Archive for the ‘Openspace sims’ Tag

Return to Creamshop

Spotted at New World Notes:  this lovely 5-minute machinima of one of the small jewels of the Grid, Creamshop region.  Ham asks, “What feelings go through you when you visit Creamshop?”  To which I would reply, “An appreciation of its beauty, along with a melancholy caused by the ongoing drench of the rain there.”  SAZAE Yoshikawa has designed a jewel that has survived the OpenSpace debacle of 2008.

Linden Policy Change on OpenSpace Price Hike

Those who have been around the Grid since last October will remember the uproar generated when Linden Lab announced with no fanfare that they planned to raise the purchase price on so-called “Openspace” sims.  The price would increase from $250 to $375 — an raise of 1.5 times — and nearly double the monthly maintenance cost, from $75 to $125.  The rationale given at the Big Blog was that these new land areas, which were meant as light-traffic green zones, were being far overused in terms of both traffic and prims.  Protest erupted quickly, and I commented on it in several articles on 10/28, 10/30, 10/31, 10/31 (second article), 11/3, 11/4, 11/4 (second article), 11/5 and 11/8.  (You will find links in these articles to many more.)

When Linden announced it was changing the decision, many were pleased that the Lab seemed to be listening, at least in part, to the affected Residents’ fears and anger.  The planned compromise price restructuring, however, still chased away many who saw themselves as unable to afford the planned increases even on a stepping-stone basis.  Most analysts of the Grid map noted a large falloff in the number of islands.  Linden Lab denied that there was a massive selloff, as reported by New World Notes.

Still, in an announcement on Tuesday in the Big Blog, the Lab has stated that they will lock down the price increase scheduled for July 1 on owners of their new Homestead sims, as long as the land was purchased prior to July 1.  Landowners who abandoned their Openspace regions may have the land reactivated for no charge.  The grandfathering will last for one year, until July 2010.  Anyone purchasing a Homestead on July 1 or later will pay the full price as stated in the November 5, 2008 Big Blog announcement.

Ari Blackthorne in Common¦Sensible suggests that this is a potential move to avoid another land abandonment or selloff, although he also sees it as a potential olive branch.  The comments on the SL Discussions is the usual mixed reaction, a combination of appreciation and sour grapes for various reasons, with a leavening of unrelated posts.  Generally, though, judging by the lack of traffic on the matter, reaction is muted.  It could be early days in the debate, but very little, either of palms or screeds, has been published.  (If I’m wrong, please leave links in the comments below.)  I do wonder if any great notice has been taken of the announcement.

For those interested in owning land in Second Life, the move seems to me a generous one as far as it goes.  Those who stayed in world and were bracing themselves for an economic shock in a month will get at least a year’s relief on the matter, and in their bill.  Former Residents who left for OpenSpaces have the opportunity to rebuild their areas in Second Life at little penalty, other than paying the $20/month boost from what they started out with.  What would be nicer would be a continued freeze on prices if company revenues allow next year.  Hopefully Jack and Mark will consider this as the next year rolls around.

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Running Over Openspace News….

I’ve been busy in the Real World for the past few days, unable to keep up with the in-world news (blame it on Election Day!).  Now I’m trying to catch up on things in the Openspaces flap.

And my chief thought is that I left off, or left obscure, something from my analysis of the Linden policy reevaluation in my previous article.  It’s that I’m willing to trust Linden Lab’s explanation of what was going on in the guts of the void sims that triggered the whole kerfluffle in the first place.  What reason, after all, would the Lab have for jacking rates like this when there are alternatives out there for people to hare off to — as some have done or are threatening to do?  As I’ve pointed out, along with Hypatia Callisto, their original announcement can be explained more simply, and much more satisfactorily, by Hanlon’s Razor than by proposing Machiavellian hypotheses for soaking Residents of money.  In other words, whatever mysterious Linden assigned to write policy announcements has blown it again.  To borrow from Goethe (and the Wikipedia article):  “…misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent.”

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On the other side of the spectrum, Crap Mariner has put up a photo on his Flickr stream, which I discovered when I was stopping by New World Notes.  It’s a rather nice commentary….

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Unless something fresh comes along, I’m planning to shelve Openspace coverage for the time.  I’m just worn out by this one, and I need to write about some fluff for a bit.  I’m headin’ down to the Blarney Stone for a drink….

Linden Lab Revises Planned Openspace Price Change

As promised, Mark Kingdon released an article for the Big Blog today, announcing changes to the planned price increase on the Openspace sims. As you may recall from our last exciting episode, it was originally planned to do a blanket increase on setup and maintenance (“tier”) in January 2009, with the tier rising from $75 USD to $125. The result was quick (if not instantaneous) and substantially explosive. In addition to blog reactions, a substantial Forum thread was started by the Lindens that grew to at least 250 pages, filled with gripes — but also with calmer, thoughtful commentary and suggestions.

The Lindens read, and listened, and considered. Now they’ve answered:

1. We are going to retain the Openspaces product at its original price point and its original intended use (forest, water, etc.). We will have technical limitations to help regulate their use, initially avatar and prim limit restrictions, eventually event, classified and script limits. Those of you who chose to use the Openspaces as intended may stay at the US$75 rate, but will need to contact the concierge team to do so.

2. If you want more than an Openspace, we will offer you the choice of moving to a new product called Homesteads that is intended for light use such as low density rentals. For existing Openspace owners we will phase in the price increase for this new product over the next 6 months. Homesteads will also have technical limits for avatars and prims, and eventually script limits as well.

