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  Realistic ‘Second Life’ Numbers Reported  
Posted 2007-01-06 by Tony Walsh
In the comments section of David Kirkpatrick's recent Business 2.0/Fortune piece "Why Second Life Numbers DO Matter," the writer wrings realistic Second Life data out of Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale:

  • 1,525,670 unique people have logged into SL at least once. This is based not on unique IP addresses, but unique email addresses and/or billing information supplied. At the time of this writing, 2,392,465 total "residents" are listed on the Second Life home page. That means there are 886,795 accounts that have either never logged in, or are alternate accounts (owned by a single user).
  • 252,284 people have logged in more than 30 days after their account creation date. In 2004, over 45% of registrants were still active after 30 days. Today, 15% of registrants are still active after 30 days. Between September and October, 2006, "The absolute number of those still returning after 30 days grew 23%"

Clay Shirky, who raised a high-profile stink last month about Second Life's numbers, finds that "The '2.3 million user/77% growth in two months' figures would have meant 70 million Second Life users this time next year. 250 thousand and 23% growth will mean 3 million in a year's time, a healthy number, but not hyperbolic growth." I'm not confident that the 23% growth rate will hold, given the instability of the platform, but I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Meanwhile, Tristan Louis ran his own batch of Linden-supplied numbers yesterday, compiling 4 spreadsheets. Predicting Second Life's population growth by the end of April, 2007, Louis comes up with 3.5 million on the low side (far higher than the real numbers seem to suggest). I would have liked to have seen Linden Lab's "Online Now" stat reflected in Louis' numbers, indicating the number of peak concurrent users (PCU) over time. This number doesn't seem to be archived formally by Linden Lab, but I've got a few posts here of relevance: 18k PCU in Q4 2006, 8k PCU in August, 10k+ PCU in September, 2006, 6-7k in June, 2006. At the end of December, 2006, peak concurrency hit 20k users... and then the entire grid went wonky.
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Comment posted by Tristan Louis
January 8, 2007 @ 1:23 am
The reason I didn't post concurency is that the numbers were pretty consistant (around 10k) for a couple of months so I just stopped tracking the info. Without a full batch, it would have looked weird to publish them (and besides that, I've actually removed them from the spreadsheet I was using :) )
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