Is Second Life Shooting Itself In the Foot?

By now you have possibly heard the news that Second Life is going to end its educator discount.  That discount was a whopping half off land prices.  Is this going to signal the end of Second Life?

I can’t count the number of people I have talked to through the years that cited cost as a reason why their educational institution wasn’t getting in to Second Life – even with the discount.  I get that Second Life usage is really dropping and they need to make more money.  But I am also sure a large number of colleges are just going to close shop rather than double expenses.  I have heard that many college SL projects are already on the edge of elimination as it it is.

So one has to wonder – will the net gain of those that stay and pay double make up for the huge loss of everyone that will leave?  Right now, I doubt it.  Personally, I think Second Life is going to lose more than they think they will gain.

As interest in Second Life wanes in many places, some have speculated that the educational sector is the main thing keeping it a float.  Why shoot one of your only good legs in the foot?

Will 2011 be remembered as the year virtual worlds died? I hope not – but they are life support and need better thinking than this to survive.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

5 thoughts on “Is Second Life Shooting Itself In the Foot?

  1. This seems like a terrible move. Doubling the fee with 3 months notice in the middle of an academic year at a time when most universities are enduring budget cuts seems to ensure non-profit and higher-ed use of SL will plummet. SL was already a hard-sell to most administrators and faculty—now, it will be almost impossible in the current fiscal environment. Whoever made this decision needed to have brought in some cooler heads (including non-profit clients) and arrived at some sort of other solution or compromise.

  2. Maria, it’s not a reversal. It’s an extension of the discounted service for up to 2 years, but you have to pay for that extension by December 31st of this year (less than 3 months away). Most academic budgets are not set up for such quick, unplanned increased.

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