UPDATED! Linden Lab Announces a Mix of Good News and Bad News for Second Life Users

This evening, in an official blogpost titled Land Price Reductions, New Premium Perks, and Pricing Changes, Linden Lab announced a variety of changes to Second Life, and there’s a mix of good news and bad news.

GOOD NEWS: The monthly maintenance cost of a full region is going down (but not by a lot).

BAD NEWS: The one-time setup fee for a full region remains at US$349.00. It’s still expensive to buy land from Linden Lab.

GOOD NEWS: If you are a Premium member, the number of groups you can join will be raised from 60 to 70. I have two Premium accounts and I’ve been waiting and hoping for this for a long time!

BAD NEWS: If you are not a Premium member, the number of groups you can join will be lowered from 42 to 35. If you are currently over 35 groups, group membership will not be revoked if you are over the limit, but you will need to go below the new limit before you can join new groups. Frankly, this is going to be a complete pain in the ass, especially for someone like me with alts who are all at the 42-group limit. Not impressed, Linden Lab.

BAD NEWS: The cost of a Premium membership is going up between 26 and 46 percent, depending on whether you pay monthly, quarterly, or annually:

According to the blogpost, Linden Lab is willing to extend current pricing plans by one year if you renew your Premium account between June 3rd and June 24th:

To help with the transition to the new pricing, starting June 3rd, we’re offering a limited-time opportunity for existing Premium members to lock in their current rates for one more billing cycle, including extending an existing monthly to use the current full year rate by upgrading now to annual. Simply renew before June 24th to extend your current Membership at the same low rate. For example, monthly members will be billed at the lower rate for one more monthly billing cycle, while annual members may renew (or monthly users may upgrade to annual) early to add one more year to your existing Membership at the current lower rate.

BAD NEWS: Linden Lab is actually doubling its credit processing fee, which is going to be a blow to content creators who want to cash out:

Effective June 24th, the fee for processing credit transactions (i.e. paying real money into a PayPal or Skrill account) will be 5% per transaction with a minimum fee of US$3 (there is no maximum fee).  The fee is currently 2.5% per transaction.

So in summary, Linden Lab is continuing to shift its income generation away from charging for land, and more towards charging for services. Linden Lab also announced that a new, “super-Premium” account level is coming soon:

Even more improvements to Premium Membership are coming later this year: more new Linden Home themes and options, as well as the introduction of an all-new membership level for those who want to get the absolute most out of their Second Life. Look out for updates to Events and more limit increases as well.

So there you have it.

UPDATE May 30th: Grumpity Linden has posted a point-by-point response to many of the complaints on the Second Life community forums (and other places) about these impending changes. It’s rather long, so I didn’t quote it all here (just follow the link to read it all). Of particular note, she says:

We’re not lowering [group] limits [for non-Premium users] out of spite, groups really are quite a strain on our back end for a variety of painful historical reasons, including overloading group functionality instead of having other tools.  This subject alone is worth a novel liberally sprinkled with tears. So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries. But yes, no big surprise, we do want to nudge active residents to become subscribers, because we think it’s a great value, and – as many have noted – we’re also running a business. But no, we’re not shutting our doors to non-premium residents. Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated.  

Fees to process credit are going up, effective June 24th.  L$ buy fees are not. Yes, this is another step in re-balancing the economy.  It’s also the right step, because the regulatory climate has evolved dramatically since SL first started out, and in order to continue to offer a platform for creators to actually make money, we have a lot of ongoing work to keep up with those regulations. Compliance is generally no fun (shh don’t tell our compliance people I said so – they’re wonderful and actually think it’s fun!) but it keeps all of us in business and the bad guys out. If we weren’t doing this work, we would literally have to stop offering the ability to process credit. 

Look, this is obviously a bitter pill.  We can’t keep slashing land prices at the rate we did last year.  We can’t raise other prices and yet keep everyone happy.  But we sincerely believe this is the best path forward – and hope you will come around too. 

P.S. we haven’t given up on Last Names either.  

Stay tuned for further news and announcements!

UPDATE May 31st: Well, guess what? Linden Lab has listened to us, and they have made the following announcement:

On May 29th, we made an announcement about future changes to Premium and Basic account features including plans to increase Group Memberships and offline IM limits for Premium account holders while reducing them for Basic accounts.

We’ve since heard strong and convincing feedback from many in our community about the impact of changing Group Membership limits for Basic accounts. For example, many Residents have shared how they rely heavily on Groups to stay informed about new product releases as Merchants use this feature to regularly communicate news and updates to their customers, and how much Groups are used for keeping communities active.

We hear your concerns and, as a result, Group Membership limits for Basic Residents will NOT be reduced as part of our Premium Membership changes rolling out on June 24th.

Thank you, Ebbe Altberg and the team at Linden Lab!

