One of the more telling stats is the Monthly Users, those logging in during the last 30 days. For most of this year that number has been pretty much flat. Over the 12 month period there is an upward trend. But, for 2012 the line is pretty flat or even decreasing.
If we look at the users per grid we see it decreasing. That is mostly a function of a steady number of users and an increasing number of grids.
These numbers are hard to analyze with any accuracy or certainly. What we do know is the largest number of concurrent logins happens on Second Life. The peak uses is about 61,000+ around 2 PM PT. In OSGrid, which publishes numbers the peak users around 2 PM PT is about 300 people.
I have no doubt the number of people finding a use for OpenSim worlds is growing, just not very fast. Certainly not as fast as Second Life is shrinking… and we can’t be certain SL is shrinking. The use pattern for SL has changed. For instance, I’ve spent more time on SL related things this year, but I’ve been in SL less. I work in Blender, Photoshop, and Word on SL projects but spend less time logged in.
This year SL logins have dropped over 70k to just over 60k, which is about 14% loss. Some think there is a seasonal shift in user counts. Tateru Nino of Dwell On It pretty much debunked that idea seasonal affects with her stats. So, I’m not expecting a change in the trends any time this year.
We may see Steam make a change in the user stats. I haven’t decided if it will be a bump up and then the trend continues or if the trend will change directions. I have a hope that Patterns will start to make a difference in about a year. I believe Patterns will be a bit of training ground for people. So, we may start to see those people coming into SL this time next year.
We are also seeing Facebook fading. The stock prices are dropping. It is hard to know what the user stats are. In America 11 million new Internet users came on line. On average 70% of the people on the Internet use Facebook. So, Internet growth in the US alone could have pushed Facebook up by 15 million users this last year.
So, it is hard to say what is happening with online users and especially those playing in virtual worlds. Pundits are wondering if Facebook has peaked and is decreasing. There are stories that Facebook gaming is decreasing in popularity. Will some of those people come over to virtual worlds? No way to know. But, I did pre-purchase Patterns today.
And just for fun: