dang, over on Hypergrid Business a thread’s comments became all about making money with virtual worlds and the inevitable Second Life versus OpenSim matchup
anything involving money always gets people riled up and toss in a little whom is better than whom on top of that and you have a topic that everyone can chime in on (or write a blog post about!) =p
firstly, who is better? Second Life or OpenSim?
i don’t know how fair that is to ask – Second Life is a service and OpenSim is a server software. but . . . you and i know what is meant by asking and there is only one answer (but tons of rationalisation)
do you want to know which one is better?
well, OpenSim of course! hmm, well it’s better for our current project and our project could not work in Second Life. it’s also better for Sim-on-a-Stick which isn’t possible with SL (boo) =p
BUT . . . that answer is only true for me and subQuark. it’s also true, with different reasons or rationale, for Ilan and Oren of Kitely and for thousands of people that have regions on OSgrid – in other words, only you can say which is better and you will be correct
on the other hand, Second Life is better for Anshe Chung and better for most people trying to do what i failed at – a private estate business, but it’s not the only solution. InWorldz uses OpenSim and i certainly hope that Tranq and the others running it are making a living with it
there others that also run commercial grids with OpenSim, so there must be some level of success for them too. success is a highly personal thing though – i think that 15,000 downloads of Sim-on-a-Stick is success but a capitalist would not agree
the question of “which one is better” is a function of what you do with it
back to the first part – making money with virtual worlds
it’s easy to think the only way to make big money with virtual worlds is via the “land business” because Second Life defined that and has success stories of a few people that have (one of the commenters’ on that first link says they pass $400,000 USD to LL on a yearly basis! dang, it took me 20 to 40 hours a week to do $36,000 a year!)
apart from the land business, you can be a content creator – clothes, hair, skins, cars, homes, naughty pose balls, etc
content creation, from a commercial aspect, is still somewhat iffy with OpenSim – or at least the perception of its viability, but that is changing and should eventually be on par to a presence inSL (there we go comparing again). however, there are several factors affecting that – including virtual world currency
the currency factor is one which i think has been screwed up by Linden Lab and/or by the culture created within SL. it is really odd to me that a service where a sim costs $1000 to setup and then $295 a month also has people selling their work for pennies!
the early content creators must not have come from a professional online freelance model because selling something that took you four hours to build for a dollar is daft! i don’t buy the volume argument because we are not talking quantities anywhere near a rock star selling songs on iTunes! (this is a pet peeve of mine)
perhaps, with time, OpenSim content creators will shift and charge prices more along the norm. maybe not like TurboSquid pricing where you can buy an unrigged female model for $499 USD but certainly a few dollars for an OpenSim model is far too cheap!
good objects are worth a fair price and with the ability to run an entire grid for far less with OpenSim than SL, paying for nice content should be acceptable (imho)
the land business and content creation are only two ways to monetize the virtual world. events and conferences are another and something like Virtualis gains little advantage from being inSL (except for content to create their sims). the attendees of Virtualis conferences (about $7000 USD for an average event, at least a few years ago) are typically corporate people and not residents, so they wouldn’t know the difference (or care)
so far, all the above money ideas are the same as set by the Second Life paradigm
i don’t think we have seen all of the ways in which OpenSim can be used to generate revenue and breaking free from natural comparisons with Second Life will continue to require thinking outside the prim =)