Second Life Stays on Nielsen's Latest Top 10 Played PC Games & Increases Total Share, Engagement
Second Life has maintained its position on the latest Top 10 most played PC Game chart from Nielsen ratings, based on data the service gathers from application activity in 180,000+ US homes. This latest Top 10 chart is from April 2012 (at left, click to embiggenate), with a .867 audience share and 1.543% of the total minutes played (or TMP) on PC games for that month*. That's an increase from the March 2012 ratings, when SL had a .634 share and 1.263% of TMP.
However, while share has grown, average minutes played per week has dropped:
For SL, it was 499 per week in the March 2012 lists, and has sunk to 401 minutes on the April chart. (I.E. from about 8.5 hours a week, to just under 7 hours a week.) However, other top MMOs also saw a drop in average play time -- WoW, for example, went from 534 minutes average in March to 466; LOTRO, from 477 to 348. Comparing March and April, there's a general drop in play time for most games on the list, so my guess is this reflects a seasonal change, as the real world (at least in the West) gets warmer, and outdoor fun becomes a more viable alternative.
*Pre-emptive reply to Dwight Scrhute-esque "But Second Life is NOT a game" complaint: Yes, Second Life is not a traditional game by some definitions, but then, as a PC-based client that's primarily used for 3D graphics-driven, avatar-based entertainment and game-like interactivity, from Nielsen's perspective this is the only appropriate category to put SL in.