Monday, September 28, 2009

Advanced MCS Strategy: Your Footprint

In my previous blogpost I explained why you need to find long streets. But now, what's the best way to build them? Which buildings give you the best return on investment?

So, what are the figures?

Starting with the smallest building, the Green House, costing you can see it costs only 50K and returns a 50K rent. So that's a 100% return on investment! But what do you get from this building? I set out a small stretch of road, between two Blanco Bastions. Now to select the Green House. As you can see, there are 13 free markers. So for 650K I can get a 650K return in rents.

The Blanco Bastion costs 1.1M$ and returns a daily rent of 750 K$. However, there are only 3 free markers for building the Bastion. This little stretch could cost 3.3M$ and return a daily 2,25M$ with this type of building.

Now sadly, as the prices go up for appartments, the relative income drops severely. Whereas the return with a Blanco Bastion is still at about 70%, the return on a Briquette Tower is only 16.6% as it costs a ludicrous 15M$ to build and gives a return in rent of just 2.2 M$. So what's the best footprint to get?

The Cubic Quarters builds at 2M$ and returns 950K$, so nearly 50%. It's footprint allows upto 6 of these to be build on the stretch I set out, so 12M$ returns almost 6M$ in rents.

The Spear End Summit tower costs 5,000,000 $ and returns a daily rent of 1,300,000 $. As you can see, there are 7 free markers for building the Spear End. This little stretch could cost 35M$ and return a daily 9,1M$.

The Briquette Tower tower costs 15,000,000 $ and returns a daily rent of 2,500,000 $. As you can see, there are 5 free markers for building the Briquette. This little stretch could cost 75M$ and return a daily 12,5M$.

So basically I would say that in terms of footprint, probably the Spear End Summit gives you the best value for money, but it will take a lot of money to build a 24 M$ street with only Spear End Summits. I have started out building my street with Blanco Bastions and fill up the small spots in between with Spear End Summits. Seeing the numbers and the footprint, maybe it's smarter to build the Cubic Quarters all over.

Your Bonus Building Footprint

On the Monopoly City Street Headquarters blog there is an interesting comment on Strategy, namely the fact that bonus buildings have a different footprint as well:

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Your expectations of the Metaverse in 2007

This evening I took some time again to skim through my Linked-In network and browsed the questions from my connections. There's this lad, Rick, who's working on a thesis on Second Life and the metaverse. He posed this question:

Has Second Life in 2007 raised or lowered your expectations for the
Since the big hype in October of last year those who have been watching the Virtual World of Second Life have seen the hype come and go. But what have we learned from the most successful metaverse up to now? Has it raised or lowered your expectations for a social virtual world?

Now I had a bit of a fight with Linked-In tonight. My answer was too long (apparently 4000 characters max), I tried adding the last bit by clarifying, tried editing and finally deleting and start over again. However, that didn't work either as it said I had already posted. So here's my answer:

Early 2007 I said that the age of the Digerati was gone and that 2007 was the beginning of a new era, that of the Metarati, the visionairs that bring us the metaverse. It truly has begun. It's not just Second Life, but the whole industry.

The year isn't over yet and we've seen over 2 billion US$ in investments in the Networked Virtual Environment Industry. It's not just SL: It's platforms like Qwaq springing up for business, it's Neopets going 144 million subscriptions strong, it's Hipihi, Novoking and the other Chinese booms, it Football superstars and Barbie Girls boosting the extraverse (branded worlds) and it's Sony Home or Eve Online with the new Crytek engine bringing us superior graphics

Over the past year Second Life has drawn more media attention than any other virtual world, respectively positive and then later ill-informed negative publicity has driven the world of Second Life into a hype cycle, especially in the Dutch Press after the Dutch PCM Web (Personal Computer Magazine) picked up a story by the LA Times that companies are getting disappointed in Second Life.

It is another sign of old media living in total oblivion of what is going on.

