Sunday, 18 February 2007

SL feeling the strain?

I've just come across a rather worrying post in the 3pointD blog which tells how Linden Labs may start restricting access to SecondLife when the servers are feeling the strain of too many users (e.g. at busy weekends). Apparently SL is just getting too popular! The official Linden announcemnet can be found here.

Being money orientated (c'mon, you didn't think Linden created SL just for fun did you??) the criterion for who gets locked out is based on whether or not your account is verified, and have you purchased anything from Linden (e.g. Linden Dollars, Land etc.)

So for a Yorkshireman like me (for the un-initiated, a Yorkshireman is described as "a Scotsman stripped of his generosity") who has done all his ambling in Second Life on the cheap (i.e. for nothing) then the chances are that I soon won't be wandering around SL at weekends!

Then again, we've already had pointers from Linden Labs that they are looking at opening up the servers so that others can host their own bits of SL.... but the indications were that this would not be happening for a while.

The question then arises as to how much this will affect the viablity of SL as a marketing medium - after all, the selling point for SL to advertisers is that there is an audience of about 3Million users... but if access is restricted, this becomes less attractive. Then again, if we follow the IBM approach to SL - i.e. that it is just a proving ground for 3D Metaverse activity, then are the restrictions a problem???? Perhaps.... after all, would you want to invest your R&D activities in a service which could run out of capacity?

** Footnote:
I've just been to the Linden blog to read the original announcement. There are about 380 responses from SL residents.... on a quick straw poll, the majority seem to be in favour of the move.

Not surprising really - if you have a financial investment in SL you will want to keep the environment running smoothly - preferably at the expense of freeloaders. But this also highlights a change in demographic over recent months; in which the influx of users has led to a significant number of unverified accounts compared with premium accounts.

I guess I'll just have to go and buy a few $L to keep my account active!

1 comment:

Aleister Kronos said...

You might want to check Gwyneth's observations on the SLOG blog.

I would make the same comment here as I did there. I believe LL had a strategy to become the de facto 3D world of choice (fair enough). This was achieved by opening up SL to free, unverified accounts, and through subsequent promotion/hype, RL companies looking for a virtual environment selected SL. This is borne out by the numbers: LL had <200K accounts at start of 2006, and now stands at >3.7M. This rate of growth is staggering, and will have taken LL by surprise - we know they have been struggling to cope.

It seems reasonable therefore to slow down the inflationary rate of new entrants (particularly as the vast majority are not paying a bean towards the expansion and support of the server farms). By extension, restricting access at times of peak load to people who make some contribution to support must also be reasonable.

I take the point that money isn't everything - but that's easy to say if you don't have 30K+ concurrent virtual mouths to feed.

LL aren't looking for a huge commitment - just a nod will suffice. So you're right - now is the time to stop camping, and get yourself some L$!