Location: Not Shopping Anywhere
I have been critical of Linden Lab here, but I'm a bit blind-sided by the slew of blog posts about the gradual decline of Second Life. Tateru Nino's charts, showing concurrency dropping faster than new residents can replace those who leave, are depressing. Just last week she was optimistic about the future of SL!
Everyone reading her numbers will point a finger here or there, but let's consider the entire virtual world as an complex system of linked parts. Here's just one of the downward cycles at play:
- Lag forces us to shop less in-world (those pesky textures never load).
- Meanwhile, Linden Lab sets up Marketplace to head off competition and rake in a % of each transaction.
- We buy something at Marketplace instead of in-world.
- Merchant in-world sees little point in keeping a shop to pay tier for a empty store.
- Merchant closes in-world shop, puts land up for sale.
- Land does not sell; merchant abandons land. Tier income now zero for Linden Lab.
- Linden Lab must keep server running to support remaining plots in region.
- Visitors to SL (the few who make it past their first log in) see more empty and lonely sims, decide to leave.
- Fewer residents to support Marketplace, Linden Lab loses their cut of those transactions.
- Linden Lab has less cash on hand to hire staff to address problems of lag and cannot lower tier.
There are many other cycles at play, but for now they point in the same direction.