It’s quite a milestone for the virtual world of Second Life to have signed up over 2 million users this week. Especially since they reached the 1 million mark in September. No one would disagree that things are growing pretty quickly.
Now that doesn’t mean that you’ll find 2 million avatars wandering around Second Life at the one time. That number is closer to 16,000. And many new users probably won’t spend a lot of time in Second Life. The MMO’s creator, Linden Labs, have estimated a 10% retention rate – Only 10% of those signing up will continue to visit Second Life on an ongoing basis.
So the 2 million figure could somewhat misleading – most new avatars (me included) aren’t in Second Life to buy land and/or trousers, but to see for themselves what this much-hyped virtual world is all about. It’s unlikely that anyone’s Grandmother will be a pole-dancing in Second Life just yet.
However, Modern Marketers like you might also be interested to know that Linden Labs have released some graphs and stats about the size of the population and economy in the Second Life (SL). Here are what I thought were the most interesting points:
- More than 90,000 unique SL residents have bought currency (ie Linden Dollars) on the exchange.
- The number of ‘Premium’ SL residents – those who pay a fee to receive Linden dollars and the opportunity to buy land – has grown from 5,000 at the start of 2005 to over 36,000 at the end of November 2006.
- The combined world of Second Life nearly 4.5 times the size of the island of Manhatten Island (which sounds awfully impressive to this Melbournian).
- Since the Linden currency and the ‘LindeX’ was launched (in October of 2005), more than $15 million dollars worth of Lindens has been bought and sold – with $2.6 million traded in November alone.
- In November of 2006, residents spent more than 6.4 million hours in-word – that’s more than 10 times the number of user hours in January 2005.
That first bullet point – the one about the 90,000 residents who have bought currency – seems to me like a good indicator of the number of ‘serious’ Second Life residents in existence. Not everyone wants to buy virtual land, but when someone is prepared to exchange real-world dollars for virtual currency, I’d say they are more than ‘dipping their toes’.
2006 has indeed been the tipping point for Second Life, but it will indeed be interesting to see how it all pans out in 2007. I for one will be keeping my eye on this space.