It’s pretty simple to find a low-cost virtual world these days. It makes one wonder how Second Life can survive with its current pricing structure.
As I have written many times, SL isn’t going anywhere, certainly not out of business, anytime soon. If I‘m wrong, it’s going to be an awfully long time before you can say, “I told you so.”
But the alternatives to SL that are available today are numerous and inexpensive. You can have your own region – or multiple regions – for free if you like. Or, you can take advantage of reasonable prices from OpenSim grids or hosting companies.
For those of you Second Life residents who are just looking into it lately, you will find that you can easily get a full region – with more prims than in SL – generally anywhere in the $20 to $45 per month range. There are some cheaper options too and some just a little more expensive as well.
Even though I’m planning to continue running my own personal grid (for free), I have been toying with the idea of paying in that 20 – 45 USD price range and establishing a region on a larger, existing grid as well.
Then I read the recent news from Kitely…
Kitely is changing it’s pricing policy as of January 1, 2014. Although the element of time will still apply to some Kitely accounts, they are moving away from counting your minutes and focusing more on accounts that require monthly fees. It seems one big reason is marketing – potential customers found the old pricing system confusing. And yes, they will still have a plan for customers who don’t want a monthly fee.
The details are on the Kitely blog. The blog post also announces a special offer, good until the end of 2013.
The offer is so attractive, I had to jump on it even though I’m not sure whether I want it for the long run. It doesn’t lock me in for a year – or even a quarter, it goes month to month, so I decided to try it for a while and see what my needs are.
The other day I upgraded my Free plan to the Gold plan. The cost of the Gold plan is 35 USD per month. That comes with unlimited minutes and 20 regions but by going for the Gold at this time, they’ll add another ten regions to the plan on January 1 and they will grandfather my account in.
So, as of January 1, I’ll have 30 regions and unlimited time with my Kitely account.
It’ll be just like having an account in Second Life.
I got my calculator out last night…
30 regions in Second Life would cost me $8850 per month. No, I didn’t forget a decimal point. We’re talking about close to nine-thousand dollars a month in SL. As opposed to $35 per month in Kitely.
Not to mention the tens of thousands of extra prims in Kitely. Or the fact that their management doesn’t treat its users as if they don’t exist.
But I will mention the set-up fees. In Second Life, the set-up fee for each region is $1000. In Kitely, there is no set-up fee.
So, right away, I’m saving $30,000.
Doesn’t it sound like I am making these numbers up?