OpenSim regions to surpass Second Life sims this year


Maria published her monthly counts and analysis of OpenSim growth yesterday and she counts a total of 22,651 OpenSim regions and these include OSGrid, and public and private grids that report their numbers. her totals will always be less than all deployed OpenSim regions because not everyone reports their numbers

22,651 regions is a new high for OpenSim and approaches Second Life’s 23,619 private estates and isn’t too shabby compared to SL’s total sims of 30,840

while you can’t compare an OpenSim region to a Second Life sim as exact equals, you also can’t say that OpenSim is small from a land perspective. of course user accounts are still tiny for OpenSim compared to what SL has. they claim 10,000 signups per day but what’s the value in that number? i have 33,000 Twitter followers and what does that prove? maybe that i am OCD but as far as success goes, sims is a meaningful number since they represents the main revenue stream for Linden Lab

OpenSim can no longer be seen as a second-rate alternative to Second Life

people are showing the viability of OpenSim with where they decide to set up home, shops, and clubs. this does not mean Second Life is dead, it just means that equal or better options are available

Second Life lost over 1,000 private sims in the last year which could be as much as 3 to 3.5 million dollars per year (a loss of about 5% of LL’s annual revenue). some of that is flat-out attrition – people leaving that don’t want to do virtual world stuff, but some of that are people choosing something else that meets or exceeds their needs

Maria points out that 391 private sims inSL poofed last month and i’d say a good number of those were from the “no setup fee” special LL did October 21-23  (gee, i’d like the setup fees from my 19 sims refunded! i could buy a car!). the first month’s tier would have started on November 21-23 and that $295 is a big chunk of change to come up with!

so what does this mean?

for OpenSim it means we will likely see the number of regions surpass those in Second Life in 2012

overall, it means that virtual worlds are doing well and becoming more widely adopted. despite the small drop inSL sims, the growth of virtual worlds when you combine Second Life with OpenSim is significant with a total of over 53,000 sims/regions


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written by Ener Hax

January 17th, 2012 at 8:59 am

posted in OpenSim,second life

tagged with ,

18 comments to 'OpenSim regions to surpass Second Life sims this year'

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  1. Maybe you can combine SL and OS regions for a summary of SL-like environments. But you cannot compare the quantity between SL an all (reporting) OS Grids. What you can compare, are all regions inside hypergrid connected grids. Walled gardens, like Avination or InWorldz stand allone like SL do, not to mention Kitely. The only common thing is the software they use and a group of people making propaganda against SL.

    You are the best example. You are not able, to write only one article or comment without telling everone about your 19 former SL regions, that impaired your life. ;-)

    Gordon Twine

    17 Jan 12 at 10:45 am

  2. I agree that this means that Virtual Worlds are doing well (and getting better).

    I also agree that number of sims is a good metric for SL as their main revenue stream is based off of it (there is some from people buying $lindens). The high price barrier (cost of tier) is what initially put me off SL and eventually led me to OpenSim as I looked for a cheaper alternative.

    $295 is a lot of money for most people (that’s a shiny new tablet computer every 2 months!). An average MMO will cost a user around $35 a month to play. Sure you don’t get land or anything in that, but the player’s character still takes up server resources, and really, that is what you are paying for (along with support).


    17 Jan 12 at 10:48 am

  3. Ener —

    I think it’s important to add that the folks running the OpenSim regions are, for the most part, the creative class.

    Yes, OpenSim is cheap. So it’s like … artists and gays and musicians moving into a blighted area, fixing it up, and the next thing you know it’s the hot commodity.

    The creative class are who made Second Life a success in the first place. Once the creatives do their creating, then the consumers show up, to check stuff out, pick up some nice things, rub elbows with the musicians and out-of-work actors — and pretty soon the area is too expensive for the musicians and artists who started the whole thing!

    Except, of course, OpenSim, unlike Second Life, isn’t going to get too expensive — instead, prices are likely to keep dropping as bandwidth and computing prices drop.

