Kitely cuts prices, adds cover charges

Kitely, the OpenSim grid that charges people for the time they use rather than how much land they have, announced a dramatic price cut today, reducing the cost of its unlimited use plan from $100 to just $35 a month. The company also added a new feature where region owners can bill visitors for the time they spend on their land.

Price cuts

Kitely is a cloud-based grid, where regions are only up and running when people are visiting them. This already allows Kitely to offer lower land prices than most other OpenSim hosting vendors.

With this price cut, the company becomes even more competitive.

New price list. (Image courtesy Kitely Ltd.)

However, while usage prices went down, land prices went up slightly. Previously, users who wanted to have more worlds than what came free with their monthly plan would pay 10 cents a month per world. Now, that price has gone up to US $1 a month per worlds. And by “world” Kitely means a region on their grid.

These are high-performance regions, too. They hold up to 100,000 prims — comfortably, as recent tests demonstrated. (You can visit a 100,000-prim test region here.) And they can hold up to 100 avatars at once. Vivox voice is included, as well as OAR exports and imports, and the platforms runs the latest version of OpenSim with mesh, media-on-a-prim, NPCs, and other new bells and whistles.

The Serenity Island region by Lawrence Pierce is an extremely complex, rich build with 100,000 prims. Click image to visit. (Image courtesy Lawrence Pierce.)

In addition, the new $35 unlimited use plan only comes with 20 free worlds, instead of the 100 free world that came with the $100 plan.

One possible reason for the increase in land prices is that land is about to get a lot better — depending on the plan, customers will be able to have worlds that are more than one region in size — four-region, nine-region, and even 16-region worlds are currently in the works.

There was also one more significant pricing change. Free users previously got one region and two hours of usage a month. Now, during their first month in Kitely, users will get six hours — but this will revert back to two hours a month for subsequent months.

Cover charges

By default, Kitely users pay for their own time whenever they visit other people’s regions, though some region owners may optionally choose to cover the usage costs for their visitors.

Now, however, there are two additional options. First, region owners can now add an extra charge on top of what their visitors normally pay, and keep it, minus a 10 percent commission to Kitely. This allows event organizers, for example, to easily charge attendees, teachers to charge their students, musicians to collect money from their audiences, and popular bars to have cover charges.

Second, region owners can also choose to pay attendees. For example, they can pay bar tenders, musicians, teachers or dancers for the time they spend at work.

All of these options can be mixed-and-matched on a single region. At a concert, for example, musicians can be paid, VIPs can attend for free, and regular audience members can pay the cover charges. Kitely uses Facebook groups, Twitter lists, and in-world groups to determine who gets what kind of access, and everything is managed through a simple web interface.

Access control management panel. (Image courtesy Kitely.)

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Thank you for the coverage Maria.

    If anyone has any questions regarding this update then please post them here in the comments and I’ll promptly answer them.

    • Ener Hax

      so . . . if we had our 16 regions and wanted your unlimited plan, it would cost us $51 per month. now how does it work for visitors?

      say we had 20 users per week, each spending two hours on our regions, hat would it cost us to cover them?

      also, if (big if) our concurrency exceeded capabilities, can a duplicate region spawn and thus take advantage of what makes cloud based services attractive.

      • Ener Hax

        derr, not “hat” . . . what. =)

      • Hi Ener,

        The Gold Plan includes 20 free regions so you won’t need to pay extra if all you have is a 16 region world. The cost for yourself would therefore be $35/month.

        20 users * 2 hours/week * $0.20/hour (buying KC at max discount) * 4.35 weeks/month = $34.8

        Total cost = ~$70 / month

        Our system automatically allocates more CPU and RAM to sims that have high concurrency (placing less on-demand sims on the same server). This can take seconds/minutes/hours (depending on what sims are sharing the same server) but still enables a single sim to have up to 4 times as many resources allocated to it as when it starts with just one user inside it. Sims which have high concurrency over extended periods of time will therefore likely run on their own server after a while (which AFAIK is not something you get with other OpenSim hosting providers unless you rent a dedicated server).

        Sharding, which is what you asked about (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massively_multiplayer_online_game ), is not supported by OpenSim and we haven’t added any proprietary code to support it as of yet. In any case, a better approach may be to use Intel’s Distributed Scene Graph once it becomes mature enough for commercial deployment.

        • sounds ideal and thank you for the thorough answer. yes, we do have our own dedicated physical server from Limestone Networks

  • Phoneix Dreamscape

    “With this price cut, the company becomes even more competitive.”

    I’d have to agree. Kitely was very competitive before the price cut, this puts Kitely way ahead of the other OS based commercial grids.

    None of the others offer a FREE region for free accounts like Kitely does.