"After an enormous hype om Second Life more and more 'experts' are getting sceptic on the added value of Second Life to business. Online visitors aren't big shoppers, but are mainly looking for entertainment" reads the introduction. Where did this come from? There's hardly a real life company to be found in Second Life that's actually selling stuff. If it ain't on offer, we can't buy it.
"Successfully promoting your company inside the virtual world of Second Life shows to be harder than expected. More and more marketing departments conclude that Second Life residents feel like visiting their online stores. "Actually there isn't any convincing reason to be present in Second Life" says Brian McGuinness, a Hotelchain bigshot in the LA times, and thus his company left Second Life"

Most of these 'marketing departments' probably have never seen Second Life from the inside. Many companies just use Second Life as another medium for corporate communication... without understanding it. It's back to the early 90's when serious companies launched crappy (excuse me) Frontpage websites.

In most cases there wont be a ROI (return on investment) indeed for the year to come, or even the year after. When will companies see that Second Life is not a commercial, a product flyer?
There are companies that dig SL though. Have a look at Intel and Cisco giving tech meetings and classes on Java and other skills. take a look at Philips taking surveys, or at ABN Amro organising sponsor events for non profits.

One of the most telling lines in this article is the following quote: "Analists from Forrester (yay, the big reasearchers) have calculated that at prime time there are only about 35,000 to 40,000 visitors in Second Life" Okay, prepare for another research paper (usual rates about $ 1.000,- US dollar / hard cash) telling you the same the counter on this webpage -an many many other websites - will show you every single day. The good news is: You don't even need to pay me L$ 1,000 to get this info. (Concurrent Logins as per june 07, now over 50K)

Now the Dutch seem to have been in the grips of hypecycles for several years now, on a range of subjects. The nation is becoming governed by the whims of media. The point is that most companies don't really have a clue either to what they want from a virtual world like Second Life. It still seems like many companies establish a presence in Second Life because everybody does so (that's no longer valid). It's like users: If you register for SL and have no idea what you want to do there, you're likely not to return. You're at a loss. Companies should have a goal in Second Life as well. Innovation, Exploration, Crowdsourcing, User Acceptance, Branding, Sponsoring whatever, just make up your mind and set some goals...

Aside from the misperceptions I have seen the virtual worlds grow. Many new startups stir up competition, challenging each platform to innovate and stay at the top. There’s the promise of new and converging media with projects like CSI:NY, The Office, Gossip Girls and the Korean Que Sera adding interactivity to television, which make me believe we are making progress on making these worlds fit for business. So yes, sofar 2007 has definately raised hopes of making the metaverse fit for business. Virtual Economies are the fastest growing economies on earth. Advancement in terms of stability and scalability are made in rapid succession. It's an enormously varied landscape though, different cultures, people and habits. A wide variety of engines are used to drive these worlds. Some are java-based, some are desktop applications that connect to grids and some are using streaming technology. It's almost impossible to try and define these worlds, let alone find ways for identity management unified communications, interoperability and portability for the sector. These are the steps we have to make these worlds an integral part of our daily work or leisure time.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

CSI (5) The Aftermath

It's saturday night. Just a few days ago we were all watching the grid with great anticipation to see what would be the outcome of the first CSI:NY goes Second Life show. There's many blogs out that that voice an opinion, but I'd pick out Ambling in Second Life over almost any other blog.

Here's Aleister's views:

As the hubbub starts to subside on the whole CSI:NY thing, I thought I would record some of the stuff that’s been rattling around in my head over the last few days.

My first reaction when I read all the hullabaloo coming out of the Virtual Worlds Conference was: “Meh.” However, folks with a far keener interest and knowledge of the entertainment and media industry were at pains to assure me that this was groundbreaking stuff, and that is was “game changing.” I thought I should wait and see. The impression given was that this represented a real leap forward in the pursuit of convergent media, and is the way of the Future. To quote Mr Zuiker, proud owner of the CSI franchise: “What’s the future of television? It is as follows: TV, online, mobile, and gaming.”

As for Linden Lab, CEO Phil Rosedale’s take, as quoted at Ugotrade was: “I think it is a great project. We don’t look for traffic for Second Life in general we more look for opportunities to present Second Life to people in a more obvious way to people who don’t understand it, or haven’t experienced it.”

