Tag Archives: SL News

Places: a new gateway to your activities in Second Life

Second Life Places Beta Page

Second Life Places Beta Page

On Wednesday, November 11th, the Lab announced a new beta programme – Second Life Places.

In essence this allows region and parcel owners to create a web browsable page for their location(s) in-world where they can be shared through blogs, websites, etc. Included with each page are buttons to allow visitors to the page to launch their viewer and teleport directly to your location (assuming they are Second Life users – if not, they’ll have to sign-up  via the provided link to the main sign-up process).

In order for people to be able to use the Places pages to promote their own locations, certain criteria must be met:

  • You must own the parcel / region in question OR you must be assigned a the group ability to Toggle ‘Show Place in Search’ And Set Category within the group owning the land
  • About Land > Show Place in Search must be checked (recurring fee of L$30 a week).

The announcement itself was – frankly – vague. Whilst explaining the purpose of Places, and the fact it is beta, the blog post itself doesn’t actually provide information on where to find detailed information on the new pages – such as how to get started or even how to view the new pages. While there is a link to a forum post, it also isn’t that much more informative on where to find information for those unsure of how to proceed. This being the case, here are the key links:

A part of the Places page set-up by the Lab for the Innsmouth role-play community

A part of the Places page set-up by the Lab for the Innsmouth role-play community – click image to visit the page

As a quick run-down of the basics, providing you meet the criteria for establishing public Places page(s) for your parcel(s) / region(s) as defined above, you can get started by:

  • Visiting the Places home page – note you may have to log-in to it.
  • Hovering the mouse pointer over your name (top right of the page) and selecting My Places from the displayed drop down  – this will list all of your parcels and regions. You can then select those you wish to edit, and follow the instructions in the Knowledge Base article.
  • Note that A Places page for a parcel can also be “hidden” at any time by unchecking Show Place in Search in the About Land window, while all Places pages for a region, regardless of parcel settings, can be hidden by checking World > Region/Estate > Region >  Block Land Show in Search.

Within the pages are options to embed image slide shows, machinima videos and include social media buttons to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ for those wishing to use them, as well as basic information on the location itself. There is also the ability to include a 360-snaphot banner / hero image, and to include links to the Places pages for locations  / venues within the current location. For example, Loki Eliot’s Escapades Places page includes links to the Places pages for venues with his Escapades island, as shown below.

If you have a location with multiple venues / places to visit, you can create a Places page for it, and then link to the Places pages for each of the venues / places within it - as Loki Eliot has done with Escapades Island (click to go to the Escapades Place page)

If you have a location with multiple venues / places to visit, you can create a Places page for it, and then link to the Places pages for each of the venues / places within it – as Loki Eliot has done with Escapades Island (click to go to the Escapades Place page)

All of which make the pages somewhat flexible. And while they are fairly basic at present, they could evolve into exceptionally useful items and make the L$30 a week search listing fee more than worthwhile.

Note, however that as a beta, capabilities are both limited and subject to bugs. The Lab is welcoming ideas and feature requests, and asks that specific bugs (the linking to places described above is buggy, for example), are reported via JIRA. General feedback and observations should be given via the official forum thread,

I’m not sure how many actually have access to the beta programme, or whether this initial deployment is restricted to those who actually OWN regions. However, I’ve been unable to access those parcels / regions where I have the required group rights as an Estate Manager and the land is listed in Search. Others in a similar position to myself have also reported they cannot view the Places pages for  their regions.  This being the case, and in addition to the screen shots above, here are some Places pages links for those wanting a closer look at things:

Looking at the Second Life 2016 year-end Grid Survey report

The Prim Rig, ANWR Channel

The Prim Rig, ANWR Channel – blog post

On January 2nd, Tyche Shepherd issued her year-end summary on the general size and state of the Second Life main grid.

In all, 2016 has seen a slightly larger loss of private regions compared to 2015: 992 private regions (Full and Homestead) removed from the main grid in 2016 compared to 825 the previous year. This represents a reduction of some 5.6% over 4.4% for 2015. In terms of grid size, the loss of private regions was slightly mitigated by an increase in Linden owned regions, leaving the grid with a net shrinkage of 884 regions overall for 2016.

