In April the signup process for Second Life changed. Since then we have seen a sustained increase in sign ups. Sign ups have gone from averaging about 10,000 per day to around 15,000 per day. It is a pretty good increase.
We don’t have any numbers on how many are staying after they signup. The empirical evidence I have says there are more new people in SL. Many places that I go now have new players. There seems to be many more new player questions in the forums. But, that is totally subjective and it does not give any idea of how long they may be staying.
We do have Concurrency numbers. In Tateru’s graph we can see the daily variations in the median number of concurrent users. In Metaverse-Business’ graph we can see the average value for the month. There is a tiny up tic in the median value. The minimum number of concurrent users for the last 3 months shows a consistent small climb. However the corresponding maximum users for the day is slowly decreasing. The difference is a tiny gain.
So, the increase in signups does not seem to be translating to new users, or at least not enough to be visibly changing the concurrency numbers.
The Lindens are hinting at new things coming to SL. We know about Direct Delivery that will make selling in the Market Place easier and delivery of items more reliable.
We know mesh is almost here. Even when it is completely rolled out it will take some time to have a visible effect. We might also guess that a better looking SL would not help player retention just as fantastic graphics for Blue Mars didn’t do much for them.
The new web profiles and social networking features are starting to appear. Every Internet business on the planet is thinking social networking is the answer. It may be. Only time will tell.
Next weekend is the SL Community Convention (SLCC). Rod Humble is giving a speech on the future of SL Saturday August 13 at 1:00 PM PT/SLT. (Schedule) We should hear more of what the Lab is planning. Will we get a browser based viewer? SpotOn3D has one for OpenSim that works with Facebook. Does the Lab have a deal with Google to be one of Plus’ new games? Probably not. But, I’m sure they have something to say.
Only some SL users are using the new Profile Feed. I am finding it handy for more things. It is pretty raw and needs lots of polishing. But, it may help player retention. I have to wonder how a new user will find out that it is there. I suppose the Lab is planning to do something on the web with the feeds more than within the viewer. Whatever the plan, I’m pretty fuzzy how a SL social network will work. Time will tell.