Probably the most popular stat to emerge from The Economist's Digital Money Summit in London yesterday was that it takes one central processing unit (CPU) per 16 acres of new land in Second Life.
Obviously it isn't the cost that prevents Linden Lab from generating lots more land then, rather the point is keeping the price of land already there up.
In Linden Lab's Second Life some $330 million changes hands every year in the form of Linden dollars (there are about L$235 to $1). Almost a quarter comes from land sales, while just under half is derived from land maintenance.
The virtual economy and membership fees jointly only account for about a third, and the rest comes from currency exchange fees and commission. Or as Clare Rees of Linden Labs explained, "We keep the currency exchange within certain boundaries. Land sales are where the big speculation takes place, not currency exchange. The mainland is where most people would like to live, so we don't put up much more of that, it's what keeps the price up."
And all without a mention of sub-prime mortgages.