Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Goodbye Premium

By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)

After years of being a premium Second Life member (over half a decade), I’ve decided to downgrade and at the end of December I will no longer be able to enjoy the “premium” perks that this service offers. So why did I do it? There are actually multiple reasons. Back when I first started paying for premium membership, things were different in my life. I was a sim co-owner. I was logging on every day to manage a community. I had a group of friends in said community that I hung out with on a daily basis. I was just more invested in the platform. Even when that community left Second Life, I rather quickly found myself in a new community that I could call home and became more and more involved in that community as a leader.

All good things must end however and I ended up leaving that community for personal reasons. This time, I didn’t find a new community or place to call home. For the past year, Second Life to me has been a largely quiet place for me. I spend most of my time in a rented parcel, admittedly jaded from my past experiences in Second Life communities and not believing things would be different if I started over somewhere else. I came to realize that the major driver behind why I loved Second Life so much was the community and social interaction, and I don’t get that anymore.

So when the bill for my premium membership came around this month, I took a hard look at it. For one, I don't remember it being so expensive. Over thirty dollars a quarter means over $100 a year. Even though there had been news of Second Life switching up their pricing, I had largely ignored it until now. However, this time I took a good long look at just exactly what I was getting for my money. 

One of the premium perks which Second Life touts with their premium membership offer is their Second Life homes. I rarely use mine and prefer to rent a place on a less laggy sim. Another perk is the ability to set your home location to anywhere, which really doesn’t matter to me because I know how to use the places menu in Firestorm. Another perk that I might miss out on is the weekly stipend, which is 300L per week. In actuality, this does help to cover costs with rent and gives me some extra L to do what I want with, but is it worth over $100 a year? No. One of the features that I’ll lose that may end up biting me in the butt later is the ability to gain priority in to teleporting in to nearly full sims during major events, but does this matter to me enough to pay for premium? Again, no. What about prioritized account support if something were to go wrong or if I was wrongfully banned? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to contact customer support at one point and gave up. It’s extremely hidden. I also didn’t own any land aside from my Second Life home. The other perks are just inconsequential at best. So then why am I paying for the service?

There just isn’t any major reason for myself to justify the premium membership. It’s probably still a good idea for those who own land (you need the service to do so after all) or otherwise run a community, but to the average user there is just no justification to pay over $100 a year for a trickle of features that really don’t matter. You can rent a parcel for fairly cheap and buy Lindens when you need it and end up spending less than $100 a year if you’re careful.