Monday, October 4, 2010

oh, what a lack of trust can do for broken-hearted youth

First, Teen SL is slain. Next, word that the older teens are going to be coming to the main adult grid. Next, that the thirteen to fifteen year olds will be coming to the main grid. Finally, today's news that the educational end of SL is being gutted for cash, or simply to reduce the amount of educational interests maintained in and on the grid.

The cycle of virtual life continues?

Rachel Darling said it better:

Let's summarize the big LL events of the past few months:
  1. Layoff of +30% of staff, including Enterprise & Education evangelist/coordinators, and closure all International offices
  2. Layoff of Commerce Director just before a scheduled release of a new online Marketplace
  3. Elimination of the Enterprise business product
  4. Reduction of both premium and standard support to US business hours, outsourcing of helpdesk staffing, increase in wait times for live support to 1/2 hour or more, and handling of tickets to 8+ weeks
  5. Elimination of the Teen Grid, with plans to bring minors to the main grid
  6. Termination of Community Gateways without notice
  7. and now...elimination of discounted pricing for Universities and non-profits, with insufficient notice for budget planning

Since we've also eliminated gamblers and other "unsavories," who exactly do we think is going to be left to pay the tier, exactly?

I see three potential remaining sources of income:
  • People who want to own land in Second Life and are willing to buy up parcels and sims just to decorate; this category would also include people who still admire Second Life and want it to flourish, who view land fees as equivalent to technopatriotism
  • Merchants and fashionistas who want the big sim-wide stores, the big-press fashion shows, and the big several-sims-spanning charity events
  • Estate owners.
How'ver, the problem with this? People who own land in Second Life just to own land won't stick around. The next thing that goes bang will likely make them switch. End of revenue stream.

People who want to support Second Life because it's uber-fantastic? Will either spin off into bitter disappointment, and leave, or become shrill and defensive. If the latter, then eventually their social groups will end up turning away from them; resulting in far less connection for that uber-fantastic thing. They will eventually get disappointed and leave. End of revenue stream.

And estate owners? Estate owners have to rent to people to remain estate owners. What happens when the rent dries up? Sooner or later even the estate owners will leave. End of revenue stream.

And if those revenue streams dry up for the individuals in question, they dry up for the Labs. So, Lindens, if we could ask again--just who do you think will still be in SL a year from now, paying the salaries of your employees?

More as it comes in, I'll keep people posted.

[Edited to add in the SLUniverse thread started by Pathfinder on the topic.]

[Edited several hours later for Maria Korolov's succinct advice to educators.}

No comments: