Are freebies hurting the Second Life economy?

Penny Patton

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Ten issues actually hurting the SL economy far more than freebies:

1. SL looking like crap, driving away most potential new users.
2. LL's marketing of SL looking like crap, driving away most potential new users.
3. The total lack of content optimization which has lead to the fact that even with a great computer, SL runs like crap, driving away most potential new users.
4. The total lack of substantial development SL faced between about 2005 and 2011 which left SL a virtual world where you really don't have much to do, leaving most potential new users asking "What is there to do here?" before leaving and never coming back and telling others that there is nothing to do in SL.
5. The marketplace being just as consumer unfriendly as it is seller unfriendly.
6. The horror that is trying to purchase and own land in SL, leaving most SL users without any space to actually use content besides what they wear on their avatar.
7. The Second Life new user experience.
8. LL allowing fraud to run rampant on the SL marketplace.
9. LL allowing rampant IP theft on the SL marketplace.
10. LL's outright refusal to hire a design staff to compliment and guide their developers, directly resulting in issues 1-9.
 

Soen Eber

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My Neko avatar will occasionally hand out some cute toys or useful gadgets he's made to women he gets into a conversation with for, um, blatently obvious reasons. They make good ice breakers and can be a lot of fun for both parties, which is my primary reason for making them.
 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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Ten issues actually hurting the SL economy far more than freebies:

1. SL looking like crap, driving away most potential new users.
2. LL's marketing of SL looking like crap, driving away most potential new users.
I would agree with all of your points except for these first two. IMVU is graphically worse, but still pulls the users. In fact there just doesn't seem to be many social virtual worlds that look graphically better than SL does, and the one or two that do look better have substantially less usership. I don't think looking last-gen is going to truly keep people away if the other problems could be handled gracefully.
 

Penny Patton

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I would agree with all of your points except for these first two. IMVU is graphically worse, but still pulls the users.
Does SL really look better than IMVU? For the average user, I mean. Remember, because of the lack of optimized content in SL, a lot of SL users run on very low graphics settings. Frequently without shadows or ALM active. All of which makes SL's graphics, even when using newer better mesh avatars and the like, only just comparable to IMVU in screenshots because even running at such low graphics SL still often runs like crap for people. For them, IMVU does look better.

A friend of mine who uses both shows screenshots of my SL builds to some of their IMVU friends every so often and the reaction they've gotten has been "Pfffft, that's not SL. I've tried SL and it does NOT look like that." And LL's marketing, or lack there of, doesn't help this perception.

But I do agree that bad graphics wouldn't be an insurmountable problem if LL had addressed some of SL's other shortcomings better. IMVU is easier to get started with, it's easier to put together a decent looking IMVU avatar compared to the insanity that is the SL appearance editor, and it's just generally easier to use overall.
 
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Penny Patton

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And beyond how SL actually looks in the best cases, you have to remember that for the average non-user, the common belief is that SL looks like this:
 

Marianne McCann

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It would help if you'd be more of a regular contributor here and not just show up when you're fishing for your blogposts. I like you, but this is getting pretty mercantilist .
Ya, I gotta agree. Feels very much like a one-way discussion going on here, a bit like what "academic researchers" did with SL back in the earlier years.

Be a participant, experience things, communicate as a peer. You'll get deeper material.
 

Galen McGinnis

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A,E,I,O,U, but always Y. Y oh Y.
 

Argent Stonecutter

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So, I've been looking at the "next generation"... Sansar, High Fidelity, etc.

High Fidelity definitely sucks least.

They look like crap, the experience is awful, they require insane hardware. Using Windows, you can't even get into High Fidelity without a 970 or 1070: I tried with a 960 and it wouldn't even render all the content. I don't mean it was laggy, I mean whole layers simply didn't appear ever. Sansar doesn't even try to make movement controls usable if you don't have a headset.

HIgh Fidelity is at least oriented around creating stuff, but in-world building is limited to positioning and resizing objects, and there's theoretically more room for optimization but since everyone is on high end hardware nobody bothers.

None of these systems give you anything to do but chat and build stuff. Just like SL.

Having your own "region" seems nifty, but not having neighbors tends to mean that instead of hunting green dots on an empty map you're hunting for Zones or whatever that aren't empty.

The High Fidelity marketplace is insane. Your purchases and funds are stored in a cryptographic wallet on your PC. If you lose that file you lose everything. There's no shared storage for that.

But that's OK. Your stuff is stored just in random file servers, you can put them anywhere. You can download stuff from a URL and rehost it. You can save scripts you buy and host them. It's actually safer and a better experience than using the marketplace.

And High Fidelity is by FAR the superior product.
 
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Facts Not Feelings

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High Fidelity requires high-end hardware because it's a VR thing and they still focus hard on VR and ignore regular PC.
and there's theoretically more room for optimization but since everyone is on high end hardware nobody bothers
Thats not true, High Fidelity is very optimized because hey have very strict requirements for the mesh to upload.
In SL people just dump some meshes that they bought in some 3D model store without any optimization or change, so there are many items in SL that are meant to be for pre-rendering images or videos and not for real-time rendering in a game. Additionally to this, SL has no real requirements for physical shapes. I have a simple table in SL that has 200.000 triangles and uses an LOD model with 50.000 triangles as physical shape, it is from a very popular creator — that's ridiculous!
LL doesn't force their creators to a basic standard, they can upload all trash, so they do, because creating three manual shapes for LOD levels and one physics shape would be more work for them, so why should they care? I am pretty sure that many "creators" wouldn't even know how to do that, because they are just simple resellers of stuff that they buy on 3rd party marketplaces.

