Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Linden Lab giveth and taketh away - Developing an exit strategy

Dear fantastic content creators/members of the Not Possible IRL and Impossible IRL groups:

I know many of you are exhausted, angry and disheartened. As recent events have demonstrated again, and given that many of you feel that we have come to depend on Linden Lab to act unreasonably, I want to encourage you to begin developing an intelligent exit strategy, but please don't forget to stay in touch with the contacts you have carefully forged over the years. We want to stay in touch with you.

Based on many conversations I have had with leading content creators, it is no longer a matter of whether they are going to continue making virtual content, so the real questions they are asking themselves are 1) Do I liquidate my assets in Second Life® or just leave them on the lowest maintenance program possible? 2) Where will I go? and 3) What will I do when I get there? 4) Who will I collaborate with?

Wherever you go, we want to know. Let's be sure to leave our incredible community intact.

Leaving Second Life - Be sure to stay in touch

I would like to keep track of you if and when you leave Second Life®. To that end, I have created a dedicated email address and would appreciate it if you would write to it and let us know how best to reach you moving forward: LeavingSecondLife@gmail.com.

Even if we already have your email address, please do write in and give us an inkling of what you are up to.

Be sure to put your Second Life name in the subject of the email, and let us know where you are hanging out/what your name is in other virtual worlds. We will keep this email address open indefinitely.

What are our best options, moving forward?

I would like to hear your ideas on this. Please write to me at Bettinatizzy@gmail.com.


Ari Blackthorne™ said...

Rhetoric. You know as well as I do no one is going to leave Second Life. Well, maybe the disposable alt accounts will make it LOOK like some are leaving. But in truth you knows as well and I do and as well as the Lindens do - it wonb't happen.

However, I do applaud you on dramatics. It's very good. Lindens will see it. They might even take your words to heart. But we all know, as a company and carefully thought-out strategy, it's about the people who come after us. Not us.

We (example: you) are just whiners. It would save LL on asperin if the 'established' population leave and those that just don't know any better stay.

This is all just a repeat of the sim price/tier increase of 2007. A lot of people whined and even sounded quite shrill about it.

Thank you for not sounding shrill. In fact, for the alarmism message, you actually present it quite calmly and smooth and I respect and salute you for that.

I for one am happy for this change, and yes - I do own two void sims. This change should help in the performance they suffer sometimes and bring the land subeconomy back up a bit from the depression it suffers now.

Allowing the void sims to be sold as they are right now was a mistake on LL's part in my opinion.

Oh, and when you "established" creators and designers go, you'll be leaving less competition and even more opportunity for those up-and-comers.

Said all that to say this: Yes, being so mellodramatic get's readers and more readers brings good numbers and popularity. We all love to read mellodramatic, including myself.

Thank you for being mellodramatic and making it clear that it is your intent. The new email address is a very nice touch, indeed.

Very entertaining. :)

Todd said...

Please consider OpenLife Grid http://openlifegrid.com

It is one of the closest opensim developments to be usable and closer to completion than the others... It will have a working economy in the next couple of weeks.

They sell entire mainland regions for $59/mo with marginal setup fee..

Each region supports 45,000 prims (yes 45 THOUSAND)

Each region supports regular prims to 100m

Each region supports regular building up to 4096 meters...

There are currently 35,000 registerd users and over 300 active regions.

There are brand new personal clusters that have a setup of about $500 and monthly fees of $235 (I think) that are 4 regions controlled together..
(180,000 prims at your disposal)

and one of the nicest crews and admins around.

Steve Sima (Sakai) has invested a personal fortune in the backbone of this system. Every server is equivalent to what Lindens call a "Class 5" and he has a access to a server farm in San Diego that has room for 1,000s of region servers. He is also making alliances with 2-3 other 3D development companies to add features to OpenLife that SecondLife people have never seen before.

Please come check us out and make us part of your decision!

Merry Gynoid said...

There are many new virtual worlds that will start giving the Lindens a run for their money, Twinity, Liveley and Just Leap In come to mind straight away, these three will certainly have content creation built in just like SL.

If a company starts pi**ing off it's customers they will go elsewhere. Up to now they have been the only fish in the sea, now there are others. Go look.

Bettina Tizzy said...

We just need to consider our options and plan accordingly, ari.

Our content creators make a huge investment of their time and talents wherever they are.

Thanks for the great info, Connected Worlds. Maybe it would be good to set up a tour.

You are right, Merry... those and more. Real options are becoming available this year, when they weren't one year ago.

Anonymous said...


your grid appears to be accessible by clients that only run on windows. that's not gonna help a lot of us. actually, that's nothing but a turn off to me.

secondly, it claims the name i use on my avatar in sl is already taken. understandable that this will happen, but it's something that eventually as worlds interconnect will need solving. avatar identity is going to have to be portable.

for these reasons, right now your metaversion seems pretty remote from here.

Todd said...

@radarm: are you sure you haven't logged in before?

You can use any of the SL clients with OpenLifeGrid for now. Mac and Linux viewers are on the way and you can also use Hippo's viewer. I think that has both Linux and Mac versions?

Unknown said...

Any business faced with a critical supplier with a track record of random, capricious business decisions and artificial manipulation of the supply of its product has an *obligation* to develop a strategy that doesn't depend on them.

The community of Extropia is conducting an extensive review of its options, now and projected over the next year.

We intend to be a digital-worlds presence for a long time to come. There are any number of possible, even likely, policies that LL might institute that would make our dependence on them unprofitable, unacceptable or outright impossible.

Failure to plan for those contingencies would be irresponsible to our investors, our residents and our guests.

LL may have set a low bar for customer relations, but we have no desire to match them. We'll be keeping the community informed as things develop.

