Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Subtext of a Bad Decision

Written 28 October, 2008

The Subtext of a Bad Decision

On its face, Linden Labs’ decision to increase purchase and tier prices on Openspace sims makes no sense. That’s because the price change will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the stated problem of overload by heavy development of Openspaces.

The decision WILL do two things, however: it will bring Linden Lab an additional $300 US a month for every Openspace server in use, and it will return ownership of hundreds and perhaps thousands of servers to the Lab as Openspace owners abandon their sims in droves. And guess what? The Lab will be free to sell those servers once again, either for $1000 to future purchasers of private islands or for $500 to purchasers of new Openspace sims.

This feels like virtual... well, I was about to use the word rape, but instead, let’s just say fraud. It seems a decision deliberately calculated to provide quick and easy money to Linden Lab at the expense of the investment and good will of Second Life’s landholding citizenry.

Watching The Wizard of Oz taught me to look behind the curtain, and I’m about to do just that. It will be speculation, of course, but what do you bet one or more of the following scenarios have some truth to them?

Scenario: Let’s shift everyone’s attention away from Afghanistan and Bin Laden toward Iraq so we can invade and get their oil.

Oh, wait! Wrong scenario!

Scenario: Let’s accuse Obama of being a Muslim and a terrorist and a dirty commie, because clearly we’re not going to beat him on the issues.

No, darn it! Wrong scenario again!

Sorry, folks, too close to the election, I guess.


Scenario I: The Financial Crisis

Linden Lab has severe cash flow problems. Bills are due. There’s not enough money on hand to keep the lights on. Due to the developing depression—sorry, due to the developing almost-recession, banks are no long making loans, and the Lab’s usual sources of ready cash are no longer available. Whatever can Linden Lab do?

Scammer Linden: Hey, I have an idea for a scam using the Openspace sims!

M. Linden: Well, let’s hear it.

Scammer Linden: We can create an imaginary problem and use it as a justification to raise prices.

M. Linden: Hmmm.

PlausibleDeniability Linden: I think Scammer’s onto something.

MissDirection Linden: Maybe we could raise the tier on Openspaces. We’ve sold a million of them lately.

Scammer Linden: Nice, MissDirection! People will either pay or abandon their sims, in which case we can resell the servers.

M Linden: Brilliant! It might enable us to meet our payroll. Jack!

Jack Linden: Yes, Your Eminence?

M. Linden: I’ll leave it to you and your wrecking crew to come up with a reason why we need to, no offense, jack up the purchase price and tier of Openspaces.

Jack Linden: We’ll get right on it. I already have an idea.

Scenario II: The Corporate Takeover

M. Linden: I’ve been CEO of the Lab for four months now. Now that I’m finally able to put my freebie prim penis on and take it off, I’m ready to take the helm of this sinking ship. I’ve called you all here to announce a new and exciting change of direction.

Sycophant Linden: Whoo hoo!

M. Linden: As you know, Linden Lab is a privately-owned company. We’re not a corporation. As a company, we exist to serve the needs of our customer base.

Asskisser Linden: That would be the residents of Second Life?

M. Linden: Of course not! That would be the generous venture capitalists who fund my obscenely large bonus! We OWE them!

Asskisser Linden: (inaudible).

M. Linden: It’s time to announce what everyone already knows: I was brought on board to prepare Linden Lab for corporate takeover. At this point it’s unclear whether we’ll be acquired by big oil (in which case we’ll mandate drilling on every parcel, and make the residents provide the prims); or one of the pharmaceutical conglomerates (in which case we’ll require every resident to take experimental psychotropic drugs designed to make them forget we’re taking advantage of them); or a giant agrifirm (in which case every parcel will be required to produce a quota of soybeans or corn or wheat); or the virtual military industrial complex (in which case every parcel will house a concealed ICBM site).

MissApprehension Linden: Nukes?

M. Linden: Virtual multiple thermonuclear warhead missiles, yes. It’s possible, of course, that Second Life, which is merely one of our intellectual properties, will be shut down by the new corporate owners.

CodeMonkey Linden: Isn’t it our ONLY intellectual property?

Supervisor Linden: CodeMonkey, what are you doing away from your cubicle? Get back to work! I want that new bug implemented before you go home tonight.

MissApprehension Linden: You mean bug fix, don’t you, Supervisor?

Supervisor Linden: No, we’re introducing new code to make random objects disappear from inventory.

MissApprehension Linden: Hasn’t that bug been around a while?

Supervisor Linden: Yeah, but we’re modding it so it will specifically target items that cost more than $1000L.

PlausibleDeniability Linden: Sweet!

M. Linden: Before the grid goes down for good, I want you all to do whatever you can to increase our income from residents.

Asskisser Linden: Yeah, let’s rob ‘em blind while we still can!

Scammer Linden: I have an idea.


Linden Lab, you are just SO wrong on this one!


vint said...


Anonymous said...

One must laugh, or one must cry.