Clickable Culture   Official Research Blog of Phantom Compass
  ‘Second Life’ User Retention in 2006 and Beyond  
Posted 2006-12-18 by Tony Walsh
Last month, Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale put Second Life's retention rate at about 10%, based on users who still log in weekly after 3 months. Today, writer Wagner James Au relays new info from Linden Lab revealing that 12-15% of users log in after 30 days--a number that has been "steady over the last year." I'm fairly sure this indicates repeat usage in 2006 dwindles from 12-15% in the first 30 days, down to about 10% after 90 days. I'm a terrible number-cruncher, however, so feel free to set me straight.

Whatever the actual retention-rate, I envision it dropping this month, and for as long as Second Life's system is intermittently hobbled by the crushing weight of 2 million registrants and 18,000 concurrent users. I'm pretty sure the user experience for the first 8 or 9 months of 2006 was about on par with most of 2005 in terms of system stability. The last quarter of this year, though, an explosion in demand for system resources by new users has resulted in significant, ongoing technical issues--the kind that are bothersome to veteran users (who are likely to wait out the storm), let alone newbies (who are likely never to return).

Thinking further ahead, I wonder how the look and feel of Second Life's universe, weathering over time, could affect retention. I think the platform is noticeably dated (despite some nifty cosmetic upgrades over the years). If better experiences become available in 2007 and beyond, there will be fewer incentives to stay in Second Life (beyond the "make your own stuff" attractor). Multiverse? Areae? I'm looking at you.
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Comment posted by Talon Sidek
December 21, 2006 @ 3:14 pm
Just a warning to readers who rush off to try the demo install of the Metaverse. I was excited to see how the client looks, but at the same time, I can't risk screwing up my primary machine. I took the plunge and hit the big red install button and was not happy to find that it installs .Net 2.0 automatically (no choice) and even if you "cancel" the install it will still install .Net 2.0. 30 minutes later, i got the mess cleaned up.

Anybody at Metaverse listening?
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