Nova drops prices to $5.95 per region

New Voice’s Nova OpenSim hosting company has dropped region prices to a new low today — just $5.95 for a region with up to 80,000 prims.

The catch? The region is designed for low-traffic residential builds, and can support only five to ten avatars at once. And the 80,000 prims is only if the region is running Aurora-Sim — a standard OpenSim version tops out at 45,000. (Aurora-Sim is a new version of OpenSim with some extra features, but is more experimental.)

That’s still pretty decent performance, though.

Enrico Ranucci

And it’s good enough for many people who just want to have a region in OpenSim where they can have a home, do some light building, and get together with a couple of friends.

“It’s totally insane to charge them $30 to $60 a month for that,”  Enrico Ranucci, head of New Voice, d.i., told Hypergrid Business. Ranucci is also one of the contributors to the Aurora-Sim project.

Folks who need to handle more visitors, or want to have a busy regions with a lot of scripts and other activity, can upgrade easily to any of nine different pricing tiers.

A tropical island-themed region on the Aurora Sim-based Nova Grid. (Image courtesy Enrico Ranucci.)

How do they do it?

The company makes money even on the $5.95 regions, Ranucci said — they’re not subsidized with the intent to upsell customers to a more premium plan.

Over the past 14 months, Ranucci said, he’s been closely tracking the usage of these regions and found that different users need different levels of performance for their regions. Eventually, he divided users into three performance categories — residential, business, and corporate — with three traffic levels for each one. Customers pay only for the traffic and performance that they need.

The company currently runs 186 OpenSim regions plus 91 more Aurora-Sim regions, making it one of the larger pure-play OpenSim hosting companies.

After some testing, New Voice created customized servers to handle each of these performance levels.

Prices are kept low because New Voice owns all its own hardware. The servers are co-located in server farms in the U.S., UK, Italy, Germany, and Australia, so that users in those territories don’t experience delays accessing their regions.

“We got some very nice deals with hosting companies all around the world,” Ranucci said. “U.S. users will have their regions on U.S. servers, European users in Europe, and so on.

Any of these regions can can run on standard OpenSim, on Aurora-Sim, and can be either hypergrid-enabled or private standalones, or connected to OSGrid or the Nova grid.

Customers who want to have large, private grids, will need to pay extra for a separate server to handle grid assets and management overhead, equal in price to that of their most expensive region.

Ranucci said that he currently advises customers to run standalones instead of attaching regions to existing grids because it offers the most control

“You own and handle your own region with your full asset and inventory ownership, but are still able to visit grids around the world, and invite people over to your regions,” he said.

Attaching regions to existing grids means that those grids control the inventory assets, he said, but he understands that many users prefer to be part of a bigger grid.

“We will still run the Nova grid, of course, and OSGrid attached regions,” he said.

Each region runs in its own instance, with the system set up in such a way that one region can’t eat up the resources of a neighboring region. Full hardware specifications for each price point are here.

How good is New Voice’s service? I’ve talked to some satisfied customers, and usually hear reports if there are problems. I haven’t heard of anything, other than a couple of minor customer support issues that were quickly resolved.

I currently recommend New Voice for people who are just starting out in OpenSim and need a low-cost, low-traffic region. New Voice offers easy OAR and IAR exports, for those who want to take their regions and inventories to other grids — or who just want offline backups — making them a good fit for creators.

With the new tiered pricing plans, the company may become a major force in the mid-tier market currently dominated by Dreamland Metaverse and Oliveira.

The full list of OpenSim hosting provider is here.

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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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

10 Responses

  1. @iliveisl says:

    "And the 80,000 avatars is only if the region is running Aurora-Sim" oops, a typo (or a really crowded sim! ) =D

  2. Pam Broviak reports 11 Sep 11 at 5:37 am, I tried out a region on NOVA and found:
    – backups and uploads of oar files were only possible by sending them to or receiving them from the owner
    – although I could hypergrid, I could not bring anything content back to NOVA – after asking the owner about this, he said the community decided they did not want this ability
    So, I abandoned the region after only a month because not being able to control oar files myself and not being able to share content through hypergridding were significant problems for me.

    • Besides the fact Pam refused to use the opensim console because "not able" to handle it, so i offered my self to load her stuffs in the region (i'd expect a tx for that?)
      About HyperGrid…well…i always see you trying to protect users content, James….you really should investigate more over "share" content over Hypergrid, instead to "judge" what a community in a grid democratically choosen.
      PS : Why are you talking for Pam ? Besides continuosly copy/paste web links over all socials…and copy/paste other people reports…do you have anything constructive to say ? /me listens….