    The most expensive plan Kitely offers will not even get you a single region elsewhere. So for about half of what the others charge for a single region, you get 20 regions in Kitely.

    That puts Kitely beyond competition with the rest of them.

    This is not a paid endorsement. Ilan did not tell me to post this. I am not an Ilan alt. I am a very happy Kitely customer who is simply delighted with the price cuts and I’m eagerly looking forward to the megaregions 🙂

  • Pirate’s Atoll Member

    Cool! All they need is hypergriding and the ability to change their currency via something like Virwox, and I will have a hard time not wanting to move most of my sims there.

    • We’re currently working on getting a registered third-party exchange to trade in Kitely Credits. I don’t yet have an estimate when that will be announced but it should only be a matter of time.

      As for hypergrid, we’re waiting for HG 2.0, with its improved content controls, to be rolled out before we enable Hypergrid access on Kitely. Once it’s ready, we’ll add a per-world option to enable/disable Hypergrid access.

    • I’m anxiously waiting for hypergridding, too. Once that’s available, it will dramatically change the dynamics of the hypergrid. I can see people running high-use regions on standard, dedicated servers, and low-use residential regions on Kitely. 

      I’m not sure how they’ll handle inbound hypergrid visitors to for-pay Kitely regions, however. If they automatically create new accounts for new visitors, giving everyone six free hours to start, then Kitely becomes attractive for public events, stores, clubs, and other high-volume uses as well — and could help the company see viral growth.

      Either way, other grids and hosting companies — including Second Life — will have to step up.

      I’d also like to see Kitely start offering private white-label grids, with all the Kitely branding replaced by the private grid’s branding, with a choice of different hypergrid options and land prices. I think that could be VERY appealing for companies and groups looking to start their own grids and set their own usage and access policies, and maybe charge extra for land in return for community services, custom content, or whatever they want to offer.  And these private-label grid don’t necessarily have to charge higher prices. They could charge lower prices, and offset their costs by selling virtual merchandise, ads, group memberships, physical goods, store rentals, or have casinos (in jurisdictions where they’re allowed, of course).

  • Linda Kellie

    I like Kitely and I think Ilan is amazing but the pricing there has always made my head hurt. I read everything you wrote and I still don’t understand it. I wish it was just a simple structured pricing. Or I wish I was smarter lol. 

    • Thank you for the kind words Linda 🙂

      Think of it like a mobile phone plan. You get a certain amount of airtime for your own calls each month. Other people calling you pay for their own airtime or, if you want, you can allow them to call you collect in which case you pay for their call.

      • Linda Kellie

        yeah that’s just it. My daughter is the manager of the cell phone place where I got my phone and I had her set me up with a plan that is a certain fee and I get all of my calls free and I don’t have to worry about airtime. I don’t get charged extra for long distances. I pay for a much bigger texting plan than I will ever use so I don’t have to worry about going over minutes. I pay a flat rate and that is what is simple to me. 🙂

        • Our Gold Plan is exactly like that. You pay a fixed cost per month and all your own “airtime” on Kitely is covered. Just like with your mobile phone plan, if someone else calls you he or she may still be billed by their own phone company for doing so. The fact that you have a fixed cost phone plan doesn’t mean other people aren’t charged for their own airtime as well.

          • Greg Birkett

            The easy way to put it is for a $35/month membership.. your time is now unlimited. Pretty much, this means you can spend all the time you could ask for in your own worlds and free worlds. The great advantage you now have is that you can change a web setting and either pay people to COME to your world, or CHARGE people to come there on a per-minute fee. The most amazing part is this setting can be different for anyone you chose. (It’s not “global”) 

             So basically, each region has a cost by time. If you own it, or if the owner has it set to “free” (they pay the cost for each person) you’ll pay nothing. 
            Then there’s the option for things like live music where they either pay YOU per minute or you pay per minute you’re there. Effectively, what this is doing is letting everyone pay their own usage regardless of what world they’re on.  Pretty ingenious if you ask me.  🙂   Well done, guys! What separates Kitely from everyone else, is they’re all about their users, and not all about the commercial side of it. I had a slight hiccup with an upload my first day on a server, and instead of replying to the ticket, Ilan came out to see it for himself and talk to me. That’s going to stick with me for quite some time to come. Other businesses like these i don’t even REMEMBER the last time i saw someone who actually “worked” there.

          • Thanks Greg. Just want to clarify one point. With unlimited time you can actually spend all the time that you like in any world that isn’t configured to charge you extra, i.e. in your own worlds and in other people’s worlds that don’t require a cover charge.

          • Linda Kellie

            Ah this all is starting to make sense to me now. And that sounds like a great deal. Thanks for explaining it all. 

