So, following LL's latest post about the incoming price changes to Premium accounts, as well as region price and process credit fees, I would like to take something off my chest.
For starters and to avoid keeping you worried, I do not plan to increase the price of any of my existing products to offset the cost this change represents. Perhaps future products might be a bit more expensive than they would have been without this change, I don't know, I don't actually think so. Of course, never say never, but for now and for the foreseeable future (unless LL jacks the prices up even more in two months, who knows), the prices will stay the same.
There are several reasons for that, one of them being how I come up with a price when I release a new product (it's mostly related to the value of the product, not to its production cost), another one being that I am reluctant to change any price once it has been set, be it up or down. I remember when redesigning the Police set and replacing the Prisoner Belt with the waist chain and the Police collar, I thought long and hard before changing the price. It wasn't an easy decision (granted, that was a L$30 increase, nothing to scream about, but still).
But I won't lie, SL is going to cost more for me than it did so far, and the same goes for every content creator who makes a living with SL like I do.
First, there is the premium cost being jacked up (from $72 to $99 a year since I'm annual). Ok that's not a big deal, I can surely afford to pay $27 a year for, well, nothing at all in return. Or nothing tangible at least. Maybe it will help LL improve the platform and fixing the bugs ? In that case, ok take my money and make the damn thing work.
Second and more importantly, the process credit fee that doubles from 2.5% to 5% per process. In my case that means that it will cost $1000 more to get my money out of SL every year, once again for no change in the service whatsoever. I am not happy at all with this change, but I understand this is because of new regulations or something. Grumpity Linden has hinted about that in a forum post but he has been pretty vague on the subject. I don't know where the additional 2.5% will go. Will it go to LL ? To a bank ? To the US ? No idea. But someone is going to get richer in the process and that's not me.
Why am I telling you all this ? Because we are all impacted by those changes. If you are a Premium user or are planning to become one, you will pay more than you used to, meaning less money to spend in SL as a whole, since your stipend will remain at L$300 per week.
But there is a silver lining. If you've paid attention to the page I have linked at the beginning of this post, you have noticed that region prices are being lowered by about 8%, which is a good thing. Land owners who are not greedy will lower the rent prices for their tenants (you), meaning more L$ for the latter to spend, meaning more sales for merchants. One can only hope. At least I am decreasing the rent in my own sim (where there are four tenants) and I hope the majority of sim owners will do the same.
This is the only thing that can save SL businesses, in my opinion. It's that or merchants will have to increase their prices, which means a double loss for consumers. First loss because their Premium price will go up, second loss because everything will become more expensive. I pray that it will not be the case.
If you are a business owner yourself and you decide to increase your prices, trust me I understand. This post is not at all meant to shame you for doing it. The process credit fee increase is significant and we all have to make a living. I am just pointing out that I won't do that because I can afford it, at least for the foreseeable future.