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13 thoughts on “UPDATED! Linden Lab Announces a Mix of Good News and Bad News for Second Life Users”

  1. When I saw a link to your post on Reddit, my first reaction was “LL really are trying to kill SL.” With Opensim on feature parity (or better) in every meaningful way, this is not a smart move by the Lab. Of course, shuttering SL has obviously been their long-term goal for so long now that it’s hardly surprising they’d start taking steps to start that ball rolling.

  2. Seems to be mostly a negative update. I see WAY MORE unhappy people than happy people. I kinda feel shafted myself. I don’t own a private region and never will. I cant afford it. This update hurts me more than helps. Theres going to be a lot less people keeping premium. Cheaper to rent from someone who has the money to afford a private region. Rich get richer. Such as life.

  3. Too little too late – They should have lowered A LOT the SIMs tiers, so owners and creators became an live a thriving motor fot the whole users machine – Now th Castle is crumbling down and the peasants are the ones who will pay the bill, but there are not enough or not good fields where is even worth to be a Peasant – Greed and greed and more greed – BYE BYE LINDEN LABS, from here on is a steep curve going down down down – Today is the day when SL really starts to die

  4. I worked in the financial industry and I’m not aware of any regulation that forces companies to raise % on credit transactions. If the staff is implying it’s to prevent money laundering, that’s not how it’s prevented.

    I would like to see the staff cite the regulation(s) they’re claiming that caused the % credit increase.

  5. It’s not “Doom & Gloom!”. This is not the end of SL, it’s making change for a longer existence. As Grumpity mentions, “Good & Bad”.

    For your consideration:

    Let me ask this. How many of you have seen venues come and go? I’m sure it’s the majority of you and have seen hundreds if not thousands. What is the driving force for the SL Economy? I’d say, it’s the events, the venues (clubs), and land owners. Without these wonderful places throughout SL, what would you do, where would you go, and why would you buy anything at all? Land owners of these such things, can barely meet tiers and for the long hours of work they do, dependent upon donations and rentals. Let’s just say, it’s not near enough to pay for what we are responsible for, tiers and staffing. There is a great imbalance. Therefore, we need land reductions so more places can survive.

    It’s the land owners who provide something to the public, who need the most help. Spring Thaw, Summer Fun, is when most people go outside and are not logging into SL. We know this and is also the time in which most places “Go Out of Business”.

    Yet, we all purchase items for our own enjoyment or to share with others. We all do. We all love the designers, clothing, furnishings, décor, they make all of us look good and many of them do more than survive. They pull out significant amounts of real dollars. They are paid for their talents over and over again. In short order, a good designer can make thousands of real dollars every month and get to work from the comforts of their home.

    Process Credit.- A “double” hit, is really not that bad, considering it caps at 5%. The percentages are fair-ish. As long as Linden Lab keeps their commitments to provide us with a stable community.

    If you want your SL to be prosperous, simply enjoy what we are given and be thankful we are here to share our experiences with others. It’s FREE for most of you. Personally, I think, Free is wonderful for those of you who use SL to simply have a good time in and when it’s possible, please consider making donations to your favorite places. The venue owners will be humbly thankful.

    If you like the benefits of the Premium users, then step up and pay for it or simply continue to use the Free Version of Second Life.

    For business owners, I hope you think it’s fair what I’ve posted.

  6. This doesn’t encourage anybody to stick around sl, first of all sl is expensive to have a bento avatar, for hair, skin, body, head, etc we pay about 7000 Ls or more depending, the better, more you pay, I’m very disappointed with sl, lindens are so expensive these days and now you guys are raising credit card fees to get money for sl? Plus you are making premium more expensive, just when I was thinking of possibly go premium. You guys are gonna loose tons of ppl. You want sl to die? You’re on the right track, I have been in sl a bit over 12 and I don’t have to put my money into it. :/ Plus taking away groups, you gave us 42 years ago for non premium and now you take it away? I see more reasons for leaving, and you are turning around and hurting the creators who will have to raise their prices and we will not want to buy. GREED GREED!!! You guys get tons of money, I’d say most of the sl players are NOT rich, so wrong. This is ridiculous! And sansar is boring. People are going to quit sl and it’s gonna die, congratulations, you are ripping people off!! I’m very disappointed this is just getting worse year by year, when you upped Ls for ppl last year or the year before this is so wrong, you are hurting the economy of sl and will turn people who play and those who might away from sl, Hope you are happy! 🙁 Jaide Beck

    1. Someone has to pay for the people paying for free. instead of raising the cost of doing business for the paying customers, LL needs to charge the people logging onto the grid a monthly fee to help pay for the cost to keep Second life running. It is only fair.

  7. Making lindens more money is hurting the buyer and all this stuff you are doing, making credit card transaction more, just what we need… I think people will not want to do this, I will want to quit spending money. :/ Do you guys still care, is this all greed??
    Ps sl could die easily by what you are doing. :/

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