in SL that is. We’re not talking about premium perks here but about survival! Looks like the Lab is going to reduce some basic permissions and needs and wants to reduce basic membership to a kind of sampling things, a testing account that will fall flat after a couple weeks or so. 😦
    Do I smell yet another dickhead move by our honoured Lindens?
    Read all about it in Inara’s allknowing blog.


  4. “a basic experience that allows you an introduction {WHAT!!!!} to all areas of Second Life”

    This just shows how out-of-touch Linden is from REALITY. I’ve been around years — most folks I know have a handful of “main” accounts per human typist and a bunch of alts to test things, RP with, hide out in , etc .

    But those alts aren’t ALL just one day , come in disguise to a party accounts. They are parts of our SL* whole*.

    Start chopping off alts and it will make the homestead bloodbath look like chum change.

    Our SL selves, personas are a FAMILY of experiences. Don’t tell us to cut back our experiences.

    Face it , Sansar was a Humble created , not done yet, waste of money . And no i haven’t seen it . I can’t ,I’m on my iMac. So they need to show cash revenues, chopping the basic account on some MASSIVELY misguided idea people will be so stunned by an extra 512m they will pony 72 up USD each so they can keep functional alts.

    No. No. and No. Stop the naval gazing , stop the Sansar money pit- sell the shards of it. Cut the payroll, will save about half-no?

    But before you mess with accounts “know your client base.”

    Basic accounts are not all moochers , many are your paying customers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to agree with Bet: Sansar is a waste of money. I logged in exactly once. I hate the ugly avatar I’m forced to use that you can’t change quickly or nicely. I did the best I could with what little was offered. Their movement is choppy and weird. I had no desire to explore further. I noted how they kept pushing Sansar into this post and shook my head. What this all sounds like? Exactly as people have feared all along. LL is tired of SL being used in sexual manners and letting it die off, while pushing Sansar. They have done little to improve SL because they don’t want us happy there; they want us to move to their new baby which just isn’t what I want. Of all my friends on SL, exactly one other has made an account and went in and then back out never to return.

      I also agree with Bet about the alt accounts. I myself have a few that are for different experiences, including one that I introduce to no one because she is just my people-watcher. So now, what, I have to pay for them all to be premium accounts or they cant’ do anything on SL again? Even though I have put a lot of money into making them mesh and looking good?


    2. That’s pretty much what Grumpity is saying, at least how I read it, that LL has no plans to make Basic accounts worse or more limited. Instead they want to make Premium accounts better through offering more features and incentives.
      There was one odd comment in there that might go against this.
      “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.”
      This whole statement reads oddly and I assume it’s because it’s from an audio transcript rather than a comment Grumpity had time to sit down and write out. It almost sounds like here Grumpity is referring to how people can inadvertently create a really laggy, low FPS experience for everyone through content they rez or wear. Honestly I do want LL to do something about that, but giving Premium accounts license to be laggier than Basics doesn’t seem like a good way to go about it. But maybe I’m reading too much into this.


  5. I do think they done A LOT to improve SL in the last few years and a lot more responsively to the users. I appreciate the long years of us vs them is over with Ebbe’s warmth and intelligence.

    I don’t need little wiggly dragon toes to play cat’s cradle with but I guess you can now . Lots of performance improvements and features. Frankly the competition between the 2 teams probably didn’t hurt .

    But, my fear is that now that SL is friendly stable improving they are going to stick the Golden Goose in a convection oven and try to bleed it to death to keep a never ready for prime time Sansar struggling.

    I’d love to know why Linden is soooooo afraid to look at the demographics of its long term paying customers and —–go where they are—– to attract new users instead of their Wine Bar sushi in a reduction truffle foam under 28 year old customer focus.

    I have met very few SL paying customers who fit the Gamer model they market to. Has Ebbe been interviewed by AARP magazine? They need to talk less to the tech crowd and go where the future users are . This interview he gave is great but give it to real people not techie insiders.

    Less SOMA more Sunset magazine Linden. [less trendy area vs suburban lifestyle magazine].

    The dollar is a dollar Linden. Follow it .


    1. The issue with your idea is that obviously the Lindens want to cater to the “cool” crowd and not the AARP retiree crowd. Unfortunately they are failing to realize that the AARP crowd has the money, while the cool crowd usually does not spend much or have money of their own. Gamers are not going to flock to SL, because they are immersed in their Xboxes and Playstations, which SL does not have an alternative to in world. You and I can see this, but when will LL see this?


      1. I’ve been in SL since 2005 and I’ve never seen any indication that LL has made any attempt, let along solely focused, on bringing gamers into SL. A tech company (which LL is) doing interviews about their tech to tech media is not “chasing the cool crowd and ignoring everyone else”.

        LL’s marketing attempts have been poor, but not because they’re fixated on one market, but because their marketing attempts have been bland and unfocused. Usually revolving around virtual recreations of LL Bean advertisements.


  6. I’d go premium today if it meant a significant drop in the cashout fee I have to pay.


  7. It was only a matter of time before this happened. LL is just doing what 99.9% of what must gaming companies are doing and that is the heavily monterization of all things SL. Right now, apart from customer service, a free 512, and some in world gifts, there really is not a reason to go premium, since basic account holders can pretty much get land (lease from someone else), get gifts (via stores and hunts), and as for support, how many actually need this on a daily basis?


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