Today a special announcement was posted to the official Second Life community forums, which included a list of 15 new features and improvements to SL. A few of these caught my eye, and I wanted to share them with you.
First, and as Jo Yardley already reported, last names are finally coming back after a seven-year absence! The actual text of the announcement says:
You’ve asked for it (a lot!), so we will provide a way to customize your last name in Second Life! More details will be available later this year.
How this will work is anybody’s guess. But people have been asking for Linden Lab to bring back avatar last names for years, and it looks like they are finally going to listen. So if you’re tired of having the last name Resident, it looks like you’ll be able to change it sometime this year. Good news!
Second, it looks as though Linden Lab wants to make some adjustments to the way they collect money, depending less on the cost of virtual land and more on other fees:
Currently, Land costs can be quite high, and make up a lopsided portion of our Second Life revenues. To improve this imbalance, we plan to increase revenues in other ways so that we can lower land costs further. In order to avoid shocks to the in-world economy and to take care that we keep the business healthy, we plan to make these changes in a measured way, taking time to assess the impacts of each change as we go.
Last week, we announced that we have lowered the cost of Mainland by over 10 percent and doubled the Mainland tier allocation for Premium members. In the coming months some other fees may increase, including Marketplace commissions, Linden Dollar exchange fees, and cashout fees.
I’d better go buy a whack of Linden dollars before they raise the exchange fees! And I’m sure that some vendors will not be pleased with the news of increased commissions.
Finally, they said that they were considering having various premium subscription levels, instead of just one level like they currently do:
In addition, we will soon announce new tiered Premium membership offerings that allow Residents to choose the membership level that provides the benefits most important to them.
This sounds interesting, and similar to what Linden Lab is already offering with the various Sansar creator subscription levels.
I’m looking forward to the 15th anniversary celebrations that will happen this year, and to all the new developments that are taking place in Second Life!