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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