Linden Lab announces major SL private region pricing restructure

Isle of May; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrPrivate region set-up fees and monthly tier rates will be reduced from July 2nd, 2018 – see below (region pictured: Isle of Mayblog post

Updated to include a quote from Ebbe Altberg

On Wednesday, June 20th, while speaking at the Meet the Lindens event, Linden Lab, and a a part of the SL15B celebrations, CEO Ebbe Altberg made a major announcement concerning private region maintenance fees (aka tier).

I’ve been saying for quite a while now that I think the balance between what it cost to have land versus what it costs to transact or buy and sell in the economy is a little off-kilter. Land is quite expensive but selling things in the world is quite cheap, comparatively speaking. So I a basically fell we have fairly high real estate taes but very low consumption tax. so we’re trying to adjust this so that it’s better. That was part of the Mainland price reduction, and today I can also announce we’re going to lower the cost of private estates!

Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab CEO speaking at SL15B during his Meet The Lindens session.

As from July 2nd, 2018, private region tier will be reduced by 15% for full and Homestead regions. In addition, the one-time set-up fee applicable to Full and Homestead regions is being reduced.

This means that after July 2nd, 2018, private region set-up fees and monthly tier rate will be as follows:

New Private region pricing structure. Note that as from July 2nd, 2018, new OpenSpace regions will not longer be available as a product (see below for more). Table courtesy of Linden Lab. Remember set-up fees include the first month’s tier

There are some caveats to this restructuring:

  • Skill Gaming regions are not included in this restructuring.
  • This reduction does not include grandfathered  / “bought down” regions as they are already priced well below these new rates.
  • From July 2nd, the OpenSpace (“water”) class of region will no longer be offered as a product – however, existing OpenSpace regions already in use on the grid will continue to be supported, and will be subject to the tier discount.
  • Education/Nonprofit (EDU/NP) discounted full islands will be re-priced to maintain their 50% discount off the regularly priced full islands, with the new  tier rate of US $124.50 applying at the start of that island’s next invoiced billing term.

Linden Dollar Purchase Fee Increase

As noted above, Ebbe has previously indicated (see here for example), Linden Lab is attempting to re-balance how the company generates revenue through the Second Life platform to help reduce region tier pricing. This is being done by increases in fees charged elsewhere within the service.

Thus to help offset the revenue loss resulting from this reduction in private region fees, Ebbe also announced that the cost to buy Linden Dollars will be increasing to US $1.49 per transaction (compared to the current rate of US $0.99 cents per transaction).

Feedback

Over the last few years we’ve seen genuine efforts on the Lab’s part to try to ease the burden of tier for region holders.

  • In 2016, there was the region buy-down offer, which allowed private region holders to grandfather their regions for a one-time fee. This reduced the monthly cost of Full regions to US $195, and Homestead region to US $95.
    •   As noted above, these regions are excluded from the 15% tier-rate reduction.
  • In March of 2018, the Lab  reduced monthly mainland fees by 10%, while also doubling the amount of tier-free land available to Premium members (from 512 sq metres to 1024 sq metres).
  • (Note I’m excluding the 2011 Land Sale from this list, as it was a long time ago, and something of a different strategy compared to trying to lower tier costs.)

Both of these moves were very positively received by users, and given that requests to reduce tier have long been made, I’ve little doubt this announcement will be equally well-received.

One thing it should do is confirm the Lab is committed to trying to improve Second Life for users – not only in technical terms, but also in making the platform’s revenue generation something that is more evenly spread among all users.

Tyche’s tweet on the relative fall-off in region losses between 2018 and 2017

Even so, this is a bold move, and one that can only be taken to mean that recent moves to pivot some of the revenue generation away from land (e.g. through the transaction fee increases (March 2016, June 2017 and November 2017), possibly coupled with more recent uptake of premium user subscriptions, has given the Lab confidence that they can reasonably offset revenue loss from the tier reduction through other channels.

Certainly, it shows how far things have come since 2013, when it was hard to see any tier reduction not hurting the Lab’s bottom unless alternative revenue sources could be reliably built-up.

With Tyche Shepherd of Grid Survey fame reporting that the rate of decline in private regions continues to ease, it will be interesting to see how this announcement affects the overall interest among those wishing to acquire land of their own, either directly through the Lab or through any of the major land realtor operations in Second Life.

In the meantime, you can read the full text of the Lab’s announcement here.

My thanks to Xiola and Brett Linden for their assistance with this article.

 

SL Pride 2018: a Second Life community event

Courtesy of SL Pride

I’m a little late in getting to this – so my apologies to the organisers.

SL Pride, the event celebrating diversity and focusing on Second Life’s LGBTQ community is currently in progress in-world. Featuring shopping, art, music and dancing, the event will remain open through until 23:00 SLT on Sunday, June 24th, 2018.

The theme for this year’s event is This Is Me, This is Us, a celebration of community, and also of solidarity – at least one of the billboards in the region includes a display commemorating those from the LGBTQ community who lost their lives in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.

SL Pride 2018 shopping, art and entertainment area

A full schedule of entertainment is available on the event website, as a full list of sponsors and participating merchants.   Note that while the entertainment schedule opens in List view, for ease of reference, you can change it to a Day view via the drop-down at the top right of the schedule page.

In addition, the website also supports a Get Social option, which allows people to interact with one another. Those joining it can create extended profiles, upload profile pictures, join an activity stream (similar to Facebook), connect with friends, private message one another, and so on. Click the Get Social! in the website’s menu bar to get started.

