Second Life’s private sim loss slowing?


last year, Linden Lab saw Second Life lose an average of 8 private sims per day. with a full sim meaning $295 of monthly revenue, that loss is substantial

any loss, or negative growth, is a bad thing for most companies, especially in the US where even Apple gets tons of gloom and doom media coverage if their earnings fall short!

last year i looked at those private sim numbers as a measure of Second Life’s health and an indicator of the mainstream’s view of virtual worlds. there will always be a market for high-end stuff even as cheaper stuff becomes available (there is always someone who will buy a Bentley, despite their being zillions of far cheaper cars available)

certainly we have seen a shift making some of the SL private sim loss a wash with some people migrating over to OpenSim options such as InWorldz, Kitely, New World Studio, and even Sim-on-a-Stick (18k downloads in two years)

with every post last year about the SL loss, there were people stating that some of that was from expiring non-profit/ed discounts and that the rate of loss should level out a bit

it looks as if that leveling out is happening in 2013

there is still a net loss but it looks to be under six sims per day as an average for this year. a loss is still bad, but the difference between eight a day and six is 25% in the right direction

personally, i don’t think SL will ever see positive growth again and LL doesn’t seem to care much about that (not in any¬†discernible¬†external ways), but maybe SL will get to an equilibrium at some point where the grid stays a certain size


data from Tyche Shepherd’s

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written by Ener Hax

April 12th, 2013 at 8:57 am

posted in second life,virtual worlds

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6 comments to 'Second Life’s private sim loss slowing?'

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  1. Yes, it will even out, but it may be a way off.

    They are several scenarios where regions may be kept, other than they are profit centers:

    – Educational presence, just “because”, Just like a physical campus is required.
    – Business owned, but the loss is insignificant in the context of a larger department budget
    – For private reasons. A hobby, or employment.
    – In a “holding pattern”. If the sim isn’t losing too much, there could be a new next big thing around the corner. Perhaps they will drop sim price.

    I have followed a few mainland plots over the years. One is 512m, and been unchanged for 3 years. No active sign of owner. Yet they must be paying a premium membership for all this time.

    These are the sorts of land plots, including private regions, that are just slipping away.

    Breen Whitman

    14 Apr 13 at 3:45 am

  2. There are reasons why people are not only still in SL but even investing in it. And other than stated by Breen the commercial/edu/employment sector is insignificant. Most of us just play/pay because …

    1) There is no viable alternative for SL. All the other worlds might have their benefits but none of them do even come close when you’re looking for strong communities, physics, a rich shopping experience, various continents and big estates to explore. SL isn’t for the developing guys anymore, it’s a consumer’s platform these days. And as that it’s the best.

    2) Physics! Although still far from being a real simulation we have countless racing scenes in SL. Motorbikes, cars, sailing; including class associations, clubs, builders, technical authorities and stuff.

    3) Roleplay is big in SL. I guess there is no other platform yet as established as SL to have huge Gorean/steampunkish/apocalyptic scenarios.

    4) Friends! Simple choice: all my friends are on SL, since years we established relationships and social circles. On OSG I’d need to start all over again as a n00b. I played with SoaS for 2 days … was bored and haven’t touched it again since. As human beings we want to co-operate, fight, have drama, intrigue, grief, just all sorts of interaction.

    Orca Flotta

    14 Apr 13 at 8:46 am

  3. both of you are correct (imho) and it boils down to the user

    i just read (a month late!) that LL seems to be offering the ed/non-profit discount to a small select group!

    that type of thing tends to backfire as it seems like “rubbing salt into the wound”

    Ener Hax

    15 Apr 13 at 10:49 am

  4. Oooh, have you seen this? You probably have/will in no time.

    I love this and can’t wait to see what Philip has in store…I’m all giddy!

    Please give it the Ener treatment when you’re looking for new blog topics!

    Virtual Clover

    19 Apr 13 at 2:27 am

  5. And don’t forget that the entire entertainment industry is seeing a drop in revenue of on average 10-15% a year since 2008.
    Compared to those numbers, SL is doing pretty good.

    Over 2012 for example, World of Warcraft, the only gaming platform of comparable size when it comes to users, lost several million paying players.
    Some reverted to free accounts, obscuring the numbers somewhat.

    Free alternatives have something to do with it, but most or all of those are far inferior and for the serious user are no alternative (iow, most people who go there are forced to because it’s go there or stop being online at all).

    It’s possible SL will slip into a slowing decline, it’s also possible they’ll rebounce.
    IMO the predictions of its demise are way too strong and early. But of course those predictions started prior to the first open beta, and have been a constant background chatter ever since (again, same as with World of Warcraft and basically any online community/game out there).


    21 Apr 13 at 2:22 pm

  6. thanks Virtual Clover – the avatar test was interesting and i wonder why this all isn’t being built on the SL platform?

    i guess since SL started in 1999, there may be some newer and more efficient ways to achieve better results by starting from scratch?

    very good point Iala – with a holistic look, it all is declining globally and some is economic and some, imo, is simply ovelty

    WoW and Farmville are old news and people have played them and moved on. a core remains though

    as far as early, i’d say the 14 years is a long time for tech-related things. SL started in 1999 and went public in 2003 – i think it has run its course and that “core” group remains. new people replace those that drop off and i agree that it wil level out at some point. even at $295 a sim, there will always be people willing to buy it

    Ener Hax

    23 Apr 13 at 9:39 am

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