what’s in a number – 6100 private SL sims


i follow the growth and decline of Second Life private sims for a few reasons. SL was where i was created, i once had plans for 52 sims as supplemental income (only reached 19), the health of SL has a direct impact on OpenSim (perhaps less so now that LL has clamped down on TPVs), and the bulk of Linden Lab’s annual revenue is from private sims (currently $4.1 million per month)

i get my numbers from Tyche Shepherd’s awesome Grid Survey and her posts on SLUniverse

in the last year i have mainly looked at the average daily loss of private sims which is around 7.4 per day for 2013 (it was 8 per day for 2012). a year is a decentĀ time frameĀ for looking at the growth of a corporation, but how have private sims done since the media frenzy days of Second Life?

at its peak there were 26,605 private sims in 2008 and, as of yesterday, there are 20,505 private sims. a net loss of 6,100

if we assume a constant ratio of 54% full to 45% homesteads (this has changed over time though) that would mean that in november of 2008, LL was making $5.4 million a month versus today’s $4.1 million. a drop of $1.3 million a month (that’s like 6000 poutines a day!) o_O

historic private sims

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written by Ener Hax

March 8th, 2013 at 8:54 am

posted in second life

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11 comments to 'what’s in a number – 6100 private SL sims'

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  1. I agree, Ener… SL health or growth (negative growth?) affects this whole segment of virtual world, including OpenSim.

    As the demographic population of SL ages (current average: 33 year old user population) the market for it declines.

    OpenSim, with an estimated 42 year old user population, with a much nerdier demographic… may end up with a similar demise due to declining ‘market’.

    The widespread move to smartfones, tablets, and pads that are less capable of a high-resolution, high FPS user experience than gamer laptops and high power videoprocessor desktops, is also a leading factor in demise.

    Many SL users have “Second Lifeboat” regions in OpenSim now. But, ask some of the passengers of the Costa Concordia ship disaster if the lifeboats performed well for them, when the ship listed on its side. What is lacking for most SL-to-OpenSim survivalists, is to build up a better content inventory for themselves in OpenSim. They tend to overlook the supplies they will need when the SL shipwreck happens.

    Lani Global

    8 Mar 13 at 9:21 am

  2. wow, excellent data on the ages! and that goes along with my perception that more “professionals” use OpenSim than SL

    although, people like Kate Booth and her third graders might throw that demographic off! =)

    OpenSim might see a decline, as you mention, because there will be a core group of users that kind of are like me – using it for a specific purpose and not at all for recreation

    fully agree about content – still a huge disparity between the two

    Ener Hax

    8 Mar 13 at 9:41 am

  3. I believe, tho, that the age situation is the main reason for SL’s move to be served by Steam. I don’t know that it’s going to make much difference, but it will get newer eyes on SL. This will be good for Opensim, because once they see the bad business and exorbitant prices on SL, they’ll discover Opensim :)


    8 Mar 13 at 9:56 am

  4. and OpenSim does continue to grow (though slowly) and more content is being developed (although very, very slowly and not nearly as robust)

    OpenSim’s many cost options are both good and bad – good in that with a little research you can find everything from completely free to incredibly affordable to moderate budgets but bad in that there are many choices

    i personally think that a steady growth will occur for educational use (but that will be small) but don’t have any insight into grids like InWorldz

    when hypergridding becomes as easy as web surfing, a small uptick may occur but all of this depends on people doing exemplarary work that inspires new people to give it a try

    the OpenSim platform is strong but actual useful examples built be “normal” people is probably the biggest driver of any growth

    Ener Hax

    8 Mar 13 at 10:03 am

  5. Closed grids as Inworldz are on the right path to make sure Sl decline and end will not mean the death of Metaverses!
    Sl decline is due to lack of vision from its leadership, as well as lack of knowledge (Being the producer of Sims 2 does not mean ship, SL is not sims 2, 3 or whatever!).
    And be sure, on steam no SL, perhaps a new platform like Sl , but cut off of all adult meaning, Steam never wil allow sex as there is now on Sl and as its natural, unless on countries like Saudi arabia, Afeganistan, Usa!

