Second Life losses & OpenSim gains


there are at least 25,000 private OpenSim regions and probably far more that never get counted. Hypergrid Business has a great look and analysis of OpenSim stats in this month’s post (thanks Maria! always insightful) =)

since OpenSim is server software and not a commercial service like Second Life, making direct comparisons of region counts is a bit wonky

one difference is that private sims (regions) inSL mean someone is paying as much as $295 a month for each –  a measure, to a point, of their commitment. whereas, someone with some tech savvy (like Mera) can setup an old garbage PC and have a region (or more) up and running on OSgrid and spend virtually nothing to have that region online

however, that does not mean there isn’t another, less tangible, measure of commitment?

our Enclave Harbour is part of a business endeavor and as “serious” as someone spending $295 a month inSL. our work could now be completely developed on a 16 region Sim-on-a-Stick deployment (available here) which would be free, completely offline, and not counted

power educational users like Kate Booth and Lisa Jacka, who just won an award for a paper at an international conference for their use of Sim-on-a-Stick, would probably never have their students’ regions counted. just for illustration, four classes of 12 kids each running a 2×2 grid would be 192 regions

how “serious” are those regions?

sparking the creativity of a student results in deeper learning and greater retention – how does one place value on that?

and what about role playing environments like Sarge has been working on for over a year or that Crystal is doing on Sim-on-a-Stick?

those will allow people a way to unwind from the day-to-day stresses of life – a pretty worthy objective in my opinion (we tend to look down on things like Farmville or iFart, but we also don’t appreciate the toll that stress takes on society and its detriment to individuals)

for OpenSim – the quality of use of the regions is perhaps more impactful to its importance overall than the numbers are. for Second Life, the quantity is the ultimate metric because that is how LL achieves success (the quality of the region often impacts the quantity – but at the end of the day, LL needs a certain number of sims in order to operate Second Life)

OpenSim continues to steadily grow and Second Life continues its loss of over 8 private sims per day for the last year. there have been 2,400 private SL sims lost this year – looks like my 2012 prediction of 2,500 will be wrong . . .


data from Tyche Shepherd’s

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written by Ener Hax

October 18th, 2012 at 9:36 am

9 comments to 'Second Life losses & OpenSim gains'

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  1. Thanks for the mention, Ener :-) (the poutine’s in the mail *wink wink*)

    The important thing to remember is that despite not having a truly accurate count of regions using OpenSim, and pretty much no count of those using AuroraSim, the ones that are counted is growing. Adding in the fact that Tyche’s grid metrics are very accurate, there is a clear trend. There is simply no denying that SL is shrinking. One can only conclude that those who are leaving SL are moving over to OpenSim.

    Furthermore, I’ve not heard anything about SL hiring, yet they have added 3 major projects to their lineup. I could be wrong about assuming that Linden Lab hasn’t hired more people, but if they haven’t, then it means that SL tech support will be used. This will have a large, negative impact on SL. And that will drive even more people away.

    Sarge Misfit

    18 Oct 12 at 9:51 am

  2. you are a niche within a niche Sarge! AuroraSim is very cool and not counted and i have no doubt that there are a good number of AuroraSim grids out there

    if people in OpenSim thought they marched to a beat of a different drummer, then AuroraSim peeps must really be unique! =)

    i’ve often thought about the conversion rate of SL to OpenSim and always imagined that it was maybe 30-50%?

    the conversion rate should tend to increase as grids like InWorldz continue to grow

    Ener Hax

    18 Oct 12 at 10:32 am

  3. It seems valid when comparing in this manner, but it would be good to see how many visitors there are in an OpenSim region versus one in Second Life. I’m thinking SL still dominates when it comes to how many people interact on a per region basis.

    And isn’t a virtual world’s social popularity a key factor, too, rather than region numbers?


    18 Oct 12 at 10:51 am

  4. spot on Icarus – my post was boiled down to simple terms and certainly limited

    SL does dominate by a HUGE factor – a quick look at concurrency of 108 in OSgrid and 45k inSL points to that

    the social aspect is important to a point – there needs to be more money behind the SL numbers than OpenSim but large numbers don’t always equate to more money

    Zynga is having a hard time with games that need to be paid for – people like “free”

    for both SL and OpenSim, we have highly niche demographics and even with SL’s manifold more active users, it is a very small community in the scheme of successful social endeavors (fb, twitter)

    part of the interest for me is the enigmatic nature of virtual worlds and how they can be difficult to pigeon hole (like my post attempts)

    Ener Hax

    18 Oct 12 at 11:16 am

  5. @Ener how much out of the 45k is actual SL concurrency per person? There’s the same issue with the other grids as well, what is the actual number of persons per grid. The grid owner may create accounts for their employees, but when the employee parts with the company, the accounts are never deleated. Some businesses use bots for CRM/sales. Some have either an alt or multiple alt accounts. There’s people/noobs that signed up and never used their account, or tried it a few times and never used it afterwards. There’s previously active accounts that stopped being used, such as people that died in RL, and other accounts that are inactive for 3-9 months per year. And finally my favorite, when a company goes Beta or in production, they may want to inflate concurrency to gain users or if they are trying to get investors.

