Transformational Change

This week we discuss the future of virtual worlds, the land problem in Second Life, qarl gives us an update on the SL mesh clothing deformer and more!

This week’s topics include:

Guests:

Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz, formerly Qarl Linden) is visual effects artist, software developer, and interactive designer extraordinaire.

Thank you to our sponsors, Botgirl’s Identity Circus and Pretty Feet!

About Kim/Gianna

Kimberly Winnington (SL: Gianna Borgnine) is the Emmy nominated owner and CEO of Sand Castle Studios, LLC, a company dedicated to helping organizations maximize the full potential of virtual worlds and social media by creating interactive, social, and 3D experiences. For the last 5 years, Kimberly has helped SCS clients stay ahead of the curve and is a respected resource for information on current and developing trends, social media, and immersive experiences.
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12 Responses to Transformational Change

  1. Cathy Foil owner of Pretty Feet says:

    In order to stem the tide of land loss I believe a basic change in the Marketplace website would have to take place. Here are a few approaches.

    LL needs to make land in SL worth hanging on to. One way could be that demos be the only thing that can be delivered. Once you try the demos out and figure out what you want to buy the customer would then have to TP to the store in world in order to buy the item. Yes this be a bit more of a pain for the customer but probably be better for SL over all in the long run.

    The other possibility would to just allow in world shops sell the same items in world at a considerable amount less than they are selling the same item on the Marketplace. By giving a customer the option of buying something they have found on the Marketplace at a discount in world chances of a second sale increases as the customer may see something else they want while there. I haven’t read the Marketplace TOS lately but I know this practice is and most likely still is against the rules.

    I like to hear from Qarl if it is the avatars and the items they are wearing and the scripts in them that is causing most of the lag problems or objects rezzed in world?

    Lastly to everything there is a beginning, middle and end. I am near the end of my involvement with SL. Therefore I won’t be renewing my sponsorship of the Metareality podcast. I will continue to be a regular listener and might even make a comment once and a while. I wish Kimberly, Qarl and Draxtor the best of success.

  2. Tracy Redangel says:

    I don’t think the problem is the price of a full Sim or homestead, but with the land options available from Linden Labs.
    When I was a brand new user, I looked into the options Second Life had for land and it seemed confusing and pitiful. I thought “So I can either live in a cracker box with a $9 a month membership, or I have to pay $1,000 + $300 every month for a huge piece of land?” I think it would make a difference if they offered smaller parcels for purchase directly from LL. Let’s say you want about 1/8 of a sim with 1875 prims for about $50-60 a month.
    Yes, as an experienced user you learn you have lots of land options once you’ve spent some time, trial and error to find a good, reputable landlord/company to rent from. Well you’re at their mercy. If those people ever lose their land, then you’re out of luck even if you’ve paid up your tier weeks in advance. Even in the best situation you may still have to contend with neighbors, some who aren’t always neighborly (you may not want to live next door to a bunch of heavily-scripted farm animals). When you rent smaller parcels, you usually aren’t granted Estate manager rights so you are more limited in what you can do with your land.
    I rent 1/4 of a full sim (about $80-85 USD a month) and the person I rent from is great. But…I have neighbors, so that limits me in how I can design my land. If Linden Labs offered smaller private islands that would be ideal for me.

  3. Sean says:

    I think that the marketplace idea is sort of a silly one as well. Could there be some changes? Sure. I like the idea Cathy mentions of letting in world items sell cheaper. But I am not sure that is the problem. Ii cannot count the number of times that I have walked around a region, thinking how awesome it was and asking myself…How do they afford to keep this open? It is simply very difficult to monetize anything in SL right now. I see a lot of talk about pretty regions leaving, but a lot of those didn’t have the traditional mini mall next door. I don’t think changes to marketplace will help.