    ZZ Bottom

    8 Mar 13 at 11:14 am

  6. amen ZZ! LL has zero vision since Philip left!

    i think places like InWorldz and other popular OpenSim places will live on and continue growing regardless of SL

    it is very strange to me that the Sims guy does not seem to have a clue about what SL really is – SL could be phenomenal, it just seems that LL keeps getting in its own way

    Ener Hax

    8 Mar 13 at 12:48 pm

  7. I wonder how many educators like me are simply “over” virtual worlds?

    This semester will likely mark my last-ever use of SL or OpenSim in a class. Why? It’s not the usual culprits–high tier in SL or the need to DIY nearly everything in an OpenSim grid.

    It’s simply drift: in 2007 when I started, we had 2 or 3 I.T. Folks who supported SL. Now we have none. Their attention went to where the students are: that means low-end laptops using campus wireless for creating content, phones and increasingly, tablets for consuming content.

    We have a lot of hopeful and occasionally desperate folks doing educational support who come to our weekly meetings in SL. But the faculty who publish their work are drifting on: without no incentive from my employer, I decided not to write more about virtual worlds. My next publication will be about the move of an online community from USENET to Facebook.

    In short, barring something like augmented-reality tech that will merge VWs with the “always on” world of mobile, Virtual Worlds are the flying cars of our era: technically possible, potentially world changing, cool, but not the way the world decided to go.

    It sure looked different in 2007, didn’t it?


    9 Mar 13 at 10:08 pm

  8. LL has made many mistakes over the years, likely their biggest & most damaging is that they ignored a Browser Based viewer that would work across platforms. Using a browser based viewer would allow far more people ease of access & use without the major hardware requirements of a dedicated client software.

    Fortunately, Pixie Viewer is coming for OpenSim which does just that. see

    You’d think with all the “$$ Brain Power” they (LL) profess to have, that they would have seen the writing on the wall. They never asked themselves WHY places like IMVU etc have such popularity while SL is declining: Answer: ease of use & access, cross-platform (browser based goodness), no dedicated software that requires serious hardware and major learning curve. K.I.S.S. is not part of the equation with LL.

    80% of users in SL are just consumers (not creators, in this context) and a browser solution would make it easy & simpler to use.


    10 Mar 13 at 9:49 am

  9. Anyway, if Sl is growing up or failing down, it is they owners own fault. I am going to leave SL and join Opensim Community because linden labs does not care anymore. Public Sandboxes are infested of griefers and also “vigilantes” just trying to stop them, why I have to pay for a private sandbox when you can build for free in Osgrid ?. I will be around Osgrid and may be Inworldz more than I did before, may be I can build without being annoyed by griefers or virtual cops just seeking what I am doing. Even, I would help just giving support to those need it with my own experience in SL but also someone told me that resident in Osgrid are friendlier than SL. The blog will be alive with more article about Opensim, Osgrid and Virtual Worlds but there will not more articles of Sl as I promise myself to contribute to the Opensim Community.


    10 Mar 13 at 3:58 pm

  10. Popular or mainstream does not mean any to me!
    I rather prefer to be part of a small but dedicated and smart community, then part of a mob that will shift to the next “Must have” in less then a month!
    And a fact remains, Sl wil do 10 Years if LL does not kill it till then!

    ZZ Bottom

    11 Mar 13 at 6:42 am

  11. that PixieViewer sounds promising WhiteStar! and i agree that 80% of SL peeps are consumers. i’d say it’s not that in OpenSim but probably not far from it

    the people we are targeting with our work will fully be consumers and a WebGL viewer would make it so much more accessible

    that’s too bad Xpontaneus about the sandboxes inSL – that’s the only place to check out SL before paying for anything

    i think you’ll like OpenSim and free options like Sim-on-a-Stick =)

    no mob shifting for you ZZ? well, you are one of the “hardcore” users and certainly not a sheep! and i agree, a small dedicated community is a pleasure to be a part of – much less drama!

    Ener Hax

    11 Mar 13 at 2:13 pm

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