    If the issue is that the database can’t purge or reconcile these accounts, at least add add a flag to the database so they aren’t counted or more than one time. If it’s to gain users or investors, not only is it unethical, it’s an invitation to the FTC – investor fraud/misrepresentation, for premium/paid accounts a inducement to gain the account, and for any type of account basic/premium an inducement to purchase grid currency, rent or pay property tier, and so on.


    19 Oct 12 at 8:31 am

  6. great point joe and that 10,000 signups per day that LL continues to claim has always seemed odd to me

    your FTC point is a very good one because that’s what happened with facebook – because they went public, their account numbers have an affect on their stock prices and the SEC had FB revise their account numbers to estimate spammer, duplicate, and pet accounts

    reading your post made my perspective shift a bit from thinking of cincurrency as a metric of success to looking at a grid as more of a website like Amazon

    you typically don’t measure Amazon’s success by the number of accounts but by their sales. i know LL used to do economic metrics but i don’t think they publish them any more

    Ener Hax

    19 Oct 12 at 9:12 am

  7. @Ener, economic metrics (as in “PLURAL”) stopped being disclosed years ago. This included providing the numbers of avatar accounts by the amount of L earned, I think it was refered to as currency or L concurrency. So now content creators are added into the inducement pot.

    Combine that, no useful avatar account demographics or at least what demographics have changed every 6 months or 12 months, with the lack of useable “Sort of outof Luck” (SL) marketplace data such as the number of copies sold per item in the marketplace and total number of sales per marketplace category and subcategories. Which means the first essential thing for any “business”, the first part of a business plan, the research phase (competitor, product and market) can’t even be done.

    Which is really more reliance on the words of “the one that must not be named.” So if this were the 1930’s: “Mr. Ness.” “Yes Mr. Capone?” “Elliot I’m not going to tell you anything about our import/export business since you threw a hissy fit when you stopped by the last time and trashed it.” “Pleaase Al.” “No, I’m not going to Elliot, I really don’t have time to. I have to spend the next couple of days gathering up records to take to Enron. April 15th is at the end of next week.”


    19 Oct 12 at 4:52 pm

  8. Thanks for the mention! I’ve been a bit busy building things, getting my RP characters settled, trying to get 1013 as a whole ready to connect to the rest of the ‘Verse, etc etc etc.

    In was helping a friend I’ve known on SL for years now get on SoaS. We had to get on Skype, because she couldn’t figure it out with the way the instructions are written. I got her up and running with a region that has 45000 prims, and she gave a squee of delight, listened to more squees as she imported an OAR and watched mountains and buildings appear before her very eyes. And then amazement as she imported an iar as well. I’m smiling even now about it. We talked a lot about how that cannot be done in SL. You can’t back up much of anything as neatly as you can in Opensim.

    She suggested I give a class, as she found it hard to understand the instructions on the opensim webpage. Her complaint is a lot of “geeks” don’t speak English anymore. She is an “Average Jane” with enough computer knowledge to turn the thing on and log into SL. Well, now she has her own little world and is preparing to RP in one of 1013’s RP arenas as soon as I figger out how to wrangle it LOL.

    Anyway, apparently SL is getting progressively more expensive and ridiculous, from what I am hearing. But it’s comfortable for the old timers … and BTW … in the role playing circles I hung out in … many had at least one alt in addition to their “main” and I personally know one woman who claims to have over 30 accounts for role playing in SL. I have 7 accounts on Second Life, myself. All were for role playing.

    SO … I don’t put much faith in SL’s numbers. SO many alts floating around, I used to say some of the RP communities at least only had 5 human beings playing of a population of 50 *winks*

    Crystal Brewton

    19 Oct 12 at 9:56 pm

  9. thanks for helping your friend Crystal – i hope she loves making stuff as much as you and i do

    hmm, the instructions eh? yah, there are not many in that text file – i suppose i figure people are a bit of a go-getter to even try doing OpenSim. by it’s nature, i figure it is like getting professional software like Photoshop and that it has a learning curve to get up and going

    but . . . i could possibly add a bit more direction . . . =)

    Ener Hax

    24 Oct 12 at 2:49 pm

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