Linden Lab Raising Tier on Openspace Property

I keep wanting to do another fashion article; when I get to the keyboard, a fresh piece of real news presents itself….

More (real) bucks for the bang

More (real) bucks for the bang

In an article on the Big Blog yesterday, Jack Linden announced that the policy and pricing structure on “Openspace” sims — mini-regions which are divided into four smaller regions, and intended for “light” use — is going to nearly double starting January 1.  The tier (maintenance) price will rise from US$75 to US$125 per month, and the up-front cost will go from US$250 to US$375.  That’s real, hard U. S. dollars, not lindens.  The reasons given by Jack, according to the announcement, are:

More after the break….

…Unfortunately most of the Openspaces are being used for much more than light use.  Based on analysis performed in August and September, Openspaces are being used about twice as much as we expected, in other words being loaded with double the content/avatar load than we’d expect for a region that is supposed to be light use.

Rather than being employed as open areas like ocean with little or no content and traffic, the majority are being rented out to residents looking for a place to live. Because they were never intended for that level of load this is causing problems. For some people this has meant a less than great experience with performance fluctuations. The overuse of Openspaces has also put additional strain on some of our network and database infrastructure at a much higher ratio than is reflected in the current pricing. So higher traffic to and from the servers along with heavier demands on the asset server, both of which impact the overall experience people have inworld.

The notice given before the changes take effect — approximately 60 days — is reasonable for anyone who regularly reads the Linden blog (and if you don’t, you should).  The economic impact, though, will not be, at least on the people who have played by the rules and kept their Openspace property within intended rules.  What was intended, presumably, as a way to encourage greenland/parkland areas for land owners is being used by some as fresh housing land, or for other prim-intensive reasons .  The Knowledge Base states right at the top:

For those estate owners wishing to provide empty areas such as water, hills and forest — we offer Openspaces, light use regions sometimes referred to as voids.  [Italics are mine.]

Subdividing a region into four smaller “regions” also divides the amount of server resources available to each area, which is why the prim load is limited to 3,750.  You cannot put up any but the most conservative of structures in a limit that small.  How many “building introverts” do you know of in Second Life, where living in a castle in the clouds is the norm of the aesthetic?  For those who are being good, though, they are being forced to pay along with the “scofflaws” or those just plain ignorant of how much load they’re putting on the resources (not an uncommon event).

Linden Lab is within its rights to make this price increase, no matter how much it riles people.  But wouldn’t a better approach be to use the metrics they must be collecting to track down the violators and boot back all/part of the prims on those lands?  This is an accepted technique on rental parcels all across the Grid.  Indeed, I just about suffered the same fate at my current house in Hrosskell, except that Uriah, my landlord, was kind enough to bring it to my attention before he punched the button, and I was able to get rid of the excess.  The Lab is able to track all sorts of numbers with their machines, some of more probable use than others; can’t they identify the Openspace sims that are stretching the limits and apply appropriate surgical action?

Comments and discussion are welcome here, of course; but for more, which will be read by the Lindens as well, see the topic in the Forums.

SUPPLEMENTAL, 2:06 p.m.:

A selection of other blogs (more are welcome in the comments):

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