So… a major leap in convergent media – and good exposure for Linden Lab.What could possibly go wrong?

The big risk we all knew about was grid overload, but so far (touch wood) this has not happened, in part because the invasion of newcomers simply has not happened on anything like the anticipated scale.

However, what I think has gone wrong is, frankly, the whole shebang. What I’ve noted, rather than a magical blending and blurring of the lines between reality and virtuality, is simply the co-opting of Second Life to act as a games
platform. A role for which it is particularly inappropriate – and for which CSI has no need, since such platforms exist already. Now, I’m not trying to be precious about SL here. In the whole wide metaverse there is clearly a large need for entertainment and, indeed, for gaming. But to be blunt, Second Life cannot offer the level of gameplay that seasoned gamers have good reason to expect.

And this leads to my next point. TV is an illusion, where it is necessary to tweak reality (and in this case, virtuality) in the interests of entertainment. CSI was not out to make a documentary about Second Life, and was bound to present it in a way designed to extract the maximum entertainment value. And this has led to 2 basic lies. First, that the Second Life virtual world is smooth, fast and beautifully detailed. This would be fine if newcomers weren’t then invited to come and try it out. The gulf between the TV version and the horribly laggy, grey, slow-rezzing virtuality cannot, to my mind, be called
“good exposure for Second Life”. The second lie is that Second Life is a sleazy game, populated by players. This lie was not necessary to the plot, and is the one with which I have the single biggest issue.

In common with many of the readers of this blog, I spend a great deal of time in Real Life extolling the features and benefits of Second Life and virtual worlds in general. Through this one piece of unnecessary scripting I feel like I’ve been thrown back a year in my own evangelising efforts; back to the days of: “Second Life? It’s just a game isn’t it? Full of sleazeballs and geeks.”
Again, how this view of Second Life can be viewed as “good exposure” I am at a loss to explain. This might also explain the less-than-impressive uptake of new accounts.

On a lighter note – I was tempted to call this piece: CISCO:NY. As I have mentioned previously, the grossly over-the-top “Ciscofication” was – to me at least – a complete turn-off.

I think Linden Lab have done themselves no favours here. It is not true that “all publicity is good publicity.” I am dismayed at the short-termism shown by Linden in going along with this farrago. Also, in handing over the source of the viewer to Electric Sheep we have the interesting situation where the open source code has been re-skinned, a few neat, new features added, and the whole thing seemingly locked up again as a proprietary product. Well that’s what I think.

So what did I get wrong?

The ciscofication maybe was a bit over the top, but here in Europe with tv stations like the BBC and public broadcasting companies in the Netherlands we do have a slightly different opinion of such blunt advertising. But seriously,

There's several blogs that have been negative over the amount of traffic generated by the CSI show. Well, it was aired in different timezones, people came in in several runs. And in the days after. True enough, these 16 million viewers didn't push the SL headcount from 9 to 10 million overnight, but it's too early to tell. There's a lot of speculation on how many came in. Prokovy Neva states (on the first timezone run):

"But the numbers of people on those sims, for the three
hours I watched them before, during, and after the CSINY show, couldn't have beat 5,000 concomittant, and no more than 20,000 max total arrivals. In fact, it's probably far lower."

For exact numbers we either have to wait for CSI or the Electric Sheep Company to come with traffic stats and onRez viewer downloads and compare them to next weeks' Headcount by Tareru Nino. I do believe though that the average number of concurrent logins is higher these days. I'm not saying it was a smashing success. The massive number of islands, the fuzz upfront made us expect a lot. Again, too early to tell. There may well be ROI's made, but not sure which. I hope it'll continue though. Haven't had time to start solving the murder yet, but I for one like the concept. Me liking something isn't a guarantee that it'll make you millions though.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

VeeJay @ San Jose Conference

Real Life has been very stressfull and very very busy this last month. Since there's Mrs. V and the Kids to keep in touch with I haven't really had time to dig into Second Life, let alone blog it.

Sorry folks.