* January 5, 2009 – non-compliant Openspaces will transition to Homesteads and the maintenance fees will go from $75 to $95 per month. We will offer an educational discount to qualified educators on the new Homestead product. The discount amount will be the same as Private Regions, roughly 30%.

* July 2009 — the maintenance fees for Homesteads will go from $95 to $125 per month.

There is more detail in the FAQ posted at the Knowledge Base, and a new Forum thread for comment.

This has to be looked at carefully, but I’m not sure that it’s a better deal for the ones who will get burned most — the Residents who were obeying the rules. If I follow correctly, the original void sim had an 1875 prim allowance; now they’re planning to drop it to 750 prims, and with script restrictions in the future that may wash out some recreational vehicle use (this is uncertain as of writing). The people staying in the new Homestead sims will eventually still pay the $125; it’s just deferred until July 2009, instead of January. I won’t say this is a bait-and-switch routine, as some posters in the Forums are accusing the Lindens of doing; I’m not a network or other form of technical hardware specialist, and I’m willing to accept their explanations for now. What I do say is that the proposal is imperfect, and needs more consideration by Linden Lab. It sounds as if they are still willing to listen to calm and reasoned debate — the best kind — and something better could be thrashed out yet.

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Other reactions:

  • Hypatia Callisto suggests that the solution is for Linden Lab to allow large communities to rent their own server and divvy up resources within that area.
  • New World Notes is running a poll on the question. At writing, the “dissatisfied and worried” camp is leading, with about 38% of the total; but those satisfied are second at just under 30%. James also writes about the question for GigaOM, noting that a lot of the “contentment” is seasoned with a good bit of grumbling as well.
  • In the category of “contented”: Common Sensible; Crap Mariner; Harper Beresford; Nexeus Fatale.  Not thrilled:  Hotspur Otoole.  Okay but critical:  Raul Crimson.

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New Openspace Statement from Linden Tomorrow

The Big Blog has word from Jack Linden that Mark Kingdon will put up a piece tomorrow on the Openspace flap.

The post will be our response to all of the great feedback you have provided and will include details about how we intend to proceed regarding Openspaces.

I don’t know if this is promising, but it shows that Linden Lab does at least seem to listen to their customers.  Be there, and here, tomorrow!  (However, I’ll probably be posting late on the matter, as I have morning shift RL.)

SL Openspace Controversy — Hamlet Au Interviews Mark Kingdon

Wagner James (Hamlet) Au of New World Notes got an opportunity to sit down with Mark Kingdon, a.k.a. M Linden, the CEO of Linden Lab, and questioned him about the Openspace controversy set off by last week’s announcement.  Read his article here!

The best comment I’ve seen on his article (to this point of writing) is by Hypatia Callisto, who headed her comment with one of the best “scientific laws” ever created, Hanlon’s Razor:  “Never ascribe to conspiracy what you can ascribe to mere stupidity.”  The comment is for those who are certain that Linden Lab is jacking rates to make money preparatory to an IPO, or just to fill company coffers.

Second Life Openspace Crisis — Nothing Fresh to Date

…which is still a little early; at this point, it’s still 8:25 a.m. in California, and I doubt anybody but the system engineers and techs are at work yet at Linden Lab.  So, until then, here’s what fresh blog writing I’ve found.  (I shall attempt to summarize the pieces faithfully, but my own interpretational viewpoint may sneak in.  My apologies in advance, and I’m welcome to comments to clean things up.)

  • Prim Perfect is writing a series on how the hike will affect certain classes that are working within the rule.  They’ve already done pieces on the individual homeowner and a land cooperative group.  Today’s is on a small storeowner; the last will be on a nonprofit working in world.
  • Vint Falken posts a bit of a grinner with a “memo” that she (and I repeat, she, not he) put together in Photoshop.  (Make sure you check Vint’s earlier piece for a 51-blog list of early comments.)
  • Radar Masukami tried out OpenSim briefly some months back.  He’s since gone back in to examine the current state of the alternate art.  His multi-part series on his experience, titled “Moving to Canada,” starts here.  (The title is reminiscent of the threats of many United States residents who said they might bug across the border to Canada if George W. Bush was reelected in 2004.)
  • Caledon is liable to be one area hit severely by the hike, as 20 of their regions are apparently Openspace (according to Total Lunar Eclipse).  Eladrienne Laval writes in A Stroll Through Caledon on a protest ignited (“virtually literally) by the Duchess Primverness.
  • Steelhead, a cousin area to the Caledons, doesn’t have any void sims yet — though they were on the verge of opening one.  Total Lunar and Tensai wrote up their initial take on the situation back on Wednesday; while, returning to Caledon, the Vicereine Kamilah focuses on the current inability to trade your Openspaces back in, and encourages constructive forms of protest to Linden Lab.  (Thanks to Her Grace Eva Bellambi, Duchess of Caledon Loch Avie.)
  • A more personal take from Belmakor Pintens, focusing on the art world and how — if at all — a departure of avatars and Openspaces will affect it.
  • What happens if an Openspace disappears right from under your feet?  Well, this wasn’t quite it, but it’s still good.  (And the question got your attention (grin).)
  • Hypatia Callisto works up the history of Openspace as a series of “massive blunders.”
  • Hamlet Au suggests five vital articles you should read from suggestions and his own research.

More as I discover it. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment, or send them to me at harper.ganesvoort at gmail.com, or pass them on to Vint Falken.  (Preferably both.)

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