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Opinions and views regarding diverse topics and happenings in Second Life and its community of netizens, bystanders and passersby

Byproduct

Picture: My former 1/2 open space retreat, RIP 31 Oct 2008

When things once flourishing turn bitter, people tend to naturally hide anything that may indicate decline and deterioration. That seems to be the case with corporations more than regular people, especially when those details are indicators of their own business negative progress or ill-fate. And when negative numbers are a “byproduct” of their own decisions… etc., etc., etc.

The whole SL world knows first hand all the turmoil caused by Linden Labs since mid October 2008, when they announced the new tier prices, and later on with the new land reforms that have made useless, or pretty much useless, the open space sims. The introduction of the new homesteads was supposed to be a happy medium to replaced the former OS and cheer people’s hopes. Yet, it seems it hasn’t turn the way they wanted.

The Lab prouded themselves as being an ever growing mass of virtual real estate, without realizing that growth was but artificial (in some sense) because it relied, to a great extent, on the old OS system –that only accounted for surface extension, but not for valuable assets such as prim count and everything else.

People want and expect a better product if they have to pay a lot more. In the case of new homesteads, going up from US$75 a month to $125 for a lot more restrictions isn’t attractive at all, much less if you consider a reformed OS, that keeps the same price but shrinks in all other aspects, except surface area. So what has been the best the Lab managed to do to avoid going red? Nothing else, but hide the statistic data. As of today, the Second Life Herald  calculates the grid has lost 4846 sims (probably most of them open sims). According to them, that means more than 18% of the world has turned to virtual dust.

January saw only a mid price increase; July will see it in full glory. No doubt the world will keep shrinking in the meantime. Considering a sour RL global economy, does the Lab think they will fair well?

Feudal SL

Am I talking about an RP sim? No. Someone has expressed SL land tenure/ownership and politics are a reflection of feudalism:

A tenant seised of land had sworn homage to the lord from whom he held. In exchange, the lord symbolically delivered the tenant into possession. Thereafter, the tenant owed the lord various services and feudal incidents, and in return the lord was obliged to defend his possession against outsiders to the relationship. Every element of this system maps cleanly onto Second Life. A user swears homage by clicking “I agree” to Linden’s terms and conditions; Linden delivers her into possession by changing an appropriate database entry. She owes tier fees in place of feudal incidents; Linden defends fer possession via software-based access controls.

Keep reading James Grimmelmann (2009, Jan 19). Virtual World Feudalism. The Yale Law Journal, http://yalelawjournal.org/2009/01/19/grimmelmann.html

The profiles

This one was up till 31st December of 2008:

Traits of a Second Life:
-> landless;
-> roamer, wanderer, vagrant, hobo, drifter;
-> low-life.
Are we all like that? Where do that leads to? What can be done about that? Is that pushing us to the same doings of the First Life? Is this Second Life bound to impose such fate by design? Why is the First Life setting limits to the Second one?

Pretty deep, huh? (roll eyes). Now I have some land… Well, I have had land for over 9 months now, and never changed that, blame me. Yet, I still think what it says holds true/through. To be a social being requires no more but being here, in SL. To put yourself into something else, you’ll probably need a piece of real estate. The problem is there’s nothing else from where Linden Labs could earn some living to stay afloat. There are some hobo paradises, there are sandboxes and skyboxes for the creators, there are places for the newbies… yet, I think that doesn’t help you to complete your identity. You can compensate by joining a well established and active group for sure, yet, I still need land to feel I’m here. What would SL be if every free account could include a 512 sq.m. parcel of nontransferable land?