    Maria Korolov

    17 Jan 12 at 11:48 am

  4. lol Gordon, the 19 sims shows that i know about SL and was an ideal customer. it did not impair me, it empowered me – you misread me. i am the one at fault with SL, making the assumption that they would stay open in the way i interpreted them in 2006. i am the one that believed in them – it’s my fault for being a dope and thinking it was worth investing in SL. my own decisions that put me in that situation

    as to writing one positive article, go back to the first 500 articles of this blog and see a very positive look at Second Life. i have been one of their biggest cheerleaders and best examples of propaganda FOR LL – what have you done for Linden Lab – written more than 500 posts? been a Mentor? speak at conferences about SL? believe in them enough to buy those 19 sims and run them for two years?

    and why can’t you compare the walled gardens together? those are all people finding options that suit them well

    next time don’t be an @$$hole and maybe click a few links before making erroneous statements =)

    you probably won’t see this, you name isn’t linked to anything you have done online . . .

    *doh, Ener got her panties in a bunch!* =D

    yes Paul, if you were to graph the growth of both OpenSim and Second Life, you’d have a decent Hype Cycle graph. the coming on of OpenSim is creating the Plateau of Enlightenment

    Ener Hax

    17 Jan 12 at 11:50 am

  5. Anyway, this report shows clearly the grade of madurity that Opensim is reaching and, very important, the posible explanation of the history of interesting amount of people that has dessapeared of SL.

    While Opensim is slowly coming to beta version the usefulness is growing rythmically and now we are interested to discover a vaste underground of private and anonymous grids and regions, so fascinating trend!

    Ener: Naturally this is your blog and your history with SL is part of, delete this part is like cut a good snapshot of a real case in that grid.

    Kind regards.


    17 Jan 12 at 12:44 pm

  6. oh noes Maria! are you saying that OpenSim users are creative gay artists? i guess that beats Philip saying that SL peeps are rural shut-ins desperate for companionship! =)

    *proud to be amongst the creative class and thumbs nose at peasants everywhere* =D

    Ener Hax

    17 Jan 12 at 1:50 pm

  7. good perspective montnegre and thank you for your nod of approval to me (puts mont on the nice list)

    OpenSim is maturing and the alpha label is what the developers place on it. in my opinion, OpenSim is more stable than SL

    regardless of what i think, the OpenSim community, like you, has decided that OpenSim is at least as good as SL and offers advantages (one being price)

    Ener Hax

    17 Jan 12 at 1:53 pm


    i think this is it for me at second life. its too restrictive for me.


    17 Jan 12 at 4:08 pm

  9. hi bristle, unfortunately, issues like declining Qarl’s tool do turn people away. my final issue was the Adult policy because it meant i had to police my sims and fight against griefers using it as a harrassment tool

    i don’t hate Second Life but it’s just not the best fit fo me anymore

    so bristle, what is your OpenSim of choice?

    Ener Hax

    17 Jan 12 at 5:40 pm

  10. well im more of an executive producer than a designer or a programmer. except i have no money nor staff.

    i do use diva, osgrid, soas, and opensim itself. i would like to see more unity among the opensim grids and much MORE open content. and i would like what realXtend has done for their client-server — a minimal client that you can build more addons. at least in theory.


    17 Jan 12 at 8:42 pm

  11. Bristle: ” i would like to see more unity among the opensim grids and much MORE open content.” —-> How can I tweet this words?

    Absolutly agree, despite each grid is a single philosophy itself but a effort to provide a little of unity could mark the difference, for now are fragmented worlds and Hypergrid, where is posible, is the key.

    Kind regards.


    17 Jan 12 at 8:52 pm

  12. There is no easy way to gage traffic numbers across all the Opensim grids but on Maria’s estimate for the number of sims then it must be quite substantial now. There is no way that 22,000 sim are going to all sit ideal day in and day out. However, I think the open Metaverse is at a serious disadvantage to Second Life which can report concurrency all under one roof. Maria makes a good attempt to bring the metrics she can find together and with some thoughtful guess work offer an estimate. But it is still only an estimate.