          • Thank you Linda 🙂

  • I think Maria made an important point regarding private grids and branding. A lot seem to want their own brand name up there as evidenced by the growing grid list. I too would prefer to see my grid name up their in the role play listings and for that I would be willing to pay a higher fixed hosting fee for Kitely grid services and economy if I can have it set up as a private grid with it’s own web service and registration. However, I have been considering many options including Dreamland Metaverse which offers scalable grid services too.  Kitely dose though meet a lot of my requirements although I am still waiting for HG2 and for Kitely to enable hypergrid before making any final decision. Presently, my work load is high anyway what with scripting and making themed clothing, airships & sailing ships and generally building my world on a closed server so I have been in no hurry to add more land.

    Here is something that should be said though. Second Life performance has got a lot better of late and I think that is every bit a response to the growing competition. But Linden Labs can never compete on open Metaverse pricing anyway. All they can do is rely on loyalty, their large traffic flow and the huge content base they control. Cloud Party, on the other hand, probably doesn’t present much of a threat to Second Life but it may well be a problem for Kitely if both want to soak up Facebook users. Here CP has the edge even though Kitely is easy to launch it still needs a full viewer. CP uses webGL which puts a casual visitor in the world right there on a web page in seconds – not even a plugin!

    Kitely might have their own plans for webGL and I would predict anyone that comes up with an application to stream Opensim worlds to a web page like CP has done would stand to make good money from it either by direct sale or advertising on the page. Getting people in world is just as important as all the building tools and stuff. More so I think because empty sims are dead worlds. A web page application doesn’t need everything or even building tools – a full viewer can be used for that. A web page viewer is like CP, an immediate first look at the world. They can play the game if that’s what its all about, or socialize and shop and dress up without ever leaving the page just like a chat room only in glorious 3D. If they want to build then they must be capable of going the extra mile and downloading a full viewer.

    The Open Metaverse is still very small even after 5 years of development so low cost is not the main factor in it’s growth. I think some of those things that are still missing are the main factors such as decent physics and better border crossings not to mention general stability and content security which hopefully will see some improvement in HG2 are the main factors for growth. All the other shinny bits and bobs can be rolled out later. I still think some of the developers, bless their cotton socks, have their priorities back to front but that just me being impatient I guess.

    • Gaga —

      I totally agree with you. And reading your comment gave me some ideas for potential monetization strategies for a WegGL viewer. I think I’ll write it up as a post. Maybe it will give someone some ideas!

      • Thank you Maria. I will be very interested to read the post when it is done.

  • The user stats keep dropping in Second Life, it’s been an overall trend for awhile. 
    I’m not sure whether that’s due to residents migrating to the OS Grid or if interest in virtual worlds is itself dwindling.  I’d love to see a write up exploring that question and if it’s interest dropping, creative ways to get people excited about virtual worlds 2.0.

    I think Kitely’s latest updates are beyond awesome. I can’t wait for HG, too. 

    I also think LL is sweating bullets right about now. 

    SL might have a chokehold on all the awesome content but with each new roll out from Kitely making it insanely affordable, one would have to be nuts to pay nearly 300 bucks a month for one region and 30 or so avis before it locks up when they can pay 35 bucks, have 20 regions to develop, unlimited use time, 100k prims and avis, built in griefer control, OAR imports/exports, in world credit currency (for now), just on that. Once HG opens up and the metaverse becomes inherently accessible to inbound and outbound traffic, the content problem will vanish…and then LL won’t have enough virtual pets on the planet to stop the exodus. 

    *grabs popcorn* gonna be awesome!

  • JAllard

    I still cant understand why someone should pay one single buck for running their own sim, rather then their own electricity and internet provider bills. Opensim is an opensource software and its maturity point raised the level where everyone could simply download it and double click on opensim.exe and voila : you just got your free region up and running. And that’s since ages now. There are a bunch of wiki pages wrote everywhere on the opensim.org website and all over the internet on how to do that. And if you really cant host your sim from your desktop because some loopback weirdness and/or other unknown reasons, you can have how many virtual or dedicated servers at the half of the price any opensim hosting company charges : you can have even small instance for free over amazon if you never had an amazon account or you can just pay for a higher amazon instance with better performance on demand…still at half the price someone else would charge to you. And please dont blame people’s skills : 2012 is here, you dont have any skill and you still can dowload sim-on-a-stick or diva distro and double click on something like an exe file or a bat and have your region up and running in seconds (oh…i forgot NewWorldStudio…meh…). I would appreciate it as a contribution if someone would offer help to setup people’s own servers with opensim over amazon or over any other “server” hosting company and would pay for that if i REALLY had no skills to run something like sim-on-a-stick. Wake up guys, wake up : paying any opensim hosting company is kinda helping hosting company owners to pay THEIR RL bills (and their ads campaigns)! If you are able to run a viewer….you are able to run your own region…hugs

    • Okay, I can respond to this.

