To kick off our year-long birthday celebration, we’ve rounded up 15 exciting improvements and features that make Second Life better than ever in 2018 and beyond!
- Lower Mainland costs – Did you hear the news? We’ve reduced Mainland costs by over 10 percent. This change is part of our continued commitment to move toward a healthier economy, with more balance between costs and fees associated with land ownership, Premium subscriptions, commissions and transaction fees. For more information and context on this and other pricing changes, see the section “Updates to Mainland Costs & Other Pricing Changes” below.
- Double Mainland tier – We also recently announced that Premium members get DOUBLE the Mainland allotment! That’s twice as much space to build, create and design your own home, business or experience in Second Life at no extra charge!
- More Value for Premium Members – In the coming months, we’ll be announcing new features for Premium subscribers — including brand-new advantages that will add more value for Merchants, Creators and Landowners. There’s never been a better time to upgrade to Premium!
- Environment Enhancements (code name: EEP!) – Soon you’ll see a series of new customizations in the environment rendering system (also known as Windlight). Creators will have more control over the sky, water, lighting and atmosphere. You’ll be able to adjust the number of real-world hours in the Second Life “day” to match that of a real world location; the cycle can be as short as the 4 hours it is now – or up to 7 real world days long. These changes will give more value, flexibility and marketability to land. Environment settings will also become tradable assets, so that they can be bought and sold in the Marketplace, creating another avenue for residents to profit from their creativity.
- More exclusive games and experiences – Last week, we unveiled “Linden Realms: The Wrath of Ruth” — a fiery update to a familiar classic that awards skilled players with unique prizes. There are more exclusive experiences on the way, including something special for our 15th anniversary celebration this summer.
- Themed Learning Islands – Getting connected to people who share your interests will be easier than ever with “Themed Learning Islands.” Soon newcomers may start their adventures in one of several themed areas, so their first experience in SL will be among Residents who share similar interests. This new initiative is in addition to our existing Community Gateway program which empowers independent communities to develop their own newcomer-friendly experiences.
- The return of Last Names – You’ve asked for it (a lot!), so we will provide a way to customize your last name in Second Life! More details will be available later this year.
- Gridwide Experiences – Currently, Creators can use the increased scripting capabilities of an Experience only in a region or parcel whose owner has explicitly enabled their Experience. One of the new Premium abilities will be an Experience that is enabled anywhere on the grid unless the landowner has blocked it.
- Auctions – We are updating our system for conducting Land Auctions. The new auction system will be integrated with Place Pages, providing much richer possibilities for describing the land for sale. Most importantly, Residents will be able to create an Auction to sell their land.
- Linden Homes improvements – We’re bringing newer and better Linden Home designs this year.
- Marketplace updates – We’ve got a number of improvements to Marketplace in the works, too! We’re integrating many long-requested features that will help to reduce clutter and improve the functionality of listings as the Marketplace gets a facelift later this year.
- Improved performance – We’re working on a number of improvements to performance, from faster rendering in the viewer to reduce client lag, to changes in the simulator designed to allow more objects, scripts, and avatars.
- Animesh – Last year, we introduced Animesh in beta available to all Creator participants. This year, with diligent and invaluable input from the community, we plan to roll out this exciting new feature for everyone!
- Bakes on Mesh – Extends the Viewer and the Avatar Baking Service to allow wearable textures (such as skins, clothing and tattoos) to be applied directly onto mesh body parts as they are on system avatars. To do this, you’ll ‘wear’ the textures as you would for the system avatar, and then edit the mesh body part to indicate the body part that should be used on each of the mesh faces; the corresponding system body part is then automatically hidden for you. This project also increases the supported resolution of wearable textures by 4 times (from 512 pixels square to 1024 pixels square).
- Migration to the Cloud – Finally, a huge effort is underway to move our Second Life infrastructure to the cloud. This update aims to enhance the quality and performance of Second Life for all Residents, but it will be of particular value for those who are far across the world from us. We look forward to exploring new products and more flexible pricing possibilities once this migration is complete.
UPDATES TO MAINLAND COSTS & OTHER PRICING CHANGES
Last year, we shared with you our plans for millions of dollars of new investments into Second Life and its communities to make our virtual world better than ever. Our recent investments are already paying off with numerous improvements including the introduction of a new 64-bit Viewer, Place Pages and a refresh of our starter avatars. We’ve also added more value to Premium subscriptions and a unique grid-wide hunt. We’re also continuing to hire new software and web engineers.
We’ve got big plans for this year, as you can glean from above, and we’re continuing to invest even more to ensure that the Second Life economy and community will be around for another 15 years and beyond. A significant part of this effort is continuously re-evaluating the health of our business and the Second Life economy.
Currently, Land costs can be quite high, and make up a lopsided portion of our Second Life revenues. To improve this imbalance, we plan to increase revenues in other ways so that we can lower land costs further. In order to avoid shocks to the in-world economy and to take care that we keep the business healthy, we plan to make these changes in a measured way, taking time to assess the impacts of each change as we go.
Last week, we announced that we have lowered the cost of Mainland by over 10 percent and doubled the Mainland tier allocation for Premium members. In the coming months some other fees may increase, including Marketplace commissions, Linden Dollar exchange fees, and cashout fees. In addition, we will soon announce new tiered Premium membership offerings that allow Residents to choose the membership level that provides the benefits most important to them.
We are committed to keeping Second Life a vibrant and growing community with a healthy economy well into the future. Stay tuned – this 15th year will see some of the biggest improvements to Second Life in many years so that you can continue to enjoy it for the next 15 years.
Ebbe Linden, CEO, and the Second Life Team