I was saying to some of my friends a few days ago, ‘we aint heard much from the Rodvik of late’, low and behold he surfaces briefly in the SL Universe forums with a very interesting question.
“Actually I do have a question for folks here. Assuming SL improved performance enormously, from region crossings to lag to render times. (big assumption I know but roll with me here) What would you do to insure new users “stuck”?
Right now after performance our biggest issue is not getting new signups or even people to experience SL for a bit, its turning them into long term users.
Any thoughts on what you would do? We have some ideas but before pulling the trigger I would be curious what folks thoughts are here. The more varied the better.
Well every longterm SL resident has their own ideas on how SL could be better, it’s like you can’t call yourself a hard core SL user unless you have your own improvement strategy.
So what would improve long term retention for SL?
Most users would shout REDUCE THE FREAKIN PRICE! and i used to think that to. But after reading a blog post or two and my own experience with running a shop while owning a private region i’m fully aware now that reducing the price won’t make a difference. For example the high price makes you think hard about getting an island filtering out people who might think its great the first month then decide to not come back the month after for what ever reasons. Im not saying the price isn’t too high, I’m just saying i think reducing the price won’t have much of an effect on getting new users to stay. I’d love it if after two years of owning an island LL would give private region owners a free openspace sim for being so nice and loyal (HINT!).
Other users have said things like viewer improvements, re-instating orientation island etc. I have my own ideas of course so i guess i should just present them.
I have made a list of questions that the Newb must answer.
For the majority of Newbs I’ve briefly met, their answers to these questions are as follows
Ask a long term resident the same questions and their answers more than likely have changed to something resembling this…
We are the lucky ones, we somehow discovered or created groups/communities that we could join and be part of. We some how realised the scale of SL and it’s possibilities and thats why we stay. But how did we do that?
As a Newb its never really clear about community or groups. The Focus is on making friends, meeting people and exploring places which is fine until you arrive at a place figure out how to use controls and see just one other person and you wonder what you should be doing.
It actually freaks me out that i get about 30 newbs a day arriving first thing on my island and they have no idea what to do there. My group of Goonies know what to do there, they run around fighting goblins, telling stories and chat about the films they saw at the cinema before organising to go explore a new region for an adventure. This is why they stay. this is what the newbs need to learn, but how?
If only there was a way to encourage Newbs to engage in connecting with others as a kind of springboard in to the wider diverse community.
We’ve all seen the ‘recommendations’ in SL feed, an attempt to get users to meet new people. How well does that actually work? Anyway i don’t think meeting random people based on 2 words in common is very comfortable. if your interests recommended groups that were listed with those interests, perhaps that would work better. Think of Groups as Guilds. Meeting a variety of people who all have common interests improves your chances of finding things you might want to become involved with.
The destination guide could be more of a game. Give newbs a reason to explore more by collecting destinations that they like and rate on their SLprofile , a sort of digital passport. Then depending on what places they’ve rated highest in their collection recommend other places and groups that fit similar interests.
For Gods sake Improve the Groups functionality in SL. make it easier for the newb to see group notifications and better organise notifications for easy finding (suggest nicking OSX Mountain Lions Notification centre). Allow Group owners and moderators more features to engage with their members and encourage activities. Have SLfeed profiles for groups allowing event calendars and members to have posts containing specific group hashtags to appear in the groups Feed.
All these suggestions are off the top of my head but the crux of the matter is that the Community features in SL that i and my friends use to stay in touch, keep informed and help us feel connected, and in turn keep us logged in together are not clearly visible quickly enough to the new user.
The result is, they came, they saw, they learned there is nothing to do, and they left.
Extra thoughts: Just a note. I joined Star Wars: The Old Republic and played it for a month. I love start wars, and the game looked great, so why did i not continue playing it? I did not make any friends or join a guild so all i was left with was the single player story which i completed or got bored with. There is no single player mode in SL