      I’m not a professional developer but I probably have better IT skills than 99% of the lay population — I’ve been covering tech for a long time, and worked as a programmer in high school and college.

      I set up and ran — router and all! — my first at-home OpenSim back in 2009: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2009/04/hosting-a-virtual-universe-on-my-pc/

      Since then, I’ve successfully set up a Diva Distro, and, most recently, New World Studio.

      And what I quickly found out is that running your own OpenSim server is a lot like running your own webserver. Something is always going wrong. 

      The computer gets turned off. Something needs backing up. Something else needs updating. The router suddenly stops working. I once spent a month — a month — trying to figure out why a sim that worked perfectly suddenly, for no reason, stopped working. I reinstalled OpenSim, the database, mono — finally, I wiped the whole computer and started from scratch. (That worked.)

      The other way I wanted to do some quick building. I’ll throw up a quick NWS, I thought, but no, for some reason I was unable to configure the router — even though I did, before. Finally, I gave up, went to Kitely, did everything I needed to in a few minutes, got my OAR, and was done. 

      The cloud, did you say? The Amazon EC cloud? That can work. I set up an AWS account, installed some weird credential thing, got an instance of a server running, installed an image of OpenSim on it. It didn’t work. Four months later, I realized I was still getting billed for the server even though I’d shut it off. Fortunately, Amazon refunded me the money but I think I was just lucky there. Amazon EC2 is not meant for mere humans, and I think they recognized that i was a mere mortal from my emails to them and took pity on me. 

      Today, I run some regions with Dreamland Metaverse, some regions with Kitely, and still have some at home that I boot up once in a while. 

      But my hosted regions can hold more stuff (Kitely regions go up to 100,000 prims), more people (at home, I’m lucky if I can get 2 or 3 simultaneous visitors), more scripts, more everything. Plus, they do the backups, the updates, the restarts, the patching — everything I’d rather not do, thank you very much!

      Now, there are people who enjoy messing around with this stuff. So it doesn’t matter how long it takes to keep it going, they have fun with it, and that’s what matters. And when you have fun with it, and do it often, it gets easy and obvious.

      When you don’t have fun with it, and you do it rarely, it gets very difficult and frustrating.

      For example… I enjoy knitting. It’s relaxing and easy for me. I can get a lot of satisfaction from knitting up a nice sweater. Someone else who doesn’t enjoy knitting can probably learn the basic skill — it’s not rocket science — but knitting a sweater will be unpleasant, and take forever. Easier to just buy it in the store. And when you consider the time spent, more cost effective, too.

      Or .. to pick a less gender-specific skill … gardening. Sure, you can grow your own tomatoes and they’ll taste great. But most of us don’t, unless we have plenty of time on our hands, and unless we actually enjoy gardening.

      • JAllard

        252,109 registered users (this is from your latest grid stats) : the most of them are not like you said eh ? And with “the most” i meant the most of “us” grow our own tomatoes…a fewer of “you” still wasting money with so-called hosting companies. The most of us unlike to read about opensim as “dramatic cut prices”, “reducing the cost of unlimited plan”, “cover charges” or ”
        add an extra charge on top of what their visitors normally pay”. This is not opensim Maria…this is what hosting companies would like opensim beeing….thanks God…this is not opensim. And writing about opensim like that, is not talking about opensim, but talking about someone’s bills. PS : i would suggest you to update your Diva Distro or your sim-on-a-stick Maria, they run great and you should have users stats running Diva or sim-on-a-stick somewhere on this website…you’ll find nice tomatoes among there.

        • I publish the Diva and Sim-on-a-stick stats every month, in the grid report that comes around around the 15th. 

          And I agree that there’s a certain amount of satisfaction from doing it yourself.

          For me, it’s just not worth it. I get better performance from a hosting provider, support, etc… — and I don’t have much free time to spend messing around with running a server. What free time I have, I’d rather spend doing something else. The few bucks a month I spend on OpenSim for personal use is well worth it — and any money I spend on a corporate grid is a business expense. 

          Meanwhile, I think if we wait a year or two, we’ll have some high-quality sim hosting for free — just like there are places you can have your blog for free. 

          Meanwhile, there is one use of home-based sims I’m not seeing enough of yet – for distributed, hypergrid-based role playing games.

