Wednesday, November 5, 2008

but all the details of this war are just self-infatuation

The latest bit of insanity on the OpenSpace controversy.

Hitler explains Second Life.

Miss Hypatia Callisto shares her opinion of the announcement on her blog.

And Miss Ordinal Malaprop weighs in with her understanding of the issue. (It's based on M. Linden's latest post in the SL blog.)

Why do I have problems with this?

I've been trying to explain this to one of my loves, and we're very carefully trying not to argue about it. Tempers are friable around Caledon and parts of the rest of the grid, as well.

But let me see if I can lay this out reasonably:


(If you have problems reading this, do pull up the full-size version, but it's just a screen cap of the relevant FAQ quoted at the start of this entry.)

All three of the new 'official' sims retain the same size. Setup fees seem as reasonable as they ever did. But that's where all semblance, in my mind, of reason and rationality stop.

Prims on the newly reconfigured "OpenSpace" class sims: 750. Hard avatar limit: 10. Plus script limitations to be determined. Total monthly fee: US$75.

Prims on the newly created "Homestead" class sims: 3750. Hard avatar limit: 20. Script limitations also to be determined. Total monthly fee: US$95 (to be raised to US$125 in July of 2009).

To me, this means, effectively, they've found a way to charge more money, and institute hard limits, the worst of both plans. Not only that, but as far as I can tell, there's now zero reason to own an OpenSpace sim.

Why? All right, think this through. Yes, the OpenSpace class of sim was never intended for high-script use, high prim counts, major structures, residential or commercial operations. We knew that from the start, though admittedly, many of us (me included) thought the Labs had changed their policies when they raised the prim count on OpenSpace sims from 1500 to 3750. That was our bad, we get it now.

But, therein lies the problem: if OpenSpace sims are now held to that restriction of ten avatars maximum, 750 prims only...why would anyone want to own one?

I can't see any possible use. I just can't. As "barrier" sims around a full region, to create water spaces, to create mountain regions, whatever--why wouldn't you pay the extra and convert up to a Homestead?

Why? Think about it. While I have attended events with upwards of 90 people in the past, those are rare. Most events clock in with 30 or less, and really, we're talking most come in on the 12-to-18 range.

12 to 18 avatars fits nicely in the 20-avatar hard limit of the Homestead class. This allows for living, small parties, small dances, most meetings, most social interactions on a day-to-day level.

But the new limit on OpenSpace sims? Unreasonable. Unreasonable and unworkable. Follow:

* a traveling party of a couple that started walking sim to sim, gathering friends along their way from Sim A to Sim B, would be stopped dead at the border to an OpenSpace sim if they should happen to have 11 people in their party; or have to stop, and slowly filter across 2 to 3 avatars at a time.

* Running a regatta race, or other sailing event: no OpenSpace sim would support more than five two-crew sailboats.

* Declaring an ironclad battle: disregarding crew in the least, and just counting one captain per iron ship: even just getting to the site of the water for the battle, based on the ship size, the scripting involved, and the like, they would have to filter across one ship at a time, wait until it's completely through the region, then send the next ship in and through.

Am I making any sense? This seems so clear to me: Linden Labs have just created a product they do not want anyone to buy. This seems profoundly anti-capitalism, unless what they're truly trying to do is to make everyone sigh, roll their eyes, and say, "Okaaaay, fiiine, I'll buy the Homestead class sim instead". The proposed new restrictions along with the reclassifications of both OpenSpace and Homestead class sims lead me to the inescapable conclusion: they don't want any more OpenSpace sims than they already have. They would much rather everyone convert up to Homestead sims, or even better, full regions.

Am I wrong? Am I not seeing it clearly? Because now we're not talking possible conspiracies and 'bait and switch' practices (which, to be fair, I never believed existed anyway), we're talking the blatant reconfiguration of an existing product to make it less useable, less functional, and to unerringly steer purchasers to a higher, more useable product.

At this time next year, are we going to see the announcement that OpenSpace sims are being phased out, to be replaced solely by Homestead class sims and full regions? Bet me. Bet me we see it.


Christine McAllister Pearse said...

I don't think it will even take a year.

Emilly Orr said...

Essentially, it strikes me as: Hey! We found a new way for you to give us money! Keen, we'll have three thousand! Whoa, that many? Um...we didn't really think this about a hefty raise in price? about you institute some changes on your side, before you gouge us for cash? Hey, that is a great idea--okay, we're going to make those hardware changes you suggested, and gouge you for cash! Thanks for your input! What?

And it really feels like, rather than be somewhat rational and just pull new OpenSpaces from being sold, they're trying to make it as unpalateable as possible for anyone to get new ones, and make sure everyone knows that if they don't contact a concierge now, they won't have an OpenSpace sim anyway--everything they have is being "upgraded" to Homestead class sims.

I don't think it's entirely unexpected, even--because people who bought OpenSpaces were using them within set limits, until the Labs raised the prim allotments from 1500 to 3750. At that point, many of us--those who owned existing OpenSpaces, those who wanted to, and those who never had--thought blindly that the Labs had the ability to support more performance for OpenSpace sims. I remember Des making one of his announcements in ISC Chat, even--it was a big deal, Caledon landowners were excited.

And now we're here. Ten avatar hard limit. 750 prims. Because they didn't think the deal through.