Name Changes: $40 per change(?), some thoughts and a poll

Name Changes  – the ability for Premium members to change their first and last names, with the first name being free-form, and the last being selected from a list – is due to be launched around January / February 2020.

As has been previously announced, Name Changes will be offered for a US dollars fee, and there has been some speculation over the last couple of months as to the the size of that fee (one prominent rumour surfaced at some User Group meetings has claimed the fee will be US $20.00, for example – see here).

However, with the announcement of the Name Changes contest (see Name Changes Contest is Upon Us! from Linden Lab and my own blog post Linden Lab launches SL Name Changes contest), we now have a prominent indicator as to what the fee will likely be, and it comes to us via the contest rules:

5. PRIZE.

A. Description of Prizes. One free Last Names change (estimated value at US$39.99 plus $11.99 to represent the value of a month of Premium Membership) on an account of Winner’s choice.

B. Estimated Total Prize package value: US$51.98. Exact value dependent on account status.

(Emphasis mine.)

Of course, the fee still has yet to be finally confirmed, but it’s fairly safe to assume that it is likely to be the  $39.99¹ mentioned in the contest rules. This raises some interesting thoughts about the capability and its potential uptake.

On the one hand, a fee is to be expected, if for no other reason that that re-introduction of names changes has required extensive changes to many of the back-end systems and services that support Second Life (hence the time taken for the capability to be introduced). Also, given the impact of making a name change will have an extensive impact on those systems, the Lab needs to limit how frequently such changes might be made to avoid unintended impact.

There’s also the the fact that in order to meet demands from users for the Lab to reduce land tier (which they’ve tried to address over the last few years through the likes of the 2016 buy-down offer and the reductions to mainland (March 2018) and private region (June 2018) tier), there need to be ways in which the revenue can be made up (see Thoughts on Second Life fees, tier and revenue ) and Name Changes is one more option by which this might – in time – be achieved.

BUT … the potential for revenue generation needs to be balanced against the level of the fee: if it is set too high (and leaving aside the inevitable shouts about “gouging”, etc., from some quarters), then it could be self-defeating. Simply put: if users feel the fee is too high, they’re not going to run with it, particularly given Display Names will remain available. As such, there is something of a risk that Name Changes may take a good deal of time to recoup the costs of implementation – if it can.

There’s also the overall level of interest in the capability: while a lot of noise was made following the removal of last names in favour of “Resident”, the fact is that those who have been around long enough to have a last name (like myself) may well be so attached to it, so changing it may hold little interest. Even those partnering or with the “Resident” last name might prefer to stay with using Display Names rather than forking out for a Name Change.

Time will tell on both of these latter points – and there will likely be much debate on the fee as well as the capability in general. As such, I thought I’d try a straw poll of feedback on the subject from readers – make sure you vote in each box; once for interest, the other for the fee.

Update, December 28th: this poll is now closed.

Related Articles

  1. Note that Linden Lab has indicated the fee will be lower for Premium Plus once it has been launched. However, Premium Plus pricing has yet to be confirmed, and the option will not be launched until some time after the release of Name Changes.

13 thoughts on “Name Changes: $40 per change(?), some thoughts and a poll

  1. Absolutely taking the pee, I could get a decent game with high end graphics and enjoy myself for 40$

    Like

  2. If $40 got you a new UUID and complete anonymity in the change process, then I could see it. $40 to start fresh and not have to buy everything all over again is something to consider. But given it’s current implementation where your name change can be traceable, the price is way too high. Most game systems only charge around $10-15 for this if available.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am upset by the fact that we can’t use a retired last name. I have 2 kids named Neenityran and Keanantyran. My name is Mysti Tyran. I can’t name my kids Neeni Tyran and Keanan Tyran. Why? I’m willing to pay for the change in each child but only if they can have MY last name. This makes no sense to me to do it any other way.

    Like

    1. You could do this, you can change First and Last…. so Tyran being the classic last name and you can change first name to Neeni and Keanan! $80 is a bit extreme for it though!

      Like

      1. Previously-used last names will not be recycled as part of any last name list offering, unfortunately.

        Also, the fee changed will be for a first name change OR a last name change OR a first name AND last name change – so where a last name is available and is one a person wishes to use alongside any change they make to their first name, the fee will be $40 for the change, not $80.

        Like

  4. I agree with @Neobokrug: if they give us an initial free name change then $40 is reasonable to change it thereafter. However, given that they already raised our premium membership … yes, I’m one of the people who feel gouged …. telling us now to add $40 to change out names just heightens that feeling. Again, those of us who are premium, but don’t own nor want to own our own land have paid for the land tier price drops others are enjoying. Give us this boon and then take your pound of flesh if we want to change.

    Like

  5. I’ve often wondered what was the point of forcing the choice of a last name from those available from a list. No other game that I’ve seen feels compelled to do this. Some may offer suggested names but they are only suggestions and can be overridden.

    I also think the $40 is too high, but whatever they choose for the price they should offer it also to non-premium members. Unless they think allowing a name change would convince some to go premium? I doubt it would be many, if any, and I’d think they would get more interest and income without requiring a premium account.

    Like

    1. I don’t think the fee is to encourage people to go Premium so much as it is, as noted, to meet the costs of updates to services & maybe help generate a small additional revenue stream in the future – but mostly to dissuade people from making frequent changes.

      Again as noted, Name Changes touch a lot (all?) of the services associated with SL in terms of updates, many of which then have to propagate out – and because of the importance of the information, are likely given a high priority. So the fee (and limiting the option to a Premium option) helps to moderate the frequency of changes people make and the volume of changes that might be going through the assorted systems and services at any given time.

      Like

  6. the only reason i would use the feature woudd be to change my name to match my partner’s. And if they say they will not allow the old ones ( which my partner has ) then it has absolutely no use for me. How come nobody really considered changing second names to your partners as a feature?

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.