« Second Life Still Among Nielsen's Top 10 of PC Games in US | Main | Thursday Machinima: SL's Petrovsky Flux Vs. Polish Dubstep »

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Winter Seale

How do you actually only use SL for 3 hours a month? I mean, 3 hours a month, every month? What would the point be?

Or is that stretched out by people who login once a year and go "yup, still sucks"?

(I'm in the middle box, incidentally, although I've been in all of them at different times. The only time I was in the 3 hours a month box, was in the months leading up to me taking a year long break from SL.)

Winter Seale

How do you actually only use SL for 3 hours a month? I mean, 3 hours a month, every month? What would the point be?

Or is that stretched out by people who login once a year and go "yup, still sucks"?

(I'm in the middle box, incidentally, although I've been in all of them at different times. The only time I was in the 3 hours a month box, was in the months leading up to me taking a year long break from SL.)

Ghosty Kips

You are right, there are massive numbers of Residents, active every day in Second Life, who don't actually want a second life. They started coming around a year or two ago, when LL began it's marketing efforts on Facebook, a social network with a well-documented population of people who find Farmville and Mafia Wars "immersive."

The result? AOLuser14589 Resident, who didn't need to expend enough brainpower to come up with a first and last name, never mind create a second life. They're here to partake of the "free 3D virtual chat." It's a video game now. The population of the grid has devolved, because Linden Lab didn't want a bunch of furry yiffing geeks and sexual deviants running the place. They didn't spend enough money blindly I guess. Or the Lab got tired of having large numbers of customers who weren't stupid.

People who want and need Second Lives have first lives to escape from. The modern Resident doesn't want a Second Life, because that's the customer Linden Lab marketed to.

My apologies to anyone I've offended. I'm speaking in broad terms; not everyone on Facebook is a twit. /raises hand

Ordinal Malaprop

SL roleplayers, even those in environments with "gamelike" mechanics, are not at all similar to most MMO players. They really are there for roleplaying primarily. Publicly displaying the level of disconnection between avatar and player that is common in MMOs would be anathema in pretty much every SL roleplaying environment. (Imagine calling your avatar a "toon"!)

That aside I just don't see this at all. "Second Life" as a term is aspirational if anything - it implies a whole new area where one can indulge in all sorts of different activities and is extremely absorbing. In other words, something that you would want to spend lots of time on and create a personal presence in. (Thus spending money; persistent residents are what LL wants, and what content creators want. Casual SL users don't spend much.) Whether SL itself can really deliver on that is a matter of opinion, but "Place That You Can Waste A Bit Of Time In Between Checking Your Facebook" does not help at all.

It is also an established brand, and messing with established brands needs to be done with great care unless they have become completely poisoned, which hasn't quite happened to SL yet.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'll second Ordinal's point on RP. If you're looking for an action-oriented game where everybody is always OOC, there are better options. But SL is ideal for in-depth character development and interaction.

Rebranding is what you do after you've spilled millions of gallons of black sticky poison into the Gulf of Mexico.

Hitomi Tiponi

Some real statistics.

Approx 15000 new users trying SL every day - 95% of which don't last more than a few hours and never come back after a week.

Multiply 15000 by 30 and by 95% and you get that entirre total in that first column. They aren't SL residents, they are visitors - so that really makes your figures and argument seem rather flawed.

Ziki Questi

Agreed with Hitomi and Ghostly. And Arcadia's excellent point, "Rebranding is what you do after you've spilled millions of gallons of black sticky poison into the Gulf of Mexico." As Hitomi says, throw out the entire first column, as they're visitors, not residents or users. That's like including people who simply walk into a store and browse around as if they were key consumers of the brand.

A brand is much more than a name: it reflects the entire user experience. I think what Rodvik has been trying to recapture or reignite is the brand promise represented by the tagline "Your World. Your Imagination." What Second LIfe is missing these days is more brand awareness than anything -- I would venture to guess (although I haven't any statistics) that most people don't even know SL exists, or that it still exists after the boom years. So I wouldn't say the brand is damaged -- I'd say it's not even in most people's consciousnesses. (I don't think I've ever used that word before!)

And Hamlet, you're using data that's TWO YEARS OLD?

Bryon Ruxton

RE: Are there different ways to interpret this user data?

Yes, there are two!

