I have listened in Concierge chat, read a lot of blogs and comments to the original blog from Jack Linden, and discussed this whole debacle about the Openspaces with several people. I have my take on it.
I am not sure about these statements about conspiracy regarding the manipulation of "land" prices, the naysayers predicting financial peril of Linden Labs (they have to make $50 more per person quick), or the doomsayers saying Philip is dying so they need to devote processor capacity to his life-sustaining machinery (OK, I didn't hear that last one but I am sure it's out there). If the folks at Linden Labs were clever enough to start a conspiracy, we would have more stability, more groups, and fewer bugs because they would be smart enough to fix those too.
Consider this to be a sort of Occam's Razor--all other things being equal, the simplest answer is the best. I believe that Jack Linden is entirely telling the truth about their problems with Openspaces. The description of their resource allocations (4 open sims per core in a quad core PC) is true, and I believe that people have "misused" the openspaces--simply because they can.
I put "misused" in quotes because I believe Linden Labs poorly managed customer expectations about these sims' performance. They should have driven into their Concierge customers' heads that these were the Yugo of sims and never allowed them to believe they were still going to be driving Tauruses when they moved to them. I also believe they should have limited the opening of these sims with clear instructions to the comsumers about what they should expect and been CLEAR and detailed about what "light residential" meant, over and over and over and then some more.
I believe, as a result, that they bought themselves a customer service nightmare with these Openspaces, and that is what this price increase is all about. I am envisioning this scenario: sim owner Joe is accustomed to access to personal Concierge phone service and calls whenever his regular sims are not working. Now he has Openspaces. He has just lost his butt on the land prices because of the change in regular sim entry costs, so he thinks this is another means of making money. He rents an Openspace to every Ruth and Philip who has $100 a month and a dream of having their own sim. They move in, put down butterfly rezzers and sparkly things and sploders and have parties every night at peak hours with 40 avatars. They have never owned a whole sim and now they can! They don't get fps, physics, any of that. They just know they wanted to have fun on their own little sim, maybe run a little business or start up a club. So they get a ton of lag and unreliability and the other three poor saps also sharing that core get stuck too.
Joe's residents IM him constantly about performance. In Joe's mind, he doesn't delineate between the sims he pays $295 a month for and the sims he pays $75 a month for. All he cares is that LL's sims aren't performing to his expectations. He calls up Concierge. The Linden on the other end goes patiently through a set of diagnostics and then explains for the 10th time that day the truth about Openspaces, which is they are not meant to hold 80 avatars or 120 scripts or whatever. The call takes 30 minutes and Linden Labs uses up half the tier the made on that sim right there in that phone call. The customer hangs up, mad that Linden's idea of "light residential" and his idea don't coincide. The Linden hangs up, and they are down half the tier they got on that sim this month.
What it amounts to is that Linden Labs put out a product that is unprofitable and not working for them. They are raising the price. That's business. It was bad business and now they are righting it--the best way they can. They are giving two months notice. They were honest about their error. They are saying they are reading people's suggestions, struggling for some compromise (and I really think they are because they can see people are unhappy). And they will suffer for this when some customers flee and find alternative virtual spaces.
That's my take on this. Linden Labs screwed up. Occam's Razor. That simple.