Taking the year-on-year figures from 2010 onwards (that being the last year the grid exhibited a growth in the number of regions), we get the following breakdown for private regions:

2010 2011 2012 2013
2014
2015 2016
24,483 23,857 20,994 19,273
 18,600
17,775 16,738
Increase
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
Loss
%age
810 3% 626 2.56% 2863 12% 1719 8.2% 673 3.5% 825 4.4% 992 5.6%

While the loss is something of an acceleration over 2015 and 2014, it is still not as drastic as the declines in private regions seen in 2012 and 2013 . Nevertheless, it does indicate a further drop in approximate gross monthly revenues for the Lab. Working on the basis of Tyche Full Private Region surveys I have to hand, a breakdown of recent monthly revenue from private regions can be given as:

  • November 2013: US$3,857,000 (+/- US $52,000)
  • March 2016: $3,385,000 ( +/- US $43,000)
  • December 2016: US$3,162,000 (+/- US $39,000)

This represents around an 18% drop in monthly revenues over a three-year period. While uncomfortable, it’s not outright alarming at this point in time, representing an average loss of about US $19,305.55 per month, compared to the staggering US $63,500 (approx) per month loss the Lab experienced in  2012.

Of course, a loss is still a loss, and sooner or later, continuing revenue decline will have an a visible impact. But it is hard to determine when that might actually be. The surface evidence seems to be that at this point in time, while of concern, the decline isn’t adversely affecting the Lab’s ability to do business. They are still continuing to invest in both Second Life and Sansar, including recruiting for positions working on both. While it is hard to be precise, a reasonable estimation suggests that the company is generating around US $49 million in revenue through Second Life. While we don’t know how much of that is bankable as profit, it’s still a tidy sum in terms of operating revenue for a company of LL’s size.

Some have raised concerns over how much of an impact Sansar will have on SL’s landmass in 2017. I actually don’t think it will. While I anticipate the decline in land will continue (but hopefully at a slower rate than 2016), I simply don’t think Sansar will have any immediate impact on Second Life one way or the other. Not in its first year, at least.

To me, the more interesting question is what can LL do to further offset revenue drops incurred by region losses (and sadly, the answer isn’t simply to reduce tier: that could actually do far more harm than good, given the amounts involved). The Horizons initiative, for example, is one way of spawning additional revenue. We’re now around half-way through that process, and I estimate the Lab has generated around US $45,000 from it thus far. 2016 also saw the private region buy-down offer, which appeared to be enthusiastically received, although numbers are far harder to ascertain on that. Are we liable to see further initiatives in 2017? I’d actually be very surprised if we didn’t.

Private estate numbers ups-and-downs in 2016

Private estate numbers ups-and-downs in 2016

Related Links

The all new (new) portal parks open in Second Life

Back in October 2016, Linden Lab blogged about various updates to Second Life (see here). One of the updates mentioned concerned the new two-region Portal Parks, which I wenet on to write about in a little more depth (see here).

Well – guess what? It’s all changed again!

“We made everything fit into one region again,” Naughty Mole told me as I dropped into one of the new Portal Park regions on the suggestion of Dee Linden. “These will be replacing the 2-region ones, which will be gone in a few hours.”

There is something distinctly Tolkienesque about the new parks, which offer a very compact design. At the centre is a huge tree, rooted in a massive crystal, which itself hovers gently in the air, light rising in twists and spirals around it from the glimmering water below.

Around this is a circular pathway, sitting between the rim of the pool and the great walls of an all-encompassing dome, ageist which great statues and pillars stand, feet garlanded in flowers and plants, the walls behind them set with growing ivy while crystals light the scene. Within these walls are set great doors. Some are closed, their lintels guarded by ancient runes – representing destinations still to come. Others are open, offering walkways to waiting portals, the destination displayed in glowing letters above the runes which might otherwise guard them.

All of the current Lab-provided destinations are represented: Gaming Island, Halloween Haunted, Horizons, Isle of View, Linden Realms, PaleoQuest, The Cornfield and Winter Wonderland. However, if any are not currently open to the public, their teleport portals are sealed and inactive.

Of the various portal parks designs, this is both the most compact – and potentially the best looking. A landing point built out over the central well present people with a place to sit and a map of the available portals on the surrounding walkway. Admittedly, this started to get a little crowded as people were diverted from the “old” parks – but things will hopefully settle down as both of the portal parks come into use.

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Lab adjusts billing and trading limits in Second Life

secondlifeOn Tuesday, December 13th, Linden Lab announced updates to the caps placed on trading volumes across the LindeX which are designed to help prevent fraud.

The announcement reads in full:

Many Residents participate in the LindeX® exchange – trading L$ and contributing to the Second Life economy on a regular basis. As part of our commitment to prevent fraud and comply with applicable regulations, there are limitations in place that cap the trading volume for each Resident’s account at certain tiers.

We have recently reviewed and adjusted these tier limits to better accommodate the needs of Second Life Residents. For most, these changes will be beneficial, and you can review the details of your current trading limits by logging into your account and visiting your order history.

If you find that you need higher limits, you can request a tier limit review through our support system. Simply submit a ticket –> Billing –> LindeX Billing and Trading Limits Review Request (for basic accounts) or  Billing and L$ -> LindeX Tier Review ticket options (for premium accounts).

Happy trading!