Archive for the ‘Second Life news’ Tag

New World Notes: Interview With Ebbe Altberg   1 comment

Source: New World Notes: Watch: Interview With Ebbe Altberg on the Future of Second Life & Sansar

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(With thanks to Daniel Voyager)

Hamlet Au has written up an interview he’s done with Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab’s CEO, and posted a video of the talk as well.  I’ll leave you to link to the article and read (and watch) it there, but I’ll interject:  it’s my belief we were lucky that the Lab, which was thrashing for direction five years ago, managed to get this man.  There may have been some jokes about the “IKEA CEO (some assembly required),” and I myself did a version of that:

But I think he’s been a godsend to Linden Lab and Second Life, and sounds committed to growing what’s old as well as supporting what’s new (Sansar).  Hopefully we’ll have him for some time to come.

Microsoft Purchase Rumors Potentially Debunked

Instead, it appears that the eminent Mr. Ballmer in Redmond has purchased Vivaty, another virtual world.  Hamlet Au speculates that this might be the source of the rumors which shot through the Plitterverse (that’s both Twitter and Plurk) a few days ago that Microsoft was bidding for the purchase of Linden Lab.

So, it appears that Philip Rosedale’s hair and codpiece are safe from getting emblazoned with a Windows logo, I guess.  Who knows, though?  Steve Ballmer might have made him get a haircut and a suit, finally (grin).

Philip Rosedale to Become a Microserf? Rumors of Microsoft Bidding for Linden Lab

So far, it’s just unconfirmed rumors.  But Daniel Voyager plurked today that Microsoft has made a bid for purchase of Linden Lab, with the rumor apparently being spread by Lab employees.  Tateru Nino is also writing this up as a rumor.

If this becomes truth, how will this work out, becoming another component in Everyone’s Favorite Computer Monopoly?  (It might be a logical thing; after all, we’re already spending Monopoly™ money in world, in a sense.)  Microsoft has done some things right on occasion, mainly in the area of software for businesses (i.e. Office et al.), but it’s done a hell of a lot more wrong — Internet Explorer, at least most of the previous versions to current, many aspects of Windows, and the ever-memorable Bob interface of loathsome history.  They can bring a lot of resources to bear on a problem, which would help pay for much of the development work that Second Life still desperately needs to improve lag and other areas of the experience.  Their management style, however, can be, shall we say, strong?  I doubt that Steve Ballmer is a believer in the concept of a “wholly-owned, independent subsidiary.”

Keep your ears to the ground.

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In a related piece of rumor, Conceivably Tech speculates on indications in the luminiferous æther that Microsoft may also be bidding to acquire…WordPress, the foundation software and host for this blog.

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.)

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