SL Pride 2018: park

For 2018, SL Pride is raising money for The Trevor Project. Founded in the United States by Peggy Rajski, Randy Stone and James Lecesne, the creators of the 1994 short film Trevor, the stated goals of the project are to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning  young people ages 13–24, as well as to offer guidance and resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting, and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school.

The Trevor Project offers a number of services, including:

  • The Trevor Lifeline – the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth in America.
  • Ask Trevor – an on-line non-time-sensitive question-and-answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • TrevorChat – a free, confidential, live and secure on-line messaging service.
  • TrevorSpace – an on-line social networking community for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 through 24.
  • Lifeguard Workshop Programme – a school workshop programme using a structured, age-appropriate curriculum to address topics around sexuality, gender identity, the impacts of language and behaviour, and what it means for young people to feel different.
  • The Youth Advisory Council – a liaison between youth nationwide in the United States and the project on issues surrounding suicide, sexuality and gender identity.
  • The Palette Fund Internship Programme – providing five internships for young LGBTQ people at the Project’s Los Angeles and New York City offices.

Donations to the Trevor Project can be made via the kiosks located around the SL Pride region.

SLurl and Links

2018 SL UG updates #25/1: Simulator User Group meeting – Animesh

Cape Florida Lighthouse and Park; Inara Pey, June 2018, on FlickrCape Florida Lighthouse and Parkblog post

The majority of the following notes come from the Simulator User Group meeting of Tuesday, June 19th, 2018.

Sever Deployments

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest information.

  • On Tuesday, June 19th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with server maintenance package 18#18.06.06.516064, previously deployed to the RC channels. This release comprises:
    • Additional work to support localised Abuse Report categories.
    • Improvements to object updates as part of ongoing performance improvements.
    • Removal of the logging of a trivial message.
    • Internal fixes.
  • On Wednesday, June 20th, the release candidate channels should be updated as follows:
    • LeTigre and Magnum should receive server maintenance package 18#18.06.14.516450, comprising internal fixes and logging improvements.
    • BlueSteel should received server release 18#18.06.14.516474, containing server-side support for Animesh.

Animesh Deployment

The deployment of Animesh support to the BlueSteel release candidate channel marks the first phase in testing Animesh on the Main grid. For those not up-to-speed with Animesh, the goal of this project is to provide a means of animating rigged mesh objects using the avatar skeleton, in whole or in part, to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features via scripted animation. It involves both viewer and server-side changes.

The viewer updates required to see / use Animesh are currently only available in a project viewer, and are still undergoing update and improvement. As such, this initial deployment of Animesh should be regarded as experimental, and may see further viewer / server-side changes. TPVs are – as usual with project viewers – encouraged not to adopt the viewer code for Animesh until it reaches release candidate status.

So Animesh will be enabled on BlueSteel. You have to be running the Animesh project viewer and be in one of those regions. Server support for animesh involves adding a new message and some new LSL functions. [The] viewer will go through the usual cycle of RC viewer and then release, [and I] don’t know exact timing yet. We have a content creators meeting on Thursdays. Talking about it today because it’s about to go to part of Agni.

Since it will now be possible to have Animesh content on Agni, that also means you can try to rez it in non-Animesh regions. If you do that, (a) content won’t look right because the server won’t be sending you the appropriate messages, and (b) you’ll get script errors because the region doesn’t like the new LSL calls.

Vir Linden discussing Animesh at the Simulator UG meeting, Tuesday, June 19th.

At the time of writing the Animesh project viewer was at version 5.1.6.516525, dated June 18th, 2018.

As well as TPVs being asked not to adopt the current Animesh viewer code, content creators are being encouraged not to start marketing / selling Animesh items at this point in time.

For the sake of customers, it’s probably NOT a good idea to start offering any products that are no-mod or such on the marketplace. I know there will be really cool things available soon, but with the limited servers and viewers and confusion that will cause, please wait a bit.

Simon Linden on selling Animesh content

Animesh Resources

You can find further information on Animesh via the following resources.

Furthermore, I provide regular updates on the Animesh project via my Content Creation User Group updates, so you can keep up with Animesh development through these.

SL Viewer

The Animesh viewer updates to version 5.1.6.516525, on June 18th. Otherwise the remaining viewers in the current SL pipelines were, at the time of writing, as follows:

  • Current Release version 5.1.5.515811, dated May 31, promoted June 1 – formerly the Love Me Render Release Candidate – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Pálinka Maintenance RC viewer, 5.1.6.516459, dated June 15.
    • 32-bit Windows Unloop RC viewer, version 5.1.6.515965, dated June 5 – specifically for 32-bit Windows users caught in the 64-bit install loop (see here for more). Otherwise, the viewer is functionally identical to release version 5.1.5.515811.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

Environment Enhancement Project

This is a set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Days – the latter comprising multiple Sky and Water) that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.
  • There are no EEP parameters for manipulating the SL wind.

This work involves simulator and viewer changes, and includes some infrastructure updates.  The latter include a new build of the inventory service in order to handle the new windlight assets. At the SUG meeting, Oz indicated this build in now with the Lab’s QA team.

Also, as well as supporting the new EEP, the simulator will provide the old style settings values in the same way it does now for any viewer that lacks support for the new windlight settings objects.

Cloud Move

Not a lot to report, other than Oz indicated there have been some early experiments with placing some some inventory databases  – those supporting Lab staff avatars – into the cloud, and things seem to be working. No end users have heir inventory in the cloud as yet, but when – in time – things do start to expand to include user-related data, it should be completely transparent, with users unable to tell if their inventory is being managed on the back-end by hadrware at the Lab’s data centre or via cloud-based infrastructure.