On Thursday, June 23rd, Linden Lab officially launched the new Premium Plus subscription package (or membership package, if you prefer), offering a new range of benefits and bonuses to those who wish to avail themselves of them. Some of the benefits come into effect immediately for those taking out a Premium Plus subscription, and others will be deployed in the near future, with further benefits also being added over time.
Alongside the announcement (but not linked to it at the time of writing this) this Lab released a FAQ page on Premium Plus.
What is Premium Plus?
- Premium Plus is a new subscription package that increases the benefits and options to those taking it above those offered within the Premium package, as well as sharing some benefits in common with Premium.
- It does not replace Premium, which continues as a subscription package for anyone who prefers it.
- It does not change the Premium subscription package in any way, all benefits found within that package remain “as is” with the launch of Premium Plus.
- It is open to any Second Life user – you do not have to be / become a Premium subscriber before becoming a Premium Plus subscriber.
- It brings the total number of options for using Second Life to three: Basic, Premium and Premium Plus.
Premium Plus Benefits Comparison with Premium
The following as a complete a list of Premium and Premium Plus benefits I have been able to assemble based on available information, and should hopefully provide a direct comparison be tween the two. It may be subject to update.
Note that √ in any field means an unchanged benefit from Premium to Premium Plus.
|45-day L$ Sign-up Bonus¹||L$1000||L$3000|
|Weekly L$ Stipend²||L$300||L$650|
|Free Tier³||1024 sq m||2048 sq m|
|Linden Home Option4||Up to 1024 sq m||Up to 2048 sq m|
|Off-Line Message Cap||80||160|
|Upload Fees (textures, animations, sounds)||L$10 per item||Free|
|Name Changes (+VAT if applicable)||L$39||$155|
|Event Listing Fees||Single: L$10; Recurring L$50||Free|
|Group Creation Fee||L$100||L$10|
|Land Experiences (Experience Keys)||1||2|
|Support||Live Chat||Live Chat + toll-free ‘phone (International: use Skye or similar)|
|90-day transaction History||√||√|
|Premium Gifts||√||√ + Premium Plus exclusives|
|Premium Sandbox Access||√||√ + Premium Plus Sandboxes|
|Preferential Access to High-Volume Events||√||√|
- The 45-day sign-up bonus is open to both Basic and Premium membership upgrading the Premium Plus.
- Note this is a first-time sign-up bonus only, it will not apply if you downgrade and then re-up later.
- The Premium Plus Stipend – L$650 is a flat rate; there is no upward adjustment for those currently receiving Grandfathered stipends of L$400 or L$500.
- However, the Grandfathered status will be re-applied if the subscription is subsequently downgraded to Premium.
- Free tier can be used against Mainland land holdings; or against a Premium Plus Linden Home (coming soon); or a mix of Linden Home and Mainland land.
- Linden Homes:
- Only one Linden Home can be held per account (Premium or Premium Plus).
- The new Premium Plus Linden Homes will hopefully start to be deployed in late 2022.
- Once available, 2048 sq m Linden Homes will have their own themes / styles, and the 2048 sq m parcels may in the future be able to leverage versions of the Premium Linden Homes for those who would like a smaller house and more yard / water space.
- Premium Plus members will be able to go via Land Support to request they are given a specific Linden Home parcel this is not currently part of the automatic Linden Home assignment system (i.e. being handled by the Linden Homes ordering web page).
- Name Changes:
- Premium Plus subscribers can change their name for US $15, but this has to be done via an Account Issue support ticket (subtype Change Account Details).
- The first name remains free form, but the Last Name must be from the current Last Names list.
Premium Plus Fees Compared to Premium
All prices US dollars – see the section below for upgrading from Premium to Premium Plus.
|Quarterly Billing¹ ³||$32.97||Not available|
- Monthly and Quarterly billing are subject to VAT where applicable.
- Those taking a Premium Plus subscription in the first 30 days following the launch will be charged $24.99 for their first month and $29.99 thereafter.
- Quarterly Premium billing is only available to those who were on the billing plan prior to it being discontinued on June 24th, 2019.
- Annual billing is VAT exempt in those countries that normally charge VAT.
Upgrading from Premium to Premium Plus
Premium subscribers can upgrade to Premium Plus before their current subscription expires on prorate basis. So, as examples:
- An annual subscriber with 6 months to run on their Premium membership who upgrades to a annual Premium Plus package will have the remaining 6 months of their Premium applied to their Premium Plus subscription, reducing the fee payable at upgrade by that amount.
- An annual subscriber with 30 days remaining before renewal – approximately US $8.10 – who upgrades to a Monthly Premium Plus subscription after the discount period has ended, will pay $21.89 ($29.99-$8.10) for their first month.
Note that if the credit to be applied towards proration is larger than the value of the Premium Plus membership being upgraded to, Linden Lab will extend the renewal date for the Premium Plus membership to account for the additional value.
Patch Linden’s initial (and incomplete) outline of Premium Plus during his Meet the Lindens session as SL19B did not garner a good response within the forums, largely on the basis of pricing. And, in fairness there are reasons to feel the offering is over-priced; but equally, there are cases where it may be viewed favourably.
Take the free tier offering, for example:
- For those seeking modest mainland space or wanting to put the tier to Group use, an outlay of US $249 a year doesn’t come off well against promoting an alt account to Premium and paying a total of US $198 a year for the same free tier.
- For someone (like myself) who has both a Premium account + a modest amount of privately rented land (at US $10.50 a week), or someone on Basic paying (say) $15-20 a week for a moderate parcel, it is possible that – once available – the Premium Plus Linden Home with their double Land Capacity and fewer-per-region density over Premium Homes might be an attractive proposition.
Similarly, while the rest of the benefits look to be middling – I personally have little need for 70 Group slot, let alone 140! – others might will be appealing, such as the $15 Name Change fee, particularly among those who swap back and forth between names almost monthly (and there are some – I know a few!). However and overall, whether people find the offer in keeping with Brad Oberwager’s “give two dollars of value, but only charge a dollar” philosophy or not, is liable to be hotly debated.
For my part, would I move from Premium to Premium Plus? Quite possibly; as noted above, depending on how Premium Plus Linden Homes regions are presented (e.g. themes, water access), then there is an attraction for me in upping to Premium Plus and dropping the $530+ a year I spend on renting a small private island, particularly as upgrading in the next month will only cost me around $60; if nothing else it minimises my outlay and allows be to scope-out the upcoming Homes for a minimal additional amount over waiting until the end of the year (when my Premium renewal is due), in order to determine whether or not it is worth opting to live in one full-time and dropping the $530+ a year I’m paying for a small private island.
Published by Inara Pey
Eclectic virtual world blogger with a focus on Second Life, VR, virtual environments and technology. View all posts by Inara Pey