    When someone decides they can no longer afford a region in closes, and that will continue. But I have been trying for almost a month now to buy a new full region aftermarket. I have not had any luck. If you go look at the land forum, the recent posts looking to buy outweigh the sales. I am not interested in paying 500 bucks for a region, and a lot of others are not either. I suggest that LL start selling regions that have been reclaimed for the transfer price. I think the free sim weekend proved that people will get them when the barrier to entry is removed. Maybe 90% of them will recycle, but some people will find a business model and sustain it.

    For me land rentals are going very well and I am ready to add a third region. If I didn’t have to pay setup costs and just had to pay a 100 transfer fee I would have already made the purchase. Instead I am waiting to snag a region from someone desperate to sell.

  4. Dil Spitz says:

    marketplace versus inWorld-shopping
    should be imho not the question in any way.
    personal i am fan of both. They have both their pros&cons. For e.g. shopping a new shoes, boat or what ever 3d-articel would always need inWorld inspection cause i need to touch&feel this what a 2d representative on marketplace couldn’t give me (at least atm).
    Mesh plays in nearly the same league in some kind, but due its today beta-state i always take a demos for clothes.
    Sure for traditional thingies the marketplace is a true go&grab and forget it that fast too.
    Soo, roundup it all, i think both have their advantages for customer&merchant&LL:
    - inWorld builds a closer customer-merchant relation and residents sicking longer with LL
    - marketplace is the the ‘fast, easy&fun’-thing, from which LL also get their piece of the cake
    Anyhow, both have imho their legitimacy and loosing one would harm.

  5. Eric says:

    Certain bloggers always demanded that Linden Lab depends less on earnings from land. So that is exactly what happens. People have smaller inworld-shops, some even get rid of them completly and the Lindens compensate the loss with their Marketplace-commission. So it would be interesting how much they actually make from Marketplace. I for example shop a lot more and spend a lot more money since they launched Marketplace. So that is not bad at all. A second reason for the loss of sims is the rl economic crisis. I know a lot of people that had to sell their land or get smaller parcels, because they lost their rl job. They still like SL, but currently they just don´t have the money. That also indicates, that land sales will go up again, once the rl economy gets better. Either way, the reason for the land loss is not that SL is outdated or boring. Long term the strategy for the Lindens needs to be to generate more income from other non-land sources. That is Marketplace, special premium features and new products. I would even suggest to require a premium account for buying land or selling at marketplace or generating own content inworld at all. Once land is a relativly smaller source of income for them, they should cut the tier by at least 50%. For now they could get rid of the set up fee completly already.
    The Lindens want to encourage game development in Second Life. That is exactly the right strategy. But many types of games need a lot of space. And it is just not affortable for an amateur game developer to pay 300 USD per month for a sim that can only host about 20 people without getting too much lag. I even have to pay almost 400 USD per month for a sim (Europeans have to pay VAT).

  6. re. the Deformer: all of the discussion focuses on content creators. Meanwhile the consumers are impatiently tapping their foot and saying “get on with it already!”

  7. Loki says:

    Love the podcast :)

    With regards to virtual Worlds… i think of us like RPG players back in the 70′s and 80′s, a geeky sub culture playing tabletob dice games that everyone else joked at. But as time went on RPG’s became more mainstream due to new tech and media

  8. Loki says:

    Regarding the reasons for Private Island decline. Rather than being just because of marketplace disrupting an age old system (mirroring real world highstreet commerce), has anyone considered it might simply be that Private region owners no longer see the value in owning a region, and that the VALUE of owning a private region should be what Linden Lab address if they are to reverse the decline? But what would you consider a ‘Value’ to owning a private region?

  9. Jo Yardley says:

    I think there may be a few ways to solve some of the problems we’re having in SL at the moment.

