Second Life’s slow downward march


blah, blah, blah . . .

from time to time i look at SL’s private sim decline and it may seem like i am being negative but numbers are numbers and the vast majority of LL’s revenue comes from SL private tiers

the good news is that SL’s private sim decline is no longer the 8 sims per day that it was in 2012! if that were the case, there would be zero private sims in january of 2020! o_O

i would *think* that there will be some point at which the churn of private estates will achieve homeostasis (homo what?). a time in the future where the number of sims stays somewhat steady

however, who knows what the next thing is that will draw users away from SL (and OpenSim)

perhaps someone will come up with a nifty free 3D shareable, collaborative, and tactile world that isn’t even tied to a viewer or even a browser?

i personally don’t think we will see any noticeable shift to technologies that require 3D glasses with cameras like meta (which is incredibly cool, imo)

i also don’t think any significant advances or price reductions will come from LL that will amount to what we saw in 2006-2008

enough of my ranting and opinions – the chart below speaks clearly

the lines connecting the data points are straight but in reality, there has been much variation between the points and that can be seen in my past charting and with Tyche Shepherd’s SLU posts or using the way back machine with her site

the private monthly tiers in green correspond to the data point to their left (and $4 million a month is real money!)


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written by Ener Hax

September 5th, 2013 at 7:17 am

posted in second life,virtual worlds

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13 comments to 'Second Life’s slow downward march'

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  1. I am going to have a raspberry pi (RPi ARM processor). I plan to look at MUDs again. both Everquest and WoW was MUD-base servers on a 3D client. I also plan to do something with opensimulator if it runs on the RPi. but I don’t want another sl-clone.


    5 Sep 13 at 5:28 pm

  2. The decline is slowing, but it has a way to go yet to reach equilibrium. The concurrency numbers are going UP, which is a good sign, but there is still too much land on the grid in relation to the number of users. We’re still seeing the results of LL’s mismanagement decisions of three years ago with the creation of Nautilus, Bay City, Zindra, and the Linden Home regions, plus the Homestead bait-and-switch fiasco. All this added a great deal of land to the grid in a time when the user base was declining. That excess has been slowly melting off, but there is still a great deal of yellow (land for sale) on the map.

    The consolidation of XStreetSL with the official website in the form of the Marketplace has not helped either, since it provides a way for creators to sell their goods without an in world presence. Another area where LL shot themselves in the foot.

    It’s been a hard three years for in world merchants and landlords, but I think we are starting to see things turn around.

    You know what would really give the SL economy a huge shot in the arm? Three words: bring back gambling.

    Lindal Kidd

    5 Sep 13 at 11:03 pm

  3. Um – the Lindens have damn good reasons not to bring back gambling. The Feds have been heavily cracking down on the online gambling sites for a couple of years now, especially those owned or operated by Americans.

    Redwood Rhiadra

    7 Sep 13 at 10:48 am

  4. You guys are missing a pretty important point. Under M Linden, LL offered some land barons deep discounts on their tier if they continued to purchase new sims which lead to the steep run-up in private sims. People were buying new sims simply to keep their discount structure on the sims they already had, whether they actually needed new sims or not.

    Clearly, with a program like this, unless there is infinite increases in demand, there will eventually be a point of diminishing returns when it no longer pays to buy new sims to extend the discount–which seemed to happen sometime between 2011 and 2012.

    We’ve known for some time now that M Linden grossly over-exaggerated Secondlife’s growth rate. Clearly it will take some time to work though all the ramifications of his shortsightedness. It doesn’t mean the sky is falling though.

    boyd Doghouse

    7 Sep 13 at 12:51 pm

  5. Correlation does not always mean causation…

    …but it’s interesting to see how it all began to trend negative between 2010 and 2011…

    …which is when LL laid off almost 1/3 of its employees.


