Friday, September 26, 2008

TCH Estates for sale on eBay

"8 SIM ESTATES *FULL TRANSFER* SECOND LIFE" - eBay deadline 28 September

Eight of the ten TCH Estates sims, including the surfing spots of Barbuda, St. Maarten and Mandi Island have been posted for sale by ATown Fall on online auction site eBay under the heading "8 SIM ESTATES *FULL TRANSFER* SECOND LIFE". However, former TCH Surfers Open venue Saba Island is not included in the package. Investors must register their bids by Sunday 28 September and the deal must be concluded by the successful bidder within 12 hours of the auction close.

eBay's listed 'Buy It Now' price for the seven open sims and one full sim is US$3,500. In addition to the cost of bidding for the sims, the new owner of TCH Estates would need to pay Linden Lab $100 per sim to transfer the ownership of the sims and then pay monthly tier fees to Linden Lab of US$75 per month for each of the seven open sims and US$100 per month for the full sim.
TCH Estates could cost the new owner US$6,175

According to our calculations this could mean a total investment of US$6,175 by the year end (should someone pay the 'Buy It Now' asking price), although the eBay listing indicates that the seven of the sims already generate enough revenue to pay their own tier, which may bring this investment down to US$4,600. According to eBay's records ATown Fall has been trading on eBay since March 2008 and he has a 96.4% positive approval rating from other eBay users on his eBay transactions.

Barbuda, one of four surf sims on TCH Estates (May 2008)

ATown's eBay listing also includes a clause protecting current TCH Estates residents from tier free increases stating that "the current tier can be lowered but not raised from the current amount which is $L3.85 per sqm".

Useful links

SurfWatch: TCH headed for a watery grave? (24 Sep 08)
Surfline shuts down (28 Jun 08)
Estates join forces to create massive watersports development (23 May 08)
8 sim estates *Full Transfer* Second Life (eBay)
Mandi Island
Saba Island
St. Maarten
TCH Enterprises

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

TCH headed for a watery grave?

Saturday’s competition cancelled, ATown Fall missing and the prospect of four more surf sims being wiped off the Second Life Grid
Second Life is awash with rumours and speculation about TCH Enterprises, following the recent disappearance of ATown Fall, the founder-owner of TCH.
Friends, employees, business partners and other residents found that ATown’s profile was no longer available in-world soon after he vanished and answers to any questions regarding TCH are thin on the ground. Other efforts to contact ATown outside of Second Life have also apparently been in vain. A popular theory is that TCH is a Second Life economy casualty, but there are other schools of thought that speculate that this being a knock-on effect from Wall Street crashes and some speculate about possible infringements against Second Life’s terms and conditions. ATown himself talked about the likelihood of other surf sims shutting down to SurfWatch in June following the closing of Surfline, but if he did harbour grave concerns about TCH Enterprises, he didn’t let on.
ATown's sometimes hard-nosed business practices were not appreciated by everyone, but he was certainly recognised for his vision and attention to detail in developing TCH Estates.
"Well, I have to take my hat off to him, in terms of sim development," said Dumisani Ah, owner of Bishara Resorts "TCH has the most fantastic diving experiences built into its sims and ATown's vision of joining the sim groups to form a mega-estate was super cool!"
If TCH collapses as a direct result of poor economics, then this would offer little comfort to other sim owners, many of whom are talking openly about a Second Life recession. Designers, retailers and land owners have all seen a general slowdown in sales and many of the most successful are simply struggling to maintain the status quo. Second Life residents are not growing fast and it sort of stands to reason that the current real world economic climate can’t provide much encouragement to residents to spend money in Second Life.

Saba Island, the venue of the TCH Surfers Open

Although ATown reputedly had invested in between 90 and 117 sims on the Grid, TCH Estates itself currently accounts for 10 islands in a mixed-use estate which has residential properties, night clubs, live music venues, shopping and other recreational activities including facilities for a variety of sports including surfing. TCH Estates is home to the four surf sims of Saba Island, Barbuda, St. Maarten and Mandi Isle, plus Bonaire, Guanaja, Lex Estate, Nervis, St. Kitts and the group’s headquarters TCH Enterprises.

Residents that have invested in property on the TCH Estates (priced $3.85 per square meter for residential locations) have no answers and little recourse to address their potential loss of land should the estate be closed and taken off the Grid by Linden Lab.

Broadwater Antilles
SurfWatch reported on plans to create a massive water sports continent in May, linking up TCH Estates, Hedonism Estates and Wilder Estates. The new mega-estate was to consist of 26 sims in the first two phases of its development, with plans to add at least 12 more sims in phase three. This project now almost certainly cannot continue in its current form, although Hedonism and Wilder Estate owners were quick to confirm that their estates remained committed to the concept.

"I am sad that it looks like Broadwater will not happen they way that it was originally planned," said Hedonism Estates owner Phelan James. "I hope that we can salvage something and still have a private island land mass. We have talked with Wilder Estates and both Hedonism and Wilder remain committed to the concept of creating a mega-estate. Unfortunately TCH was in between us, so we have to make a span, but we are optimistic about it."

Hedonism and Wilder Estates have already gone through the lengthy process of moving their sim groups closer together on the Grid, but these are now straddled either side of TCH Estates. Wilder Spirit, Wilder West, Wilder Mills Lagoon, Wild Dagger, Wild Tizzy, Wilder Keys and Wilder Shores are now located to the Southwest of TCH Estates and Hedonism, Hedonism I, Hedonism II, Hedonism Beach II, Lil Hedonism, Lost Hedonism, Mai Tai Cove, Sensual Hedonism and Rum Bay are now located to the East of TCH.

Surfers Open: closed
Meanwhile, surfers that were looking forward to this weekend’s TCH Surfers Open this Saturday will be disappointed. Locksley Blitzstein, until recently TCH Estates events manager, was unable to shed much light on the status of TCH Estates or the TCH Surfers Open surfing competition planned for this weekend. "I am no longer associated with TCH, however, I suspect it is cancelled because ATown has been missing for three weeks now."

The third event in the series, it was due to take place at 12.15pm on Saturday 26 September 2008 at Saba Island and 11 surfers had already registered for the 16-man competition. However, with the outlook for all TCH Estates’ surfing sims being so bleak, the cancellation of a single weekend's surfing event is perhaps of minor concern.

SurfWatch's advice to surfers: get your surfing in on TCH Estates surf sims whilst you can! At this point, noone can tell you how long they will remain active for!

Useful links
SurfWatch: Surfline shuts down (28 Jun 08)
SurfWatch: Estates join forces to create massive watersports development (23 May 08)
SLURL: Barbuda
SLURL: Mandi Island
SLURL: Saba Island
SLURL: St. Maarten
SLURL: TCH Enterprises