Linden Lab announces pricing changes starting June 2019

On Wednesday 29th May Linden Lab made a big announcement on Land Price Reductions, New Premium Perks, and Pricing Changes on the official Second Life. See the blog post for all the changes happening next month. The timing of this announcement should of been made after the Second Life 16th birthday celebrations finishes. Since the announcement went out there has been huge reaction to this on the forums and on various Second Life resident blogs.

I think the full estate reduction of $20/mo and the increase in the group limit for premium users from 60 to 70 is the only few things I like about this announcement. I’m not impressed about the new premium prices that are going up on 24th June, the fees to process credit are on the increase and the news about lowering the group limit from 42 down to 35 for free basic accounts. I think probably what will happen now with free basic accounts is that people will just spread them over alt accounts. Quarterly plans will no longer be available for new Premium Memberships from 24th June 2019.

Many will be asking themselves on Premium accounts over the days and weeks ahead whether to upgrade/downgrade/renew their selected account type. This is a huge push to get free basic members to upgrade to premium now and I agree there are tons of benefits for doing so.

Linden Lab believes this is the best path forward and the question now is will this actually work well in the months ahead. There will be more improvements to Premium Membership coming later in 2019 including more Linden Home themes and the introduction of an all-new membership level who want to get the most of out Second Life.

Here are the current prices and new prices (effective 3rd June and 24th June 2019)…

Latest Update

This morning Grumpity Linden made a new forum thread post named “A brief note on pricing changes, which ran long.” on the Second Life Forums which clears up some confusion.

Hi! This started out as a brief clarification on some things causing confusion, and has turned into a long bullet-point list.  Rather than replying to the numerous threads on the forums, I’m going to try to put it all together here.  As long as the conversation remains civil, I’ll do my best to respond to questions. Please point the pitchforks away from my eyes though…  

  • Land prices:  Full estates get ~$20/mo reduction in price. For the first time we are also reducing GF/BD region pricing.  This is not a frivolous gift to the 1%. This has real and proven effects on the rents many more pay. 
  • Premium prices are going up on June 24.  Starting June 3 and until June 24,  Premium accounts have 3 weeks to pre-pay an additional cycle of premium at the old rates.  Best deal is, of course, prepaying for annual regardless of your current level. We hope you can take advantage of it. If you’re paying quarterly today, you can continue as quarterly. We will no longer offer it to new premium signups.  With the new prices, VAT will be charged on monthly and quarterly but not annual (of course only in the countries where VAT applies)
  • We looked. We hadn’t raised premium prices in the history of premium prices in SL. Crazy! A lot of value has been added to premium over the last few years (new Linden Homes, double tier, reduced mainland prices, premium access, more offline IMs, more transaction history, more groups, more animesh, experiences, and yet more to come) and we are raising prices to reflect that.   
  • We’re not lowering limits out of spite, groups really are quite a strain on our back end for a variety of painful historical reasons, including overloading group functionality instead of having other tools.  This subject alone is worth a novel liberally sprinkled with tears. So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries. But yes, no big surprise, we do want to nudge active residents to become subscribers, because we think it’s a great value, and – as many have noted – we’re also running a business. But no, we’re not shutting our doors to non-premium residents. Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated.  
  • Fees to process credit are going up, effective June 24.  L$ buy fees are not. Yes, this is another step in rebalancing the economy.  It’s also the right step, because the regulatory climate has evolved dramatically since SL first started out, and in order to continue to offer a platform for creators to actually make money, we have a lot of ongoing work to keep up with those regulations. Compliance is generally no fun (shh don’t tell our compliance people I said so – they’re wonderful and actually think it’s fun!) but it keeps all of us in business and the bad guys out. If we weren’t doing this work, we would literally have to stop offering the ability to process credit. 
  • We’re making lasting investments into SL in infrastructure, features, and content.  While we set aside some special morsels only for premium members, the work we are doing benefits everyone – region crossings, attachment reliability, marketplace improvements, inventory stability, land auctions – are just a few examples.  No one project will please all of our residents, but we make an effort to address the needs of all communities in turn. We can’t get everything done immediately, but we’re focused and determined to keep SL successful and evolving. It’s a unique and thriving world we work hard to support. 

Look, this is obviously a bitter pill.  We can’t keep slashing land prices at the rate we did last year.  We can’t raise other prices and yet keep everyone happy.  But we sincerely believe this is the best path forward – and hope you will come around too. 

What do you think of these new changes ?