    7 Sep 13 at 2:58 pm

  6. […] company founder Philip Rosedale confessed to having endured a "crazy painful" struggle with the declining virtual world […]

  7. chris haylerson

    14 Sep 13 at 9:35 pm

  8. the new ToS change about “sell re-sell sub-license” user content is quite interesting

    i dont think it means LL will “sell” user content as content. i think it means that if LL ever wanted to selloff the SL part of the company to a buyer then they can sell the content with it without any legal hassles

    bc the value of SL like cashout wise is the content. without the content then is just a bunch of hardwares some softwares and some peoples. can always get new peoples like users if got lots of nice stuff and a new owner with a smiley face on

    elizabeth (16)

    16 Sep 13 at 11:10 am

  9. Hi guys, how about to get a clue as to assume? Get a clue, knowledge is power!

    Miss Choovio

    19 Sep 13 at 9:01 am

  10. miss choovio, sorry to see that you closed your SL business =(

    Ener Hax

    19 Sep 13 at 5:06 pm

  11. i thought about this some more. so here goes tl;dr (:

    i think the tos change has lots to do with restructuring

    with desura purchase i think linden has worked out that they need to be in the same space as apple store. xbox store. valve. etc. those models been proved successful for sell/distribute mass volumes

    the big difference linden have over them is linden have a working ingame/inworld currency system. the others (mainly microsoft) tried that but they end up not seeing the point of it (for them as a business). facebook the same. if selling direct then easier to do in a rl currency which suits the direct sell model. where is little or none interaction between the disparate products (other than thru common APIs)

    linden know that their L$ system is a winner for usergen content. is proven to be. it allow users to trade/cashin/cashout thru a broker (linden) and stimulates ingame/inworld interaction from largely ordinaryish amateur user creatives. who do it for pin money (if they can) and pleasure more than anything. and who are the cash cow of usergen


    desura the key to linden becoming a monster player in this space

    the biggest problem facing usergen is copybot. is a universal problem. so how do you deal with it??

    apple gone down the vet every upload path. google gone down the we only care after the fact and only do something about it if the actual owner/creator makes a formal DMCA complaint. linden are stuck somewhere inbetween. leaning to the google way at the mo

    linden are going to try something else i think

    if the creator/designer gives linden property rights over the creation then linden can remove stuff from the user-accessible assets servers whenever they like. they dont have to wait for a complaint. they can bypass the DMCA and just delete/remove anything. bc they have rights to do that as a shared property owning licensee of the stuff. which is in the end a good thing for the other property owner/partner involved (the designer/creator) who don’t have any control over the system themselfs

    i am hope that this is their plan. bc nothing else makes any business sense


    except for a restructure of the company. where secondlife is spun into a subsidiary. which would mean linden would need this new ToS rights. as can be legal argued that the previous ToS not give linden any legal right to transfer usergen assets distribution license to another legal body/company. even if they owned the new company 100%. is how the law goes does that

    is possible that one day linden will restructure and spin SL. same the other new games. into subsidiaries. and linden lab end up like a holding/governance company. with a independent research lab on the side to explore/examine new ideas. independent of the commercials like SL. blocks. ect


    if linden do spin SL then i think that would be a good thing. SL users would then have a management/staff team totally dedicated to SL. one not distracted by other things. like allocation of staff/resources to other divisions like they are now, for example


    one thing can say about linden. they know how to play the long game. it just that they always been pretty opaque about it. and they dont really have a good short game. never have had really. their short game seems to be: make something up and give it a go and see what happens

    the purchase of desura means that linden now in the big leagues. they going head to head with the big boys now. is going to be pretty rocky for them i think unless they lift their short game

    but i would back them to succeed. if linden ever did spin SL and invite public to buy in then i would buy some shares. will be heart attack country most of the time bc of how linden play the short game (: but i back their long game bc that what investment about

    and i would go back and play on sl again. just so when i am sit my parcel i be able to say: get off my land you big you !!! i own these whole 3 pixels for reals. jejejejjee (:

    elizabeth (16)

    1 Oct 13 at 12:22 am

  12. very, very well expressed Elizabeth =)

    “in the same space as apple store. xbox store” is also where i would like to be! but LL is a far cry from Apple!

    “a management/staff team totally dedicated to SL” AMEN!

    that last thing would make a HUGE difference!

    Ener Hax

    2 Oct 13 at 2:23 pm

  13. […] it’s been six weeks since my last morbid SL private sim loss post – Second Life’s slow downward march […]

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