OpenSim has gained about 2,000 new users since January, according to the latest data released by HyperGrid Business. In January, HyperGrid's Maria Korolov reported that the open source spinoff of Second Life had about 15,000 users (roughly the same as it had in 2009). Last month, she reported, "The total number of active users on the top 40 grids dropped to 17,303 this month, 61 actives less than August’s 17,364 users, mostly due to the fact that ReactionGrid has shut down its OpenSim grid and no longer appears in our stats." (ReactionGrid, which counts major organizations like NASA and Microsoft as clients, has moved away from OpenSim for a web-based 3D solution, and thus represents a significant loss for the OpenSim development community.) Those losses aside, OpenSim saw very small growth, but some growth all the same. However, OpenSim will probably need active users in the six figures to make it a truly viable consumer-facing service.
To be sure, 17,000 is a larger total userbase for a web-based 3D world like Cloud Party, which still has just 1000 monthly active users. However, while Cloud Party has the potential to reach the hundreds of millions already accustomed to playing 3D games or virtual worlds on the web, the market for people willing to download and install a resource-heavy, non-game 3D client -- Second Life or OpenSim -- remains in the hundreds of thousands.Tweet