    In this picture you can also take account of the increased response to Maria’s survey recently to see there has been considerable growth in the user base apart from the growth in sims. And all this is back to back against some fairly telling metrics coming out of Linden Labs. No growth despite 10,000+ sign-ups per day which indicates people are leaving as fast as noobs are joining. Over 1000 sims lost in the past year while Opensim grids are gaining rapidly.

    My own experience in SL where I still have 2 sims running a RPG and market is that both the mood and character of the users is changing. There seems to be a much younger crowd now while novelty, gambling and kinky sex sims appears to have greatly increased. There is still a lot of role play but I would say the quality has dropped in favor of fast action combat and one-time sexual encounters. I think Maria is right when she said the creative’s are moving to Opensim grids because that is what I am seeing too.

    Will Opensim total regions exceed Second Life this year?

    My money is they will but Opensim still has a way to go. Those weak vehicle physics are perhaps the biggest let down but community is growing in the biggest grids like OSgrid and InWorldz and there is fairly brisk traffic hopping in and out of OSgrid from the many private hypergrid connected mini-grids and standalones. Indeed, I think you can look at OSgrid now like the HUD of the Hypergrid with hundreds of satellite sims surrounding it.


    17 Jan 12 at 9:20 pm

  13. bristle

    17 Jan 12 at 9:22 pm

  14. I agree with Bristle. It would help if there was more unity between opensim grids. More are coming online too and, thought this will increase competition it will also have to effect of attracting more users who will learn about the open Metaverse and start to move about. Once that really gets going the market will expand and I don’t think anything will stop it (not counting Sopa of course).

    If asked what I would wish for then it has to be a viewer that has a greater focus on Opensim while retaining some compatibility with SL in the area of content if not much else. The one thing an Opensim viewer needs above all, in my opinion, is to replace the grid manager with a searchable list that grid owners can add their info to without the need for users to find and add addresses themselves. This would be such a great help to new people and give them the chance to open a viewer and search for the kind of grids and sims they would be interested in. The developers of the backend data server could even make money from it in time I am sure.


    17 Jan 12 at 9:36 pm

  15. @bristle. Thanks for the link.

    I found this interesting in the discussion:

    “Wayfinder Wishbringer added a comment – 16/Jan/12 7:44 AM
    Pardon me Oz, with all due respect… isn’t DISCUSSION of bugs and suggested features what this JIRA is for?
    Telling your customers to take a hike is never a good idea.”

    Somethings up. Individual lindens are increasing their rhetoric against clients. Its like some know there are discussion with a 3rd party re the sale of Second Life.

    Opensim could have new champions: Linden Labs. They push more customers to an alternative.

    Breen Whitman

    18 Jan 12 at 12:54 am

  16. “more of an executive producer than a designer” well then OpenSim is perfect for you! money should not be a requisite for everything

    interesting insight Gaga, reading your words helps me keep up with how SL is changing. there’s no doubt that it is, even to an exile but reading your words tells it in an honest and sincere way. you clearly love SL to have two sims so you have a balanced viewpoint, imo. it is a shame that the demographic is changing. i partly blame the LL culture

    i also agree that vehicle physics are a drawback – that’s my only complaint about OpenSim

    a more robust grid manager would be nice – i’d like to be able to add our grid and make it the default to distribute to our future users

    the unity issue is a tough one but i think you’ll see it grow, always lagging behind OpenSim growth in general. people are scared their stuff will be copied like mad and as time marches by, controls get tighter and old perceptions vanish

    dang Breen! some heavy duty stuff when people perceive, rightly or wrongly, that a company is anti-client! it’s a sentiment that’s been out for years, but to have such a sharp mention of it is a bit sobering!

    Ener Hax

    18 Jan 12 at 7:08 am

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