Linden Lab has made a very important step today, they undid one of their biggest mistakes of the last years.
Educational and Nonprofit Institutions used to get private regions with a 50% discount but this was cancelled in 2010, a very bad decision.
It caused many of SL’s educational sims to pack up their bags and leave.
Making an educational sim profitable is very difficult, I should know as I run The 1920s Berlin Project.
And of course it is important that these institutions get some help.
Cutting their discount did a lot of damage to the relationship between SL and many educational institutions and I fear that many won’t return, even now the discount is back.
Regardless of its steep learning curve and all its issues, SL remains the best tool for virtual online education and it is good that LL now wants these people to come back.
LL is showing that they ARE willing to lose some revenue, give discounts, lower tier, lets hope that they will now start thinking about doing the same to regions in general.
Not give everyone a discount, but create different kinds of tier, as I wrote about here in this blog.
Educational sims are important to SL, they show the outside world that this virtual world is not just about shopping and hanky panky.
When the Oculus Rift comes to SL, using it for educational will become even more interesting.
Imagine a history class in school where all the students put on their Rift and explore a Roman city… or 1920s Berlin!
I am not sure if the educational sims will come back, they may have found other places they can use for their projects or have just given up on virtual education for now.
But SL is (still) one of a kind and the alternatives that are out there just don’t cut it.
So who knows.
Either way, it is a step in the right direction even though it undoes a step that never should have made in the first place.
You can find the official announcement here;
Updated Pricing for Educational and Nonprofit Institutions