          If you’re a gaming geek, and get a couple of dozen of friends together who are all gaming geeks, and each of you runs a little four-region mini grid (using Diva, Sim-on-a-stick or New World Studio), and you connect them all together with hypergates, you wind up with something like a 100-region area for roleplaying in. And if you know your way around console commands, you can even use link regions so that they all appear on the same map. 

          Or maybe this is happening already and I just haven’t heard about it? 

          • JAllard

            Of course it’s already happening and it sounds me odd you havent heard about it : just look at sci community in osgrid where a bunch of regions got a nice spot of about 50 regions all self hosted, or look for the Gor community or the sweet BDSM one or nationals spot all over the open grids (NWG included) or again the norwich community in OSG or again a very active Christian community which provides weekly religious functions in SL,in OSG and in NWG (this one runs great over the pastor’s laptop with NewWorldStudio working perfectly). Educators and scientist dont need to be mentioned because you already know that. 8961 regions in OSG + 2473 in SS are the most self-hosted and in my opinion that’s why opensim was born and that’s why OSG exists.
            “Dramatic cut prices”…where’s the drama ? I can see it though : drama will pop-up once someone will realize there is NO technology allowing you to host a region for 1 buck/mo and if someone is doing that, will pay more later, when that hosting company will realize no economy growing and no enough earnings to survive. Time will tell but i already can point you to a bunch of hosting companies already failed and went out of business because that : opensim users are not looking for a SL clone, we dont need it, we dont wanna it. If i want something like SL i’ll play SL, not opensim.

        • I first successfully ran my own sim for about two years. Then I opted to become a Kitely customer.

          In some ways, either option suits my needs. Under both circumstances I am able to access my region remotely, and others can be given that access as well. Although I considered some of the emphasis on communities available on hosted services, my interest has always been more artistic – OpenSim is my canvas and my region is my artwork.

          Over time, however, I came to feel there were a number of small advantages to using a host which finally added up to a decision to move in that direction. It really wasn’t about technical skills, it was about the value-added features that hosts offer.

          Kitely does not charge for OpenSim. They charge for the services they offer that makes using OpenSim with them more convenient, more reliable and more readily available than I would be offering if I ran the region myself. For this I am comfortable paying a fair and reasonable price, and their pricing impresses me as completely legitimate. Even more, I hope they are benefitting from this endeavor in their real life because that would ensure their service into the future, and it would be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

          • JAllard

            Lawrence, i’m glad you are ok with your hosting company and i respect the choice you made. I would underline some important concepts you mentioned though : “their pricing impresses me as completely legitimate” and “I hope they are benefitting from this endeavor in their real life because that would ensure their service into the future”. That’s the question ! No and no! Hosting companies are not benefitting from this endeavor and cut prices is not the solution : it’s a drug. A real economy stands up only when happens that “win-win situation” you mentioned. Look at Maria’s hosting company page on this website : i can see only a couple of them would benefit form their activity but (you know it because you ran your own region for about 2 years) what to expect from someone claiming to host your region for 12 bucks/month ? I heard someone charged 5.95/mo in the past. And now this “dramatic cut prices”…yes Lawrence, 
            option suits your needs but you know that feeling suddenly appeared since first time you got your first land by your hosting company : does my region still exist ? Every morning you start your Imprudence and that question is inside your brain and it starts when you push your login button and last after the “Loading world…” message. Oops…you are in Lbsa…:D  

          • Hi JAllard,

            Are you aware that Kitely is self funded and hosts more regions than all the other commercial OpenSim grids? That Kitely developed unique technology that isn’t part of OpenSim that allows it to host so many regions for a fraction of what it would cost other companies to do so? That Kitely is one of the for-profit companies that actively develops OpenSim and allows this open source project to continue to advance to the benefit of everyone using it?

            If you look at the number of commits made to the OpenSim code base over the last couple of years you’ll see that a great majority of them were made by people whose livelihood is somehow connected to OpenSim. If they all decide that they can no longer profit from doing so then they’ll stop working to develop OpenSim and OpenSim’s rate of development will slow down significantly. Don’t believe me, see what happened to other big open-source projects that lost all their commercial developers – most of them became unmaintained and the remainder have continued to develop at a much slower rate, making them more irrelevant as time goes by. A big codebase requires a lot of expertize and time to master, hobbyists can do so but if you look at studies done about open source projects you’ll see that a big project’s success is almost always dependent on companies footing the bill to hire people to develop and maintain it.

            I completely agree with you that OpenSim providers that offer deals that sound to good to be true are most likely to fail. However, Kitely does provide free regions with its Free Plan and each of those regions does support 100,000 prims. Don’t believe me? Go to Kitely, open a free account, create a new world and copy/paste objects until you reach 100,000 prims. Alternatively, just go to http://www.kitely.com/virtualworld/Lawrence-Pierce/Serenity-Island-Prim-Capability-Test-2 and see Lawrence’s prim capability experiment.