The first one is the above pointed out by Hitomi Tiponi. And secondly, your analysis is also flawed if you count alts, when assuming that 'unique' means 'avatars' and not 'users', which is likely the case.

For example, I have 2-4 alts which I log with for less than 2 hours/month, and/or perhaps one that reach the 4-50 hours/month level. That doesn't make me, as a user, in the low hour usage range...

With these two factors, you could argue that the graph, showing a possible reflection of alt usage and new users that never come back, can't be analysed in precises terms, and any such attempt would be completely flawed.

Drawing any conclusions from it, is therefore pointless and misleading.

Shug Maitland

I agree quite strongly with Byron, I am in world 40+ hours a week, but rarely with the same alt for that entire time. I have a couple of alts that are basicly tools and only come on for an hour or two at a time for testing.
It is also unclear how registered bots figure into those statistics. Models and greeters can be in world 24/7.
Your thesis is flawed because your data is too incomplete even for a good guess. I am sure LL has better data, but they are reticent to share.

Inset name here

Granted "Second Life" is from a marketing pov a very stupid name, from the very beginning. Everyone in marketing will tell you NEVER to use a name that already implies 'second-rated', 'inferior', 'came in second place' etc.
But your line of argumentation is rather (sorry) childish. As 65% who buy an apple actually want a computer and not an apple, still 83% of people who buy an apple are happy with it as long as they don't try to eat it, while only 12% don't like white apples and yet buy them although 57% of those don't like the taste, but 72% would have rather bought a banana if it would be faster in performance.

Hamlet Au

"Approx 15000 new users trying SL every day - 95% of which don't last more than a few hours and never come back after a week."

Hitomi, those new user numbers aren't counted in this chart. These numbers are monthly unique *repeat* logins, or what M. Linden called MURLS. But even if you were to discount the 0-3 hour quadrant, the vast majority would still be in the low usage quadrant of 4-50 hours.

"And Hamlet, you're using data that's TWO YEARS OLD?"

As I said, the latest numbers show that user hours have decreased relative to the total userbase. So the trends remain the same. In fact, there are only about 50K more users in SL from end of 2010 from 2009... but total user hours have remained flat:

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2011/01/2010-second-life-user-activity-flat.html

So there are slightly more users now... and in aggregate they're logging in even less. So while Linden hasn't released data this granular since 2009, the current activity patterns are almost certainly the same.

Hitomi Tiponi

'Hitomi, those new user numbers aren't counted in this chart. These numbers are monthly unique *repeat* logins, or what M. Linden called MURLS.'

Ahh - that wasn't clear. Do you know if the criteria for a MURL figure was logging in in the previous month as well, or just logging in more than once in that month as that would affect the implications that could be drawn from them?

DF

I said this before but... how would a namechange help? Will the problem of not knowing what to do be solved? Unlikely IMO. Will all the other problems that plague the grid be solved? Lol, no.

LL has many issues to adress, but their product's name is way way down at the bottom of that list.

In fact, I predict that a namechange will only get replies of "fun and all but that time you wasted with that should have been used to fix (insert any of the many many problems and bugs here) "

DF

I said this before but... how would a namechange help? Will the problem of not knowing what to do be solved? Unlikely IMO. Will all the other problems that plague the grid be solved? Lol, no.

LL has many issues to adress, but their product's name is way way down at the bottom of that list.

In fact, I predict that a namechange will only get replies of "fun and all but that time you wasted with that should have been used to fix (insert any of the many many problems and bugs here) "

foneco zuzu

Another useless post, and Im not afraid to say, where Hamlet is just pushing some's agenda on again!

Todd Borst

"How do you actually only use SL for 3 hours a month? I mean, 3 hours a month, every month? What would the point be?"

I actually usually only use SL about that few hours a month. I only log in to redeliver items when marketplace purchases fail. SL is my primary source of income. So, there's your point.

I tend to agree with Hamlet in that it can use a re-branding. It's not the best name by a long shot, but it might also be too late in the game for a name change.

Alisha

I'm don't a name change will go as far as you want It to, Hamlet. I do, however, feel a redirection in marketing is needed. SL should be marketed as a Place, not a game or platform.

Marketing SL as a new exciting place/location/country/planet/frontier to visit and explore, sounds far more powerful than marketing software. Regardless of the name.

