Happy 2014! We’re starting the new year with big changes to how Kitely works. We’ve eliminated the concept of minutes and made Kitely free to visit. The only people who will now need to pay for access to worlds are the people who own those worlds. We’ve also lowered our prices to make Kitely your best choice for getting your own virtual worlds. Here are Kitely’s new pricing options for the new year:
No More Minutes
We got rid of “Minutes”. Until now, users had a certain number of Minutes that they could spend in-world; this was similar to the Minutes in a cellphone plan. Unfortunately, using Minutes had some downsides.
The biggest problem was that using Minutes caused anxiety among casual users: they had to count their Minutes and “spend them wisely”. But starting now, visitors never pay for visiting a world. It’s possible that a user won’t be able to visit a particular world due to the access settings chosen by the world owner, but if they can visit the world then it’s completely free for them.
The next problem was that Minutes added complexity, because we had three currencies in Kitely: Minutes, Kitely Credits, and US Dollars. Now we’re down to only two currencies, a 33% reduction 🙂 . This makes it easier to understand and use Kitely.
And finally, we wanted to get rid of Minutes in preparation for opening Kitely to the Hypergrid. Hypergrid users never have Minutes, and we wanted to make sure they’ll still be able to visit Kitely worlds. We’ve still got more work to do before we’re ready to support Hypergrid travel in and out of Kitely, but this was an important prerequisite.
Fixed-Price World Options
When you create a world in Kitely, you can now choose between three Fixed-Price World options, or a Metered World:
These options only affect new worlds: existing worlds continue to work unchanged.
You can change the world’s type at any time, by clicking a link in the Manage World dialog.
Account Types: Regular and Premium
Every user in Kitely now has either a Regular Account or a Premium Account.
The Regular Account is the default account for new users. The Regular Account includes one free region for creating your own Metered World. When Regular Account users visit a Metered World, the world owner pays 1 KC / minute for each such user.
The Premium Account, which costs $19.95 / month, allows users to visit any Metered World for an unlimited amount of time without costing the world owner anything. The Premium Account includes 5 free regions.
If you already have one of the old plans, a Silver Plan or a Gold Plan, then they are now called “Premium Account (Silver)” or “Premium Account (Gold)”, and they confer benefits above the normal Premium Account. See our previous blog post for details. Please note that if you downgrade your plan or stop paying for it then you won’t be able to get these special benefits back.
New Access Controls
The worlds’ access controls have changed. They are much simpler now, because we have eliminated Minutes, and we’ve also eliminated the ability to choose a special price for visiting the world (e.g., visitors must pay 3 KC / minute). That option was rarely used, and eliminating it has made the access controls easier to use.
Your main choice regarding access control is which types of users to allow to visit your world: Regular users, Premium users, both, or neither.
If your world is a Fixed-Price World then you will probably allow all users to visit your world, since you don’t have to pay for their visits. In that case, your Access tab will look like this:
If you have a Metered World then you will probably allow Premium users to visit it, since you don’t have to pay for their visits. You can then choose whether you want to allow Regular users to visit your world based on the amount of traffic you expect to get. When Regular users visit your Metered World, you pay 1 KC / minute for each such user. If you decide to allow both Premium and Regular users to visit your world then your Access tab will look like this:
You can further limit who may access your world using Groups. For example, if you have a group of friends then you might choose to allow only them to enter the world. In that case you will probably allow Regular Account users to visit your world, since only users from this group will be able to enter it and that will limit your costs.
Existing worlds have been migrated to the new access options according to their old access choice for “Everyone”:
- If “Everyone = Not Allowed” then the world is closed to all users.
- If “Everyone = Normal” then the world is open only to Premium users.
- If “Everyone = Free” then the world is open to both Premium and Regular users.
New Users have a Regular Account, which includes one free region for creating a Metered World. New users also get 6 free hours to spend in that world, in order to try it out. After that time runs out, if they want to keep spending time in the world then they must either buy KC; upgrade to a Premium Account; or change the world to be a Fixed-Price World. But even if they do none of these things, the world remains in their account and can be visited by other users.
There is now a fixed price of 150 KC for these OAR file-related operations: Export World, Replace World, Create World using an OAR, and Copy World. Previously these operations had a price of 10 KC / region, but that price didn’t reflect the amount of resources that are necessary to execute them.
As before, Fixed-Price Worlds don’t incur any of these costs, with the exception of Copy World (since the result of Copy World is a new Metered World).