          • JAllard

            Hey Ilan, congrats for the kitely project. I have something to say though : 
            1.- “self-funded” doesnt mean a guarantee for your customers/employers, unless you are going to publish detailed financial reports as we should expect from a trusted commercial company. Unfortunately you always refused that, whenever Maria asked. Even currency exchange statistics are the base for a trustable internal economy : solid companies like OMC, for example, always publish their stats as a transparency statement for their customers and investors. Others always refused…and we had to watch them miserably failing (me looks at Frank Corsi G$ as an example)2.- I agree with you but unfortunately i cant see any of your contribution to the opensim code, nor from one of your alts/employers (unless i’m not aware of),  i can see, instead, other trusted hosting companies with their contributions to the code (me looks at Snoopy for example or Melanie’s Avination code backported to opensource)3.- Looking at Maria’s latest grid stats, ther’s something i cant understand : you’re claiming to host 2060 regions but showing 30 days users of 238 – IW 5804 regions with 117 per 30 days users – Avination 552 regions with 2283 active users – OSG 8961 regions and 3606 active users. Personally i consider the most trustable the OSG one since it’s known they are periodically cleaning inactive regions from the grid, dunno if Avi and IW do, i’d like to know if yours 2060 are all active regions and how can give you the proof of it. Maria always warns about sim-on-a-stick and Diva’s stats, because a lot of people just download it, tries it but we dont know if they’ll use it daily. I was in kitely since it was born Ilan and i already had my free region there…i wonder if its still active. Since, really, Ilan, 238 active users in the last 30 days means less then 8 users per day on kitely…if you consider yourself and a couple of your employers…dunno how much 5 or 6 people fit 2060 regions there…and that’s for-profit ?4.- 100k prims are a great deal and congrats to Lawrence’s that i already visited but unfortunately it doesnt impress me a lot, since bulletsim already shown something more reliable of that with physical prims and Aurora-sim project, for example, runs 80k prims by default easily and smoothly and there’s a nice video about those guys hosting 1000 avatars on a region with minimal lag : you know Ilan, the more your hardware caps are fine, the more it runs smooth…and that’s not for 1buck/mo.

          •  Hey JAllard. If you have been in Kitely so long I am surprised you didn’t notice that it’s Ilan’s partner, Oren Hurvitz on most of the patches submitted to core. Kitely has been a big contributor to Opensim as it goes and, really, Ilan is absolutely right you know. Opensim owes a lot to industry code work. Big names like IBM and Intel have all contributed.

            I agree one should take care about hosting since cheap hosting can bring a company down like it did Nova and people lose their sims and work (although one should back up everything). I think Kitely is a good company and they are not only very supportive of the free Metaverse whether they host for you or not and, truly, I don’t think Ilan has ever said anything he has not delivered on. I would trust Kitely.

          • JAllard

            Hey Gaga, thanks for clarifying that and no, i wasnt aware Oren was Ilan’s partner. The problem isnt Kitely (which is great) the problem is a general issue about balancing profits with prices and offered services. Right now, i dont thing Kitely is profitting, unless again i’m wrong and unless Ilan will publish reports saying that. I dont think even both IW and Avi are profitting as well (means “both-of-them” for sure one of them is).
            Gaga…you did trust even Nova, maybe because Enrico’s effort but…that guy wasnt profitting too and Ilan was one of those warning him.
            Cheers

          • Hi JAllard,

            Kitely isn’t making as much money as Inworldz yet but we are already cash flow positive (we earn more than our total expenses).

            Nova tried to place OpenSim (or AuroraSim) instances on underpowered Amazon EC2 instances (Tiny). That was not realistic and I warned him of that fact. Kitely, on the other hand, places between 1 and 4 sims on the much more powerful Large EC2 Instances. Which, as our users can attest, provides a very good inworld experience. The reason we can afford to do this is that we only allocate those hardware resources when there is someone who actually uses the sim and we charge that person/people for that time more than it costs us to pay Amazon.

          • When I commented about using Kitely, I thought the issue was the service value of hosting companies for the customer. Now my take on this discussion is on the stability of hosting companies, measured by their current profitability (or is the direction something else again?).

            I chose Kitely in part because I felt they have a solid and professional business approach. The growth of this industry will come from users demanding goods and services, not demanding that hosting companies be fully formed robust examples of transparent success even before they have a market. In the meantime, there are clues that point in the direction of any start-up’s future success. I have business experience and recognized that Ilan and Oren have created a solid offering with many of the hallmarks of successful enterprises.

