Friday, May 31, 2019

Grumpity Linden Tries to Explain The Price Increases, Group Limit Cuts

The news of Linden Lab's Premium account price hikes, basic account group limit cuts, and cashing out fee increases on Wednesday May 29 got quite a number of reactions from the residents. In the early morning of Thursday May 30, Grumpity Linden decided to start a thread on the official forums, "A Brief Note On Pricing Changes," to explain why the Lab made these decisions.

Of why the Premium account prices were rising:

We looked. We hadn’t raised premium prices in the history of premium prices in SL. Crazy! A lot of value has been added to premium over the last few years (new Linden Homes, double tier, reduced mainland prices, premium access, more offline IMs, more transaction history, more groups, more animesh, experiences, and yet more to come) and we are raising prices to reflect that. 

Of why they were lowering the group limit of basic account members:

We’re not lowering limits 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.  

Of the credit processing fee hike:

Fees to process credit are going up, effective June 24.  L$ buy fees are not. Yes, this is another step in rebalancing 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.

Grumpity would go further to explain why the Lab felt these moves were necessary:

We’re making lasting investments into SL in infrastructure, features, and content.  While we set aside some special morsels only for premium members, the work we are doing benefits everyone - region crossings, attachment reliability, marketplace improvements, inventory stability, land auctions - are just a few examples.  No one project will please all of our residents, but we make an effort to address the needs of all communities in turn. We can’t get everything done immediately, but we’re focused and determined to keep SL successful and evolving. It’s a unique and thriving world we work hard to support.

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. 

Grumpity did get credit from some residents for her willingness to come forward and speak, but few were convinced, content creators and merchants saying the Lab was making it very hard for them to do business inworld. Jo Yardley suggested if the cashing out fees kept going up, some residents might start dealing directly with each other via Paypal than use Linden dollars.

The debate is almost certainly to go on for quite some time. Readers are invited to made comments and send reader submissions. How will these price hikes and group limit cuts affect you?

Bixyl Shuftan

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