Developer Linden Labs raises prices for private islands in Second Life.
Linden Labs, creators of the virtual community game Second Life, announced plans to raise the prices for privately owned islands in the game's world. Private islands, which could be purchased by a player for $1,250 and maintained for $195 a month, will be $1,675 for approximately 16 acres with a maintenance fee of $295 a month. These rate hikes will not apply to pre-existing islands or land bought on the mainland of game world.
Second Life is a free virtual world that earns revenue from private land to players and larger companies, including Sony, General Motors, and IBM. A lack of profitability pressured Chief Financial Officer John Zdanowski to increase rates. In early October, users with multiple accounts were charged $9.95 per extra account.
General user consensus concerning the prices has been mixed. A small group of in-game real estate developers were told ahead of time, angering those were not aware of the impending changes. However, considering that the large majority of players do not pay for property, most will be not directly affected by rising rates. CFO Zdanowski feels that corporate customers won't be concerned by the price squeeze. "It's a non-event for them. They're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up an in-world presence, and they're paying almost nothing for the land."