Why Second Life is banning gacha mechanics

Linden Lab, developer of Second Life, announced that all chance-based content purchases will be banned from 31 August 2021, due to a “changing regulatory climate.”

Linden Lab announced on Tuesday, 3 August 2021, that it will no longer allow content creators to utilize gacha mechanics to sell items. Even though Second Life is approaching its twentieth birthday, it is still a very popular platform, as it still reportedly attracts daily player counts of more than 50,000. The platform’s independent economy was worth $500 million in 2018.

Second Life is an online virtual world where residents create virtual representations of themselves and are able to interact with places, objects and other players. They can explore the world, socialize, build, create, shop and trade virtual property with one another. In many ways, it is similar to massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing games, but Linden Lab argues that it is not a game, as there is no set objective or manufactured conflict.

A huge part of the economy is the trade in cosmetics, which vendors create using software like 3D Studio Max. Unavoidably, gacha mechanics are common, as players are able to pay, for example, $10 for a chance to purchase cosmetics worth much more than that. However, that is about to change. Linden Lab announced that starting on 31 August 2021, chance-based content purchases, like gacha, will be banned entirely due to a “changing regulatory climate.”

This means that vendors selling gacha content will need to “re-tool their products” or else face enforcement, starting on 1 September 2021. This re-tooling will seemingly involve eliminating any randomisation, and vendors will be forced to sell their items the old-fashioned way – with a plain, old transparent price attached.

In the announcement posted on the Second Life Community Forum, Linden Lab stated, “We have made the difficult decision to sunset a very popular sales mechanism for content in Second Life, known as gacha.” Adding, “We did not make this decision lightly, and we understand that it will impact creators as well as event organizers and certainly the shoppers. We look forward to fun creative ways of engagement that will come instead.”

Linden Lab further gave answers to general questions players had, but also gave the community the chance to ask other questions regarding the ban of gacha.