The good news is, I'm getting back up to speed, starting with visiting the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo next week in San Jose, California. I'm really looking forward to it, especially since I've got an appointment with a Linden Lab employee on tuesday.

On wednesday and thursday you'd probably be able to catch me on these tracks:

Wednesday (10th):

  • Business Strategy & Investment --Economics of Virtual Worlds
  • Entertainment, Media & Marketing -- ROI How the rules are changing
  • Entertainment, Media & Marketing -- Entertainment in Virtual Worlds - It's Not Games. it's Not TV. It's....
  • Virtual Worlds for the Enterprise -- Applications that Work

Thursday (11th):

  • Business Strategy & Investment -- The Future of VW's
  • Virtual Worlds for the Enterprise -- Best practises for employees in VW's
  • Virtual Worlds for the Enterprise -- Creating a user community
  • Business Strategy & Investment -- Finance in a VW

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amsterdam sold once more

ANP, the Dutch Reuters, reports that Virtual Amsterdam is finally sold! This is the second time it is sold, the first deal fell through in early may. The buyer is, part of the Boom TV company.

The deal is countering recent Dutch press that is taking a negative view on Second Life. After Linden Labs released the official activity stats the Dutch press got a negative hiccup saying "only 17,000 Dutchmen are active in Second Life" Eric Rijkaart, Boom TV's CEO says that they've estimated Dutch activity to be around 7,000 at the time of purchase, so the new stats do open perspective in his view.

They're not expecting a shortterm ROI but inted to gather experience in Virtual Worlds which can be used later in other metaverses.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Real Life Cities 6: Augsburg

In Real Life, the german city of Augsburg was founded in 15 BC "in the reign of Roman emperor Augustus as a garrison called Augusta Vindelicorum." and opens up in virtual Second Life may 29th. Upon teleporting into the double sim I immersed in sight of the Augsburg Town Hall.

From upfront it looks quite decent, but from aside it looks a wee bit out of proportion. Around this landmark are several typical German houses of varying quality.

Throughout the center are stands and stages set up for the coming opening party, with a line-up of (to me) unfamiliar German artists. As with most virtual city replica's (or if you like VCR, since that term has become obsolete) the majority of the sim is reserved for shopping to get some return on investment (ROI).

In this particular case I doubt a ROI will be met, because the build itself doesn't attract me enough to come back since most of the sim is made up of the usual mainland ghetto-builds, and especially the second sim, Augsburg City II is entirely reserved for gaming and rentals with some luxury homes and casino's.

In short, I would have liked to see the Augsburger Dom (cathedral), the medieval Fünfgratturm tower, or I would even have settled for the Machinenfabrik Augburg which merged with the factory in Nurnberg to form the MAN factory where mr. Diesel himself pioneered the Diesel engine.

In short:

+ The Townhal is a decent build, though with few detail in interior decoration
- Missing a consistent theme and no other Augsburger landmarks
- Too many ready made, cheap builds scattered over the sim


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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Virtual Banking (2): ING and Our Virtual Holland

At the Media Plaza Second Life seminar Gertjan Kaaij, Business Innovator of the ING held a presentation about ING in Second Life.... well, not exactly. The Dutch baking and insurance company ING they started cruising the virtual worlds in late 2006, but did not see a ROI on short term.

So there wasn't a big ING hit to launch, then what else to do? For the time being, ING uses SL mainly as a branding medium. They've hired Rivers Run Red to build a region of sims called "Our Virtual Holland"

The plan is for Our Virtual Holland to evolve into a virtual mini-state, and to this end they have been offering free parcels of land to would-be residents. Don't all rush to the website though - the offer closed on 21st March. Rather than churn out all the details here, I would refer you to this page of their website, which tells you everything you need to know (if not, try their FAQ). As is usual with SL that magic word for 2007, "Innovation", looms large. I will be interested to see what emerges. Certainly the pittoresque windmills will add to that innovative spirit...

At the moment ING is working with partners like the Rijksmuseum to add some spirit to the sims.

Pictures kindly provided by Sir Aleister Kronos

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