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  ‘Second Life’ User Bottleneck:  Hello, Avatar?  
 
 
Posted 2007-04-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Wired.com reports on Second Life's first tech expo, finding that with 60 vendors, only 40 visitors at a time could attend--over the weekend, though, 6,270 avatars passed through This is roughly equivalent to a BBC Radio 1 music festival held in-world last spring, where roughly 6,000 avatars visited during the weekend.

Concurrency across the virtual world currently peaks between 30,000 to 40,000 avatars most days, but you'll never find thousands of avatars in once place at one time in Second Life. It's not technically feasible to cram in more than several dozen avatars into a single "simulator" (large, virtual plot of land). A well-constructed event might take place at the intersection of 4 of the square sims, thus expanding to entertain about 200 distributed avatars. Some developers have adopted a "mirrored" approach, where a single event is played out simultaneously in duplicate sims.

Real-world organizations looking for a presence in the virtual world are slowly starting to wake up to the fact that Second Life isn't a way to quickly reach masses of avatars. As Linda Zimmer of Business Communicators of Second Life encapsulates: "Word of mouth and [real life] media are the two most important information paths for [Second Life]." I believe real-life media exposure is not a long-term strategy for success: The mainstream media seems to be cooling on the usual "me too" efforts in the virtual world. Given the population-bottleneck and the waning media hype over real organizations entering Second Life, the more sensible strategy to reaching as many avatars as possible seems to be staging well-planned, focused events which inspire meaningful in-world/out-world buzz.
 
     
 
   
 
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  3 Comments  
 
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
April 24, 2007 @ 2:00 pm
     
 
I think Wired didn't get this right, as I was at this event, and the sim peaked at 100, but I believe it was in fact at a four corners allowing more visitors. No matter, the point still holds. Whether 40 or 400 at a four corners (which creates as many problems as it solves as people can't hear each other or sink into the ground), there is a limit.

I think the only rational strategy for companies is to have content that doesn't require simultaneous presence, and is asynchronous, and also to schedule as many kinds of events, smaller and larger, as possible.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by wa
April 24, 2007 @ 7:25 pm
     
 
To be honest, the sooner this hype wagon gets surpassed by something genuinely interesting, the better.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by lzimmer
April 24, 2007 @ 9:39 pm
     
 
Hey, Tony! You are right, meaningful world of mouth is key. But I do think a RL media strategy is also important - but I agree, not from the "look at me I'm in Second Life" kind of strategy. I think it needs to be more of the media strategy that you would employ for a RL event - media like blogs, web site, event sites and stories about a meaningful event (not necessarily that it is an SL event).

It is nice to see the SL coverage cooling a bit. Maybe it will get more rational along the way. :-)
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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