Second Life’s second quarter economic stats were released 2011-08-13. Since then several people have blogged their take on the numbers and what they may mean. Those that have heard the addresses and panel discussions at SLCC 2011 have probably noticed a disparity between what bloggers are saying and what Lindens are saying. I’ll take a look at both sides of the coin.
Several bloggers posted their reviews of the economic stats before SLCC convened. Others posted after SLCC concluded. Some of those posting are:
- Dwell On It – Second Life Q2 2011 metrics and economy analysis
- Tateru always has a practical interpretation of Second Life numbers. I don’t always see it the same way, but I do find her take is rational and reasonable. In this post she seems skeptical of the growth numbers the Lab seems so happy about. I agree and I too am skeptical.
- DGP4SL Blog – Second Life Economics for Q2
- Darrius gives a blunt interpretation of the numbers. He has opinions based on a definite capitalist mind set, so I usually agree but not always. In this article I am split on the solutions he recommends. The bottom line is he too is not seeing the numbers as positive as the Lindens seem to be making them.
- New World Notes – Linden Lab Reports Second Life Has 1 Million+ Monthly Users
- Hamlet is well known. I see his opinions ranging from the practical and insightful to WTF! I suspect that is deliberate on his part. With the Linden economic numbers I find him skeptical. He provides good information and seems to be intellectually honest in his opinions.
- New World Notes – Second Life No Longer Among Nielsen’s Top 10 Most Played PC Games (Most of Which Are About as Old as SL)
- Hamlet provides some outside numbers on popular games in the article and how SL compares.
- SLUniverse – The Second Life Economy in Q2 2011
- SLUniverse is a forum popular with many residents and even Lindens, Rod mentioned hanging out there. One can usually find a load of sarcasm and unique opinions mixed in with some keen insights in the posts. The opinions in this thread are mostly skeptical, but it seems to have a positive lean. The 8/28 numbers are here: Tyche Shepherd Stats. Visit his site here: Second Life Grid Survey.
- Toy Talks – LL Q2-11 Economic Results – Bad & Hidden News with Sugar OnTop
- I don’t follow this blog. I found it while looking for a more negative take on the SL economic numbers. Toysoldier Thor presents the idea that the Lab may be sugar coating the numbers, which I think is to be expected. Businesses often do that. Several good points are made about what numbers could be reported to give us a good insight to what is actually happening. Also, Toysoldier points out some common practices in how businesses handle their reporting. Worth a read.
- Launch – Daily Signups for Second Life Grow 60% under New CEO; Tablet Version Planned
- This is another blog I don’t follow but found while researching. They have some numbers I have not seen elsewhere. We also get the hint that Premium Members may gain access to luxury sandboxes.
In general the opinions are skeptical of the Linden opinions that things are going well. From my viewpoint this differing views makes sense. The Lindens know their plans and the status of their implementation. It is reasonable for them to think things are going well when numbers for the implemented parts of their plan show an increase.
There is no way to rate opinions and have anything beyond speculation. So, I’ve been waiting for the end of month stats. I got those and here is what I found.
We can see that the number of daily signups has increased since the web site was changed. We can also see what looks like an overall increase in the rate signups are increasing, the average slopes up. The average is not shown, but you can anticipate where it would be.
The most interesting thing is the spike for the weekend of SLCC 2011. That is a significant spike. I’m not sure what caused it. I am guessing publicity.
There may also be a follow on bounce from the SL movie televised in OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). It is hard to tell. The OWN is having trouble getting viewers. Well, duh! Oprah isn’t on live. Plus the SL movie was not on her show but on in the evening when few people are watching. Plus, I tried to watch and got bored. So, I doubt the is a visible effect from the airing.
I usually use Metaverse’s stats for concurrency. But, the new month’s data is not up and the graph online appears to be two months behind. So, I am showing the graph from Dwell On It SL Stats. It is hard to know if things are improving or deteriorating. The change is so small it is mostly meaningless. The Metaverse charts gave more information and were showing the slightest increase in average daily concurrency. Tateru’s graph shows the daily median and a pronounced decline. It is a flat decline, but ti is apparent.
See: Grid Survey
Region growth is basically flat. If one looks at the report provided at SLUniverse, they find out that private regions decreased and Linden owned regions increased. Speculation is the Lindens are preparing for the new enhancements to Premium Accounts. It seems there will be private sandboxes for premium members. There is also speculation that land barons are preparing for a down turn.
See: Metaverse Business
The Metaverse weekly graph shows a couple of weeks with more added regions than closed regions. Week 35 is incomplete. But, that doesn’t say anything until we see more added than closing regions forming a trend.
The demand for land may be decreasing. I think Direct Delivery will remove the need for many merchants to have land for their Magic Box, the scripted box that sends items to the market place for listing items for sale. Also, Linden homes are likely taking a bite too. From some of the things I’ve heard Lindens say recently, I suspect the Linden idea is very much to be the provider of customers to SL merchants. Consider that if merchants become profitable, they will lease more regions. We’ll see. But, I don’t plan to be purchasing land to rent any time soon.
See: Grid Survey
The Grid Survey shows the number of adult, moderate, and general regions. We can see that adult rated regions are increasing. We are losing moderate regions.
Considering that the growth area is in adult regions, one has to wonder why the Lindens are not providing more direction to that active community. But, then Grendel’s dropped two regions because they couldn’t get Linden Support to help them.
When one looks at the graph of instability, it is hard to understand why support is not more responsive. There is no spike in instability that would overwhelm support.
From these stats it is unclear whether the Lab has turned things around. It can certainly be spun either way. I still believe that the Lindens understanding the plan and its implementation schedule gives them more hope than what we can see as justified.
There are lots of things to give encouragement. Mesh is out and some awesome stuff is coming into SL. Changes coming to the SL web sites may get SL a social networking bump. The viewer is changing. The head Linden for viewer development is hidden away working on something. That probably indicates a serious effort to get something working for tablets and smart phones. But, no one is talking much.
Direct Delivery should arrive late this month. Other changes to the market place may help retain players and encourage merchants. We’ll have to wait and see. The Lindens in charge of SL ecommerce and search are some of the least communicative at the lab. The result is the merchants, the people that create most of SL and are primary consumers of land, are unmotivated and discouraged.
Now that mesh is out effort is being channeled into performance and stability issues. We should see more work done on security and region crossings.
So, while there is reason for hope, the community and the Lab see things differently. The Lab thinks they have it figured out. Residents hope they do and have their doubts.