Anonymous said...


ok, for some reason the page wasn't clear about the clients. i didn't see mention of the SL viewer. i'll happily admit to being blind, but the site could use some clean up.

regarding the login, it's possible, but the option to retrieve login by email address doesn't work. and if i did log in before, i know which email i used but not for sure what login name. i see the reasoning behind having separate account names and avatar names, but frankly it's just more data to store somewhere.

Hern Worsley said...

Its true many of the opensim grids are still lacking in comparison to SL but what they most need is for people to start populating them then they will have the capital to make the kind of improvements needed.Wether or not any of them will be run better than LL run SL is totally unknown ofcourse.

However LL are just too scary an organisation to rely on in any way shape or form and the direction they seem to be taking things is highly questionable.

Im definately looking at other grids for the first time seriously today because of this latest move by LL so to call it dramatics on Bettina's part is wide of the mark on your part Ari the fact is she has hit the nail bang on the head for me. Anyone with any kind of nouse will always keep thier options open. Am i abandoning SL? ofcourse not but i no longer have the faith i once did in LL and if i find a better grid i will move to it happily.

Jo said...

OpenSim needs a lot more than people to make it compare to Second Life. It's no where near ready for the sort of enterprise deployment that Second Life has. And talk about being a hacker's paradise! If you want to do MMO, Second Life is the only game in town.
Ari is right. Every time Linden Lab does anything the residents go all up and arms and claim it's the end of the world. Nothing changes. Neither the environment, or the resident's reactions. Just wait. This, too, shall pass.

Anonymous said...

I think that Bettina has summarized the current situation of absolute distrust and disappointment of many SL residents very clearly. Some have already left SL due to the changed policies on void sims. Others have just downsized their ventures as far as possible until they have considered their options. I appreciate the way a lot of people are finally coming together and standing up against LL for a common cause. I believe that this is a step towards forming a community that can exist and identify independently, meaning that it doesn't matter which platform it uses. One day it might be possible that this community dictates the way it wants to run it's "virtual/second life" to the companies providing the resources. Still an Utopia perhaps at this point but a possible future nonetheless.

Bettina Tizzy said...

@sophrosyne: Please keep us posted on all Extropia adventures and discoveries! I'd be delighted to publish your early reports.

@hern! With content creators of your calliber spending time at some of these new worlds, the sky is the limit. I've only just started looking (Openlife so far) but welcome your good insight and tips. In fact, I'd love to go exploring with you sometime soon.

@jo: No. Actually, this time I think LL really has gone too far. On the plus side for Linden Lab, now that it is losing the interest and support of its greatest content creators, it will have more land and leverage to create all those dull and useless spaces! YEA for dull! AND THEN they can promote them in their ever-useful SHOWCASE! YAY!

@casetomorrow: I have said it before and I will say it again. Content creators, UNITE! We don't need to submit to one corporate master anymore. In fact, now more than ever before, we can build our world(s), our dream(s), and we don't have to depend on SL to do it.

Corcosman said...

Well, to be fair, Bettina has not presented this as a melodramatic situation, there is no call to abandon ship or "Log Off! Now!" to quote the CSI screenwriters.

As has been pointed out in the comments, this is another example of the Lab veering drastically on land policy. It has happened before, it seems likely it will happen again. It's the nature of the beast.

As virtual worlds become more numerous, it may be prudent to take a look at what is available. Exploring or even maintaining a presence in a number of locations does not mean a total abandonment of presence in SL.

Bettina is just saying, for her, it's time to take a look at some available alternatives.

As a very casual Resident of SL, I rely on explorers like Bettina, Sophrosyne and Fleep Tuque for objective reporting of what is "out there", both in Second Life and on other platforms. For me, they are trustworthy sources of information.

Unknown said...

the other very viable option is to host our own sims and venture out to other grids or invite friends in as and when we choose. For me this is looking like the best choice so far and with a like minded bunch of friends it needn't be so lonely as standalone sims once were. We can perhaps create our own connected grid? Utopian thoughts, yes :) so many RL issues to deal with yet.

Todd said...

@kumi - do you have the bandwith to do this? it requires a large amount of upstream bandwith to run a region. Most DSL and Cable systems have a decent download speed, but not upload.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that LL is also working on opensourcing the servercode, and don't also forget that they are working on teleporting to Opensim, so what kumi is saying will soon be possible. LL has something in their minds and we can only guess what it is, but definitely it won't run itself down. They know why they are here and what they are all about.

Everything seems loom and gloom, and it is certainly bad timing, and the emotional aspect that their decision creates makes it a really bad thing.

And true, there are other VWs out there making a "run for their money", but remember also that if not for SL, when will we have a virtual world like it? If not for SL, would Openlife, Twinity and such follow? They are learning from LL's mistakes. There may be other VWs prior to SL, but Linden was the one able to make SL and showed through us the residents what is possible, only others followed.

Unknown said...

For those interested in other virtual worlds a look at this Youtube video will provide a quick glimpse at some of the others.


It provides a fairly good overview of the current scene though the producer didn't highlight the strengths of each or find the most interesting areas within each to present. Still a great overview and stepping off point for further exploration.

As far as Linden Labs creating the modern user generated world they are far from the first. Both Worlds.com and Active Worlds entered the market in the mid 90s (1995 for Active Worlds) and one can visit Active Worlds today and see builds from 1995 that look very much like current SL builds.

Additionally graphical 3D worlds owe a great deal to the MOOs and MUDs of the text based era where users were able to create text based descriptions of scenes and items and then others could explore by 'looking' in different directions, walking, and 'looking at' things. These text based universes were multiuser so of course chatting and group interaction was as rich and interesting as todays graphical synthetic worlds.

Second Life may have been the first to gain widespread name recognition but the majority of their concepts were taken from the true pioneers that came well before them.