Today’s press release from InWorldz should be a wake-up call to the whole industry of virtual world providers.  In theory it is not a flashy new gadget or announcement of shiny new bells or whistles, but rather a more “boring” business announcement whose bells and whistles are smothered in the language of IT infrastructure improvements and reduced business expenditures.  Not exactly the eye-catching headline, but if you dig a bit deeper, it’s exactly what users would expect from all grids, and the next logical step for InWorldz.  It could be viewed a couple of ways:

Hosting Costs:
– no pricing changes for InWorldz residents (dammit, shouldn’t something like this give me a free region, or maybe at least a 2-for-1 deal? Well, no.  But what you do get is a more stable grid upon which to build those dreams.)
+ reassurance of a stable and reliable business plan, long-term grid viability.
+ over time it should help to provide funding for more full-time development and customer service/support staff.

Hardware:
– no flashy new features (dammit I weally weally weally wanted bouncy ear-lobes!)
+ much better state-of-the-art hardware, faster and more consistent performance, better disk subsystems, better overall IT resource management policies, where things will just tend to work better, resulting in a stable and reliable virtual world platform

Service:
+ The primary motivation is to provide a stable, robust business operating environment.
+ It gives access to specialized experts at CariNet.
+ Opening the door to additional staff may add a further significant boost to service (and features).

Growth
+ It encourages and creates incentives for the CariNet hosts to also have a clear motivation to actively contribute to the growth of InWorldz.
+ This joint venture could provide funding for additional staff, in both development and customer support/service areas. 

Enabling Dreams
One of the things that took the most pleasure from in the press release was the importance it placed on “enabling”.

The reason I am a supporter of InWorldz now is that by 2010, I had reached the conclusion that the original SL concept of enabling users to live their dreams and all but been abandoned by Linden Lab.  Yet, my feeling has always been that the primary objective of any grid needs to be one of enabling the users.  This applies to both the cozy homes and social environments, but also a place for those with business dreams to succeed or fail according to the merits of their own business plan, and not face constant interference and changes in those plans from the grid management.  If you build it, they will come.

“Enablement is the shared theme that has brought CariNet Inc. and InWorldz, LLC together.
  …
provide the services and support that enable the individual as well as organizations who will use virtual world technologies in the future.”

 CariNet has an ownership with philosophies that more closely match those of InWorldz.  That a business is about much more than the bottom line, which, while key for long-term security, is but a small part.  Most importantly, the whole reason for InWorldz to exist is so that is can also enable residents and business dreams.

InWorldz founder, Tranquillity Dexler,  has emphatically corrected my references to the founders as the “owners” of InWorldz.  He points out that InWorldz is owned by the residents, the users.  They are either directly paying for everything being done in InWorldz, or indirectly, by renting land from others, or indirectly even just by attending and supporting events.  The founders merely provide guidance, planning, and technical expertise on behalf of the real owners.  Again, it’s all about enabling your dreams.  InWorldz is truly “your world”.  Enjoy.