            Despite the numerous examples of poorly executed hosting companies, others are legitimate start-ups that are exploring their options for developing a durable service model. I see them working on the pricing/service combinations that are both sustainable and appealing to consumers, which is the classic challenge for any business, even charities. I believe that if any company can “make it” in sim hosting, Kitely will. Still, that is no guarantee. However, the Kitely founders have the most to lose – if they close shop some day, I can move my sim to another service, but they will simply be out of the game. I’m reminded of something I once read about the fear of flying: Most of the fear comes from not having control. However, even though the control is with the pilots, remember that they want to arrive safely just as much as you do!

            And as an aside on the 100,000 prim capability region – that was a response to a challenge made in a Second Life forum questioning the technical capability promotions of Kitely. In actual practice, a region with that many prims can easily become unusable, not because the backend cannot handle it, but because most people do not have powerful enough computers with correspondingly fast Internet connections to achieve a decent frame rate. I did ask Ilan about Bullet physics, but all things considered, that is a more distant priority compared to other priorities, and the same issue of customer computer capabilities would remain a bottleneck.

            The virtual world marketplace is in the nacent stages of slow development. However, there has always been the dynamic of choosing the best business to handle the customer’s needs. I never considered Nova because it seemed unlikely to be sustainable or very high quality. However I regularly conjecture about the future of any business in the business of virtual worlds – that’s just the nature of where things are for now and is not, itself, grounds for dismissal of participation efforts in these endeavors.

          • Hi JAllard,

            Do you go to other website’s offering a service and expect to get their financial statements? Kitely is a privately held registered company, we aren’t running an exchange and we have no intention of sharing our financial statements with the Internet. People buy Kitely Credits primarily to pay for our own services (they can be used instead of a monthly subscription). When a third party starts offering a KC exchange they will decide whether they wish to publish statistics about the KC traded using their service. What I will say is that we are already cash-flow positive. Our pricing is designed to more than cover our costs. We wouldn’t still be in business if that were not the case.

            Oren Hurvitz is Kitely’s Co-Founder and VP R&D, he submits patches to OpenSim using the username “orenh”. His contributions have been mentioned in JustinCC’s blog multiple times and you can see that he is also active on the OpenSim developers mailing list.

            238 active users over the last 30 days doesn’t mean there were 238 visits. It means that 238 different people went inworld over that period. Some of them spent many hours each day while others only entered once for a short period. Your calculations about there being “less then 8 users per day on kitely” are off by more than an order of magnitude.

            Kitely hosts regions on-demand. When someone enters a region it becomes active. Regions that are deleted are not counted in our reported statistics. Only regions that are currently available on Kitely are counted. If you had one world using a free account then that world is still available (enter it now and see for yourself). If you had more than one world and didn’t buy more KC then those additional worlds would have been deleted by now. You can visit all the worlds listed in our Public Worlds page. If someone sends you a link to a private world (which the majority of the worlds are) you can see that its world page exists as well (you’ll only be able to enter it if they give you permission).

            BulletSim isn’t done yet, once it is we’ll use it. The performance you get with Kitely is with the existing ODE module. I expect things will improve significantly once BulletSim is rolled out on Kitely.

            Kitely is the only gird, AFAIK, that automatically allocates additional hardware resources to sims that have a high concurrency, saving you from having to get a dedicated server. The fact that our system enables us to do so profitably is part of what enables us to offer a lot more hardware resources for running sims when they are under heavy load. You are welcome to pay another service provider more if you believe you can get better hardware for a good price with someone who needs to keep each sim active 24/7 instead of Kitely that can afford to give more resources per sim that is actually used.

    • “… why someone should pay one single buck for running their own sim …”

      Having read everyone else’s response, and acknowledging that they are all valid, I can add another answer and in only one word.

      Convenience. 🙂

  • stiofain mactomais

    At the opening speech of osg5b celebrations tonight Nebadon made a point of mentioning how much Kitely has contributed back to the opensim project – so you are wrong on that point JAllard.

    • JAllard

      yeah Stiofain, tx for clarify that, as i said i wasnt aware Oren’s contributions are behind Kitely, and that’s fine and great.
      Still i cant understand (after all answers in this page) how could be possible to charge 1,75 dollars per mo. per region (Kitely Gold does)…ther’s no plan allowing that over Amazon and ther’s no way to profit with that (especially when you have total of 8 unique visitors per day).

      • Hi JAllard,

        As I stated in a previous reply, Kitely has a lot more than 8 unique visitors per day. 238 active users over the last 30 days doesn’t mean there were only 238 visits over the last 30 days. It means that 238 unique visitors went inworld over that period. Some of them spent many hours each day while others only entered once for a short period. Theoretically all those unique visitors could have used Kitely daily and you would have still gotten the same number of active users in the last 30 days.