Also having a crypto currency in a decentralized model like High Fidelity is just logical, everything else would just destroy the purpose of it.
Of course this has pro and cons. If you host your own region and your server dies, your region and the stuff on it is gone too. That's the price you pay for it.

imho Hi-Fi has some very good ideas, but they are too stuck on on the dead horse VR. It's a shame, because they have a budget of 35 Million USD, so they definitely have the potential and the money they need.
 
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Soen Eber

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LL strategy started out as ignoring stuff because they were a startup and had to focus on growth, then ignoring stuff because they were going to sell out to Google or Facebook, then ignoring people because they were positioning towards the Enterprise market, then got ignored because they had ignored too blatantly and there were no "good parts" to sell, and then ignoring everything because were never in touch with their client base and dumped some new "There, we fixed it. Happy now?" code from Eastern European contractors. When they finally became woke there was over a decade of broken stuff they'd ignored and people had figured out how to work around it, so they had to ignore it because it would break so much existing content. They finally settled on creating some new functionality people could, over time, migrate to, and ignoring everything else by publishing metrics so people could make their own decisions.

Understandable in that LL survived and a lot of other virtual venues haven't. Funny, though, that they put so much effort into being agile in the dev area but not with the market.
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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High Fidelity requires high-end hardware because it's a VR thing and they still focus hard on VR and ignore regular PC.
Yes, I understand why, but the point remains that complaining about SL's hardware requirements when the best potential replacement has far higher requirements is damnfoolishness.

Thats not true, High Fidelity is very optimized because hey have very strict requirements for the mesh to upload.
High Fidfelity doesn't even require people to upload meshes. It seems to have no central asset management system, not even for avatars: if you can host the mesh you can render it.

Also having a crypto currency in a decentralized model like High Fidelity is just logical, everything else would just destroy the purpose of it.
You misspelled "High Fidelity doesn't want the hassles of being a bank". And let's take the "blockchain good things that actually work bad" debate as read.

Of course this has pro and cons.
Near as I can tell, it's all pros for HF and all cons for everyone else. Like, I lent someone the laptop I was using for HF and had to create a new wallet so I could download nametags.js again. That's enough to put me off ever buying HFC with fiat.

The fact that I had to download nametags.js and do all the rest of the setting up my avatar stuff because HF doesn't actually manage inventory is kind of nasty as well. Speaking of which:

If you host your own region and your server dies, your region and the stuff on it is gone too. That's the price you pay for it.
You seem to be making my argument for me here.
 

Argent Stonecutter

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You missed:
Yes, I understand why, but the point remains that complaining about SL's hardware requirements when the best potential replacement has far higher requirements is damnfoolishness.
Anyway, as for blockchain:

And implementing blockchain is harder than being your own bank.
Being your own bank is way more involved than just keeping track of balances. If you actually plan on succeeding, anyway. Once you show up on their radar, suddenly you have to satisfy banking rules in every jurisdiction you do business in.

There whole concept is to be decentralized, just like the www is decentralized.
Money on the WWW is basically not decentralized, except for certain classes of commerce that can't withstand government scrutiny.
 

Argent Stonecutter

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Every little shitty phone game has an own "currency" that you can buy with real money.
If they don't allow you to cash out and make a token attempt to prevent gold farming if and when it happens they're not "acting like a bank", which I suspect you actually know and you're just arguing for the lulz.

But i don't know any app where you can exchange virtual goods for crypto yet.
It's pretty hard to exchange real goods for crypto too.

And thanks to it being decentralized like the www, you can also just exchange it for paypal payment if you want to. Just like you can upload and trade trashy mesh without using their market.
You mean, thanks to it being on the web, you can use a centralized exchange instead? Well, yes. That's kind of the point. The marketplace is harder than not using the marketplace. It's kind of the reverse of GOM.
 

Han Held

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You mean, thanks to it being on the web, you can use a centralized exchange instead? Well, yes. That's kind of the point. The marketplace is harder than not using the marketplace. It's kind of the reverse of GOM.
I hope you realize it's quite likely that fucko was probably all of 3 when GOM was a thing, and as a result has no idea what you're talking about. :p
 

Argent Stonecutter

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Three of the four examples given are about cashing out. The fourth is about enabling people to cash out surreptitiously.

To incorporate a virtual currency into a game or app without triggering potential BSA/AML obligations, you should at least make sure that the virtual currency is for in-game/in-app use only, and that you have not provided users with the ability to sell, exchange, transfer, or cash out any virtual currency they have purchased or obtained.
"If they don't allow you to cash out..."

Moreover, the game or app’s terms of use (TOU) should be drafted to include appropriate provisions on the character and use of any virtual currency, including the following: (make it clear that it's not currency, has no value, may go away at any time, and that attempting to use it as currency will lead to sanctions)
"...and make a token attempt to prevent gold farming if and when it happens..."

...then they're not a bank.
 

Clara D.

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