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Openspaces: Linden Lab short on answers

Tateru Nino

The fifth of January has come and gone, and the Second Life Openspaces 2.0 product has passed into history, to be replaced with the lower-value Openspaces 4.0 and Homesteads 1.0 products. In the couple of months since the initial announcement, we've been inundated with reader-requests asking us to get some sort of explanation of the reasoning from Linden Lab, and render it into comprehensible form.

Unfortunately, despite repeated promises over the last ten weeks or so to provide us with that information, Linden Lab has been unable to actually provide us with any explanation or reasoning behind the changes in pricing and specification.

What we do know is that the price rise for void simulators was announced at the end of a month in which Linden Lab reported raking in record levels of monthly revenue.

(Granted, the Openspaces 4.0 product carries the same basic price-tag as the Openspaces 2.0 product, but the specification is far lower, so it represents less value for money. You pay the same amount for less, and we still count that as a price rise)

So, we're left with cautious speculation. Record revenues don't necessarily mean record profits. So, it's possible that Linden Lab was bleeding cash on every Openspaces 2.0 simulator. Jack Linden, however, hinted in blog posts that the price was set more arbitrarily based on what customers seemed to be willing to pay, rather than based around actual costs (which is how the Lab reported that the pricing model for Class Five servers was arrived at).

We realize that such speculation hardly satisfies the overwhelming number of you who have asked. After weeks of promises of information, we've been given none. This suggests either that only a very small number of people at the Lab know the reasons behind the decision, or that they're reluctant to discuss those reasons (or both). We'll keep trying to get a useful and informative response for you all. We're not holding our collective breath, however, and we can't recommend that you do either.

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