        Kitely prices only make sense if you consider two facts:
        a) Kitely doesn’t keep a region on a sim when that region doesn’t have users inside it.
        b) Kitely charges people for the time they are inside a sim more than it has to pay Amazon for that time.

        Kitely can afford to offer 20 regions for $35/month because only one region can be used at any point in time by any given user and someone (the world visitor or the world manager) always paid Kitely in advance (using KC or a plan) for the time that user spends inside a region. The 2 hours/month that are offered on the free plan are subsidized by other people’s payments.

  • Look, I have a simple question here. Is Kitely to the point where I can click, download something, or click, just go on a browser, sign up with Facebook (and not fake-Facebook, which means I still have to create a log on and user name AND use Facebook), click and enter a world and/or even get a free sim? That is, with 3-4 clicks. Or is it more complicated? Yes or no. Looks more complicated. If it only has 230 people, then…it’s more complicated.

    Seems to me there is a lot of hype talk here, and a lot of loss-leaders where people are basically paying for other people’s use of their sims in order to make it look like it’s all very low-cost.

    Are there really live musicians playing here, in any kind of significant and systematic way? It sounds like by adding a payment option, Kitely is trying to get away from that awful open-source freebie socialist cult that informed its beginning, or at least the “socialism for thee, capitalism for me” model of many “developers”. But is the truth being told about the costs of this world?

    I have to agree with Maria Korolov that the convenience and the head-ache absorption of someone else worrying about updates, patches, breakdowns, etc. is priceless. This DIY scorn that geeks inevitably bring to any virtual world discussion has to go. Until the Metaverse is richly diverse with many types of levels of entree and many types of jobs and goods and services, *people can’t live there, only geeks and machines can live there*.

    • Prok —

      Good questions. But yes, basically, it’s just a few clicks. You choose to either sign it with Facebook or sign in with Twitter and the account is created for you. (Or you could go the user name-password route if you dislike social media.)

      First-time users have to install a small plugin. So there’s a click there, possibly two if you have to confirm it. The plugin does everything else. It loads up your viewer, it logs you in, it takes you right to your first region. The process takes a few seconds.

      If you decide to upload an OAR for your first region (Linda Kellie has some fantastic ones) you have to wait for the OAR to load. I think Kitely could streamline this process more, offer more OARs as default options (her OARs are CC licensed for all use, including commercial), or allow OAR uploads via URL — right now you have to download it to your local computer, then upload it again.

      But given how convoluted the OAR upload and download process is almost everywhere else, whether or on your own server or with a hosting provider (Dreamland is the one exception here), Kitely is doing a pretty good job there, too.

      The only other thing that could simplify the Kitely experience is if they had a plugin-less browser-based viewer, like Cloud Party does. And that would help everyone, not just Kitely, and I’m trying to get momentum for a crowd funding project to get it done.

    • The costs of using Kitely are really very low, regardless of whether the visitors pay or the world managers pay. As for paying for other people to visit, it is analogous to paying for the hosting of a website, which other people can then visit for free. Many of us who have sims wish to extend that kind of opportunity for a variety of reasons.

      My reason for paying for user visits is to attract visitors and see what feedback that generates. From that I’ve enjoyed meeting some new people and received some gratifying compliments and some constructive ideas on how to improve the user experience, all of which has been rewarding. Although I pay for the visitors, I do not pay the visitors. In this way, I’m doing what I can to simulate the convenience of visiting a website. I might also mention that only one of my worlds is free to visit, while the others require 1 Kitely Credit per minute.

      I like Kitely because they seem to have a tightly integrated front-end on their website that makes access to a virtual world menu driven and nearly foolproof. What is going to present any real difficulty is mastering a viewer, which is true with all of the services, including Second Life.

      A good point is raised here, however, about activities inworld. In the Kitely Mentors Group there have been discussions about what kind of venues to encourage and how to attract visitors. (BTW, anyone can attend the meetings.) Different participants have different goals, of course, so suggestions run the gamut. There is a desire to spread the word about Kitely and Kitely worlds, but no coordinated effort to do that through loss leaders. Some participants have indicated their plans to see about migration of venues, such as music performances, from SL, but there is no central organization of events. And there are groups who have private Kitely Worlds for role-playing and such, for whom attracting a mass market is moot.

      I too find the emphasis on free as a singular virtue a bit tiring. I would add, though, that given the desire to attract a broader market of visitors to virtual worlds, free access and a variety of free things to get started with is probably not a bad incentive, especially since learning a viewer will be disincentive enough.