If you were about to buy a server or sim of "land" in Second Life, stop in your tracks, and think hard.
Because any time from today to three years from now, that land will likely become completely devalued and possibly even inaccessible except for further expenditure. This won't happen because there's an earthquake in San Francisco, or because the U.S. Congress decides to tax virtual worlds. It will happen because of a choice Linden Lab itself has already made, which is to open-source the server code and create the possibility for people to host their own virtual worlds.
If you think that's just speculation, you need to listen to the interview with Linden Lab's, Mitch Kapor, chairman of the board, by Adam Reuters in Davos.
He makes it abundantly clear in this interview that there will most definitely be a shift in the business model for LL, from earning money off real estate (servers) -- something that makes up 70 percent of their revenue now, and a turn to a "diversification of the business model, over years, not months." "It is mostly land or hosting now," Kapor explained to Adam, adding that there was some revenue from the currency exchange and tiny revenue from classifieds. While the ad business for the Metaverse will be huge, getting there will take time, and these software engineers in San Francisco are unlikey to take on the administrative overhead of that work. WHAT their services will be isn't clear possibly even to them. But THAT they will change is absolutely not in doubt.
That means that land you have held for one or two or three years may not be there next year. It's not going to be forever. It will come to an end, and possibly an abrupt and nasty end if the history of LL and their rapid, roughshod changes is any indication.
Are you still doubting about this and thinking this is a tinfoil hat? Please, spare me. Listen to what the man says: "There is a clearly stated intent to let people put up their own servers, the only way to scale, to have one million servers." So they will be making it possible, through licensing or open-sourcing, for their so-far badly scaling world to scale further -- and do this by devaluing our land.
Oh, you say. That's tinfoiling? Hosting doesn't mean devaluing land, as it will still cost money to buy servers, and host-your-own people will still need to uphold the value of land.
Again, if you don't like listening to me, listen to the board chairman of LL: "To be dependent on a land business, when anyone can put up land, doesn't make any sense," the board chairman of this phenomenally growing California software company said in Davos, at the World Economic Forum.
So you wonder, with this frank and unabashed a comment from the board chairman, that I would have to spend an hour convincing my comrades in the Sutherland Dam that not only will the Lindens do this, they understand perfectly well -- right NOW -- that they have a plan to devalue your land -- that being in the land business, "doesn't make any sense". Like the rest of the Internet, only knowledge workers with portable skills will be able to make it off this burning ship -- the rest are fucked until they either find a new game or "get a life" or do whatever people do when they have been badly burned in a Florida swamp land transaction.