Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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Second Life No Longer Among Nielsen's Top 10 Most Played PC Games (Most of Which Are About as Old as SL)

June 2011 Nielsen ratings SL

Though it was listed at number 9 in May, Second Life is no longer among the Top Ten most played PC games in the US, according to Nielsen, based on data the ratings service gathers from application activity in 180,000+ homes. For June, Second Life ranked at 11, Nielsen's Bradley Raczka tells me, and what's more, its total share of the market dropped significantly: In June, it had just a .539 share. In May it had a .814 share, and in May 2009, a .996 share. This data belies recent claims from Linden Lab that Second Life is growing, though I suppose it's possible this chart reflects greater market usage of PC games in general.

Looking at the top 10 chart more broadly, isn't it interesting how old most of these PC games are? World of Warcraft has been around since 2004, and most of the other titles have been around for 5 years or more. (And for that matter, League of Legends (2009) is based on a map from Warcraft III (2003), and Sims 3 (2009) is just the latest in a decade old franchise.) Pretty telling datapoint to show that the market for PC games is aging, and isn't being refreshed by new titles.

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Wizard Gynoid

this is ok with me, because Second Life isn't a game.

Iris Ophelia

Maybe not new titles, but newly developed content in those old titles has to count for something.

Maria Korolov

Did Nielsen provide the average weekly minutes played? I'm wondering if that has slipped as well, or if SL players are still spending as much time online as they did before.

Rocky Constantine

Nielsen certainly does not have a clue by putting SL in that group to begin with. *sigh* I don't "play" Second Life and I am NOT a gamer. I am a resident in SL. *steps down from his soapbox*

Hitomi Tiponi

You missed 'in the US' out of your title Hamlet. That may not be reflective of total Second Life usage.

Alex

I'd be interested to see non-US growth in SL users - or is it players ;) - surely LL's growth figures are not based on US users alone?

Hamlet Au

"this is ok with me, because Second Life isn't a game."

Wizard, however you want to define it, the fact remains that less people in the US (by far the largest userbase by country) are using SL less. That's OK with you?

Stroker

I would be curious to know if online gaming/escapism/roleplay isn't on the decline in general due to a depressed economy. Most serious gamers spend some disposable income on instagrat when they have it. I would imagine that the industry as a whole is seeing some kind of decline. Amirite?

Stroker

double dip, are any of those companies privately owned? and have UGC and a recognized and regulated economy? apples and avacados imo.

Connie Sec

"Growth" figures will always be fallacious when people can have multiple free accounts in SL.
Regarding non U.S. figures. I can only speak for myself, but with the Aussie dollar now appreciated perhaps 20% against the U.S. dollar since i started in SL ( when Adam was a prim) ..I spend more in SL..though in US dollars it would be about the same.

ZZBottom

agenda again Hamlet?

Geo Meek

Nielsen sucked when thy started and thy suck now.

Laro

At least we beat imvu!!!

Hitomi Tiponi

'the fact remains that less people in the US (by far the largest userbase by country) are using SL less'. Do we have any up-to-date split of usage by country Hamlet? The last I saw was in 2007 when the States comprised 16% usage and Europe (admittedly not a country and about twice the population) comprised 61% - http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2007/05/Second_Life_Growth_Worldwide.

Gut feeling, and the daily usage figures, says that the figures for the US are greater now but probably still behind usage in the EU. It would also be interesting to see if there has been much take up in China since the addition of that language to the UI (as well as the rest of Asia).

Hamlet Au

I can't open that ComScore link. Anyway, in 2007 LL reported US had 27% of the userbase, and all other countries in the single digits:

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2007/09/second-life-un-.html

The European share definitely increased since then but I believe the US market is at least twice more than any one EU country or Japan or Brazil. Last I checked 2-3 years ago, China's usage is negligible. LL stopped reporting demographics in late 2008 I think, so it'd be hard to get anything definitive.

Hitomi Tiponi

Thanks Hamlet - I would also expect that is about right - the four year old Comshare figures (also seen at http://www.marketingcharts.com/?attachment_id=339) listed the following as largest percentage share of active residents:
USA 16%
Germany 16%
France 8%
UK 6%
Rest of Europe 31%
Asia-Pacific countries 13%

Hamlet Au

Interesting link, Hitomi, thanks. It looks like Comscore is counting total monthly logins, while the LL stats are only counting people who'd been in-world for at least an hour -- at the time, 1.3M versus 550K. My guess is the high number of EU logins reflect SL getting expanded media coverage in Europe in 2007 (especially the salacious kind), though as we know, very few of them stayed for even an hour. Oh for the days when we thought 800K were using SL in Europe alone. :)

Tateru Nino

"Nielsen sucked when thy started" - You mean in the 1920s? I didn't realise people had such clear memories of their early days in brand analysis.

Arcadia Codesmith

As Iris pointed out, in the MMO genre "old" titles usually get regular infusions of new content.

That content often takes the form of endgame group raid dungeons. Leveling up and raiding for gear in older games is an incredibly time-intensive pursuit: it's no surprise that games focused on this mechanic log the most hours played.

More recent MMOs have focused more on capturing the casual/social market, with shallow leveling curves and less intense focus on epic team battles against nearly-unbeatable boss monsters.

You can enjoy these even if you've only got an hour a day to play solo... and that's exactly how the majority of people play them. Thus they're not likely to place high on the most-played chart, even if they're incredibly successful and profitable.

Kudos to Lord of the Rings Online. Their comeback has been compelling enough that I just preordered the next expansion (the beautiful bonus horsies and matching outfits had NOTHING to do with it).

Prophets have been predicting the collapse of the virtual world paradigm since the beginning. We keep refusing to collapse.

Senban Babii

WOW is filled with n00bs grinding for gold.

You can easily measure quantity but how do you measure quality? If you held up SL and WOW and asked "which one of these has more users who are meaningfully engaged in their world?", which do you think would win? My point being, you can't simply reduce things down to numbers in league tables. It's interesting but ultimately meaningless.

Chimera Cosmos

Here is Hitomi's first link:

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2007/05/Second_Life_Growth
--> add this at the end --> _Worldwide

i.e. ..../Second_Life_Growth_Worldwide

The _Worldwide ending got cut off. Must be what happens when the URL goes past a whole line?

Kudzumai

Like it was said before: what about non-US growth?

As usual the US is assumed to be "the entire world". Ridiculous.

Kaiyen

This is what happens when a bunch of people who don't know a single thing about the subject start doing social research about it.

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