    For instance, how about offering people a quarter sim to buy in stead of a full sim.
    By reserving the 3 other quarters for this person and not renting those out to anyone else, you are giving someone the full experience of owning their own area, not being bothered by neighbours, having all the good bits about owning a region but without paying so much.
    Eventually, if you want, you can buy one or more of the other quarters of the region as well.
    This would also help people setting up new projects.
    When I started 1920s Berlin we began by renting tiny parcels on mainland and then expanding every time a neighbour was willing to sell land and when we had enough tenants and traffic to justify expansion.
    By offering people smaller bits of land without forcing them to rent parcels and live with neighbours, you are supporting lots of new projects and sims that may need to start small.
    You are also helping avoid a few sims disappearing because they can un-use a quarter when traffic is not as expected and income dries up.
    So in short; you get a full region but only pay tiers for the quarter(s) you actually use, you can decide to use (and pay) more later or stop using them and thus lower your tier again.

    Another option could be that LL offers special deals.
    How about the ‘starter deal’, where you get a sim for lower tier for the first 3 months.
    This will entice some people to give renting a region a go, make starting new projects easier and once they get going, they may not want to give up on their sim and are willing to pay full tier.
    Or how about a ‘support deal’ where LL gives those sims that are, against all odds, surviving, a tier discount after they have been around for 2 years or more?

    As Marketplace trouble…
    How about ‘forcing’ people to have at least 1 shop in SL before they open a shop on marketplace?
    I think it is a good thing for a shop on marketplace to have at least some inworld representation.
    Sometimes marketplace isn’t working well, sometimes you want to see something before buying it, etc, etc.
    Or even have each item at least represented inworld in a vendor before it is available on marketplace.

  10. Lexi Zelin says:

    From what I’ve seen in the designer side of things as far as having land for your inworld store vs just having a marketplace. It has declined ALOT. When I first started my store, I started on the marketplace cause like duh it’s FREE! But, once I was making decent sales I wanted an inworld store mainly just so I could build my little store and it just made it feel more real to me I guess. As of now I have a full sim paying about $75 a week for it, people do come to the sim and some customers obviously prefer coming to the store and wondering around but all in all most months I’d have to say that most of my sales come from the marketplace. I personally shop on the marketplace, the only time I go to someones actual store is when I’m buying a house or building so I can see it rezzed in world before buying it. But, from what I’ve seen over the past year or so, alot of designers are giving up their main stores because that’s alot of real money your spending a month on a full sim and even if your renting a half sim or a quarter from someone, if your not making the sales to cover it your having to dip into your real life income which can be hard on most. Other store owners have shut down their in worlds stores simply so they can bring more real money into the real world instead of spending that sweet 300+ dollars a month on a sim that no one is even shopping at. So, yeah personally I’d say the marketplace has had a substantial effect on the sims issue. But, on the other hand store owners CAN do things to bring more people to their sim and make it worth the difference they are paying for the month. Like I hold a monthly sale usually and people come flocking in like birds! There are many benefits of having your own land for your store then JUST having a marketplace. I’d never get rid of my sim, probably because I’m a prim whore and I just must must have my adorable little store with all the adorable little stuff in it haha :D

  11. Lexi Zelin says:

    One more thing, we have been offering the deformer mesh in my store as apart of our mesh full perm kits. I obviously get alot of questions about it even with the added info card that we put in there ;) But, does anyone have any idea when the deformer may be rolled out to other viewers like firestorm or the main sl viewers? >.< We mainly are putting them in with our kits to get designers more eager to learn about the deformer mesh capability and to get them ready for WHENEVER LL decides to get up and do something about it -.- I've asked them this question myself with the usually vague non helpful answers given but they hate me very much so I wouldn't expect anything less. :D

    Never the less, Qarl the deformer is a wonderful tool and I think it would really help alot of people stop being so bias about mesh, thinking we all have to be a "certain size" to fit into mesh etc etc and I do hope that LL will do something about it soon cause I know alot of my customers (who are other designers) are very eager and READY to start using the deformer meshes we provide aswell as learn to create rig themselves.:D

  12. Pingback: SL project news: week 5 (1): servers, viewer, deformer | Living in the Modem World

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