  3.' Salahzar Stenvaag says:

    Don't know if I can recommend it. I tried to follow links from this article and found a page with the features offered and just a "paypal" button. Clicking on it I was charged with the amount in $ and a big error 404 page not found told me that no further information was available. I sent an email to the provider asking for info. I received a kind of questionnaire asking me which sim I wanted and which grid I wanted. I filled that questionnaire and was scolded that I was asking absurdities since Aurora sim couldn't go along with osgrid and that they did not encourage osgridding, offering me for refund. I accepted refund, but was a bit puzzled by the strange way of dealing with the problem. I wanted to write down a post myself on this opportunity, but probably this site is not mature for general public. Or at least the first steps in web site and customer caring are still not well tested and need ironing.

    • Claudio, i think ther's nothing strange to refund a customer that accidentally got a 404 page error and coudnt complete the purchase process. As i already explained in my email answer, you cant (at the moment) attach your Aurora-Sim in OSGrid and vice-versa. Understood that i did a refund : what's wrong ?
      181 regions running in OSGrid, 91 in Nova. 18 minigrid and 16 standalone (12 of which for RL companies), since 1st of july 2010.

      •' Salahzar Stenvaag says:

        I'm not so sure that scolding your willing customers is a good PR habit.

        • Sorry, Claudio, unless we are going to have a non-disclosure agreement with you, i woudnt talk about what is right or what is wrong for my company strategies, so if you eventually are a really good marketing consultant, please send us your resume and we will consider you for a job opportunity in the future.
          Besides that : none scolding anyone here, i have to be honest during sales process and i have eventually to say "No, please" if any of our customers ask for something technically impossible (as it is attaching Aurora to OSG and/or OSG to Aurora). Those informations were missed because (ouch…) a 404 page you got…well, i tried to help you manually but propably not appreciated.
          Np, Claudio, you are welcome anytime and as you said (but still didnt proof)…"senza rancore"
          PS : reading back i noticed you said "they did not encourage osgridding"…propably you dont know OSGrid is my main business. What i'm not suggesting is "gridding"…not "osgridding" (God knows how much we love OSGrid 😉
          Not suggesting (but still possible if that's your willing or any customer's willing) because when you run a standalone-hypergrid (Opensim) or standalone-hypergid + IWC (Aurora-Sim) you "own" you assets, you dont have your inventory somewhere in the world over someone else (and often unkown) server/computer.
          "Suggestions"….not scolding…

  4.' Dutch Worbridge says:

    to offer the moon for a ridiculously low price and 80k prims sounds like a pr move to get more users onto Nova. Was this article free publicity or paid for?

    • Dutch — 80,000 prims is a factor of the Aurora-sim setup — and, in a practical sense, you'd still have to deal with viewer limitations. By the time your guests load up all your 80,000 prims, they might be too old to enjoy them. 🙂

      But, in fact, there is no upper limit on OpenSim regions at all — the standard 45,000 prim limit that we see is just the default setting. it could be changed to anything. ScienceSim has regions on it with over 100,000 prims. They just take a long time to load! A very long time!

      But, aside from complaints like Pam's about usability or customer support — which all OpenSim vendors can use some help with, frankly — Nova seems to be delivering what they promise, and I've talked to some satisfied customers.

      Nova is an advertiser — you can see their ad on the top right of the page — but I have no compunction against running negative articles about advertisers (and have lost one — maybe two — advertisers already as a result) and no problems running positive articles about companies that don't advertise.

      Dutch, if you have negative experience with any of our advertisers, and are willing to go on the record and talk about it, I'd love to do a story. I strongly believe that negative articles — about backups, security, customer service, or slow upgrades — help point out bad practices, and motivate vendors to fix them — and also help distinguish good vendors. And that helps improve the industry as a whole and grows the market.

      I believe that people are more likely to buy if they know ahead of time what the catch is. A particular vendor may offer an enticing package, but if you don't know what the downside is, you might not be willing to buy. But if you know the downside — say, inadequate customer service, or traffic limits, or a new grid without any social stuff on it yet, or what have you — you might decide that the downside is worth it and you go ahead and take the free land offer, or the cheap region, or what have you.

      In the case of this particular deal, the downside is that you won't have more than 10 visitors on your region at the same time. So it's not a good deal if you want to have a store or a club, or company offices, or a meeting venue — any place where you expect to have more traffic, or hope to have more traffic. And the other downside is that you can only get the regions on open grids like OSGrid or Nova or your own standalone. That means that if you want to put up a store and sell stuff, your customers will be able to take it anywhere they want. By comparison, regions on closed commercial grids like InWorldz and Avination go for around $60 a month.

      However, you can use these cheap regions as a place to build, or keep your warehouses, and then export your creations and upload them to Avination and InWorldz for retail sale. That way, you can have a lot of cheap land to build on, and can make as many backups of all your stuff as you want, and still be able to sell your creations in a secure, closed environment.