EileenK

To me Second Life is very much a second life. It is another place. When I am there, I wear another face. It is a bit like this world, but better. I get to do interesting things with my hair, sew my own clothes, and go dancing any time I please. Around me I see many middle aged adults with avies in their late teens and early twenties. They are reliving the youth they never had as they often listen to 1970's and 1980's music. This is a role play that is a guilty and harmless pleasure. There is much to say for a clean well lighted space, until it disappears. Then I miss it just like the building that was torn down.

Right now I am looking for good places for newbies to walk around and get a feel for the capitalistic hurly burly of Second Life, but which have a bit more to do than just spend money (ie a board walk, dance floor, benches, portable toilets) etc... My memory is full of such places, but they are gone and I feel sad about that.

I think if Second Life wants to increase persistence/retention (which has a J curve anyway. They really need to change the J curve's shape) talking to successful users (even atypical users like me) and finding out what makes a successful user is probably the first step to making an improvement.

Graine Macbain

Quality not quantity is what makes a life worth having, First or Second. I'm beginning to believe you can't grasp that distinction, Hamlet. Stop trying to remake SL over in your image. It should be obvious by now that the majority who log in and spend time here don't want the Facebooklift of Second Life.

Dizzy Banjo

The more I think about this discussion the more I think that there are 2 ways forward for Second Life and Linden Lab.

1. EVOLUTION : Attempt to evolve Second Life into something more relevant to todays market, aiming to achieve mass market adoption that could sustain the current business model.

2. PRESERVATION : Leave Second Life how it is and change the business model, possibilities within the world.

--

1. EVOLUTION :
I think that successfully doing this means :

- Perhaps not being a virtual world at all anymore, at least reinventing the idea of a virtual world from a very fundamental level.
- Completely rethinking the fundamental user experience offer to make it fit into todays mainstream's expectations.
- Total rebranding which creates an accurate description of this experience.

To me this would result in almost a totally new project. I think, by necessity, it would significantly change SL as it exists today, perhaps beyond recognition.

2. PRESERVATION and A NEW PROJECT :
The 2003 vision of Second Life is a wonderful and magical one. While I do believe it is no longer as relevant, fresh and left field as it once was, it is still special. The initial ideas of Philip, Cory, Ryan, Hunter and everyone back then, still have real magic. It is a super optimistic, innocent vision, a magical naivety.

This video really sums it up for me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHH2CAE9Y6o

Perhaps its worth keeping that. Then finding a way to make that sustainable for the people that really love it. Maybe this involves a different payment model, a minimisation of in world services which are expensive for Linden to run.

This would not change SL, or move it forward. It would preserve it as a magical place.

--

Perhaps the most exciting and best option might be to preserve Second Life, it its pure form, magical and wonderful for a niche.

Then make a new project from scratch, without the baggage of SL at all. Form a new vision, as bold as that video was in 2003.

Dizzy Banjo

shit that posted 3 times! maybe you could delete 2 Hamlet sorry!

foneco zuzu

Let it be, cause its much more useful to read your post then Hamlet ones:)

Hamlet Au

Excess posts deleted, Dizzy!

You raise a point I've been thinking about: All the Lindens who formulated the basic ideas for Second Life have left Second Life, and are now doing stuff that's fairly different or even in some ways contradictory from that vision. Hunter works at Google, Cory works at Facebook, Philip's new start-up is all about real identities and real work in the real world. Many of the early Linden founders (not necessarily them) have told me they think their original vision just hasn't worked as they hoped it would. But while they've walked away, a contingent of the userbase who still keeps to the faith.

Dizzy Banjo

Yes thats true.

Thinking more about this, perhaps Linden would say that they are trying to do both the above options, perserve the existing SL and evolve it to become something more relevant to todays mainstream.

My argument would be that it may be impossible to both. Saying that I don't know of a way that SL could be restructured to be sustainable in the long term without user growth. It would be interesting to think of ways this could be achieved and what the implications would be for the world of SL.

Connie Sec

These stats disregard the fact that there are many who run multiple accounts. Some have 5 or more. Those are the ones who really do need a life :)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Wagner James Au VR MMO blog New World Notes
Sinespace Unity MMO
Ample Avi  SL avatars
SL fashion blog Cajsa Gidge
6a00d8341bf74053ef01b7c8d83a87970b
my site ... ... ...