With concurrent user count recently peaking at 57,000± and user group meeting attendance low I think it is fair to ask if people are losing interest in what’s happening in Second LifeTM. The answer is one of those things that is very subjective, because it is so difficult to get objective or complete information. So, most answers are opinion.
We see attendance at user group meetings at 10 to 25 people. Yet, we see 4 regions fill up for Firestorm meetings. The video above shows the casting call for Project Bento. About 10 people attended and 4 of use were bloggers or people managing the event.
How many were at Lab Chat today? All the blogs I read were promoting it. All those blogs were promoting the Bento casting call too. I expected a good turnout at Lab Chat. 10:30 AM SLT/PST at these regions; LEA2, LEA3, LEA4. Inara Pey will have a transcript of the meeting and it will be recorded to video, which will be available later.
At the last Lab Chat it was said there were about 180± attendees. This morning the attendee regions for the chat meeting are full, about 120+. A fourth region LEA1 is for the facilitators and interviewees, I think, and has about 16 people.
Those 130 people were a small part of the 42,762 then currently logged in and make up only 0.3%. Not many percentage-wise. But, we can’t know how many are trying to get in. Often we have an idea as people line up at the region boundary. Today it looks like about 3 people. But, there is no way for us (users) to know how many have tried to TP via world map, the Destination Guide, or a SLURL.
Does this show a lack of interest in SL? Or… is it more about how hard it is to get people’s attention? I think the later. But, comparing Lab Chat and the Bento casting call may be more an indication of people’s interest in specific parts of SL. Isn’t hearing from Linden Lab CEO more exciting than learning about which bones will be added to the SL avatar? I suppose that depends on your interests.
Another aspect of SL that I notice is Flickr. I like visual images. So, most days I look at my Flickr page a couple of times a day, something I enjoy. I follow 271 people (for now). From those I get more images than I can see every day. Meaning if I only look twice a day, the are so many new pictures they fill my ‘home’ page and I would need to click more to the rest of the images I have yet to see. Some are posting new images every few hours. If I search on ‘Second Life’ at Flickr there are well over 500 new images per day. It only takes about 250 to fill up the first page of results in the Everyone section. Then you start clicking MORE and looking for the last image uploaded today. I stopped at about 500 images.
I think that is a lot of new images. Consider. World of WarcraftTM has 5 million (depend on when the count is published, it was going down last I checked) monthly active subscribers. Guess how many WoW images were posted to day? (Comparing SL and WoW about 2 PM PST) …
That is 500+ for SL to 1 for WoW. So, I can’t say image posting is a good measure of peoples interest… I will venture to say we definitely have more active photographers in SL.
A search on ‘Second Life fan sites’ produces 140 million hits on Google. A search on ‘World of Warcraft fan sites’ produces 840,000 hits. Changing the terms I can get up to 1.5 million for WoW. But, that is still only 1.07% of the ‘fan sites’ SL has. But, the term “Second Life” may produce unreliable results. I’ve always thought the Lab created that name without thinking how it would place in search results. Way too much dilution on that name.
With 5 million paying subscribers I think it safe to say there is more interest in WoW than SL. But, 140 million fan sites? Well, there may be a lot of hits per site…
Just searching on ‘World of Warcraft’ there are 65 million hits. Adding ‘game’ cuts that to 29 million. Searching on “Second Life” yields 18 million hits. Adding ‘game’ cuts it to 2.8 million. These numbers seem more in line with what few user numbers we know. Do the numbers suggest there is ten times more interest in WoW than SL? May be.
There is really nothing to tell us whether Second Life is losing users, static, or gaining users. We have so little information one could speculate whichever way they want.
I do see a continuing drop in peak concurrent users. But, the rate of decrease is decreasing. At least for the years I’ve been tracking it. But, that doesn’t tell us a lot. I say that because with the introduction of mesh the ratio of time in-world verses time in Blender/Maya changed. We have never had good numbers on unique user logins since mesh. So, the total time a user spends on SL oriented activity is hard to know.
We do know that with the introduction of mesh peak concurrency dropped. The Lab tells us that the number of users didn’t drop, just the time in-world. You’ll have to decide how believable you find that. I tend to believe it because it matches my personal experience. But, am I representative? Probably not.
We also don’t know the ratio of creative designers making content to users not creating content.
In all, I think the question of whether people are losing interest in SL has no objective or factual answer. I doubt even the Lab could answer the question because of in-world verses Blender/Maya time allocation. The Lab can measure in-world time. But, they have to speculate on Blender/Maya time. While I think they could do some interesting analysis of time in-world based on those uploading content, they would need a pre-mesh baseline. Still, there would be considerable speculation.