Private estate ownership in Second Life (still by far the largest source of SL-based revenue for Linden Lab) has hit a four year low, according to Tyche Shepherd, a professional data analyst who runs Grid Survey. Private estates, she recently Tweeted, are "lowest since 13th July 2008 when grid was still growing. Lower than bottom of post-OpenSpaces decline 4th April 2009." She's referring to the Openspace Rebellion which began in late 2008, when user protest over price hikes on limited-use private sims provoked a large decline in estate ownership. (Read more about it here.)
This is a new low in recent land ownership in Second Life, but it's not unexpected:
Last June, Tyche told me she forecast Second Life to lose 10% of its total private landmass this year. In January 2012, she told me then, the world had 23,857 sims, and it now has 21,168 -- which means nearly 2,700 sims gone in the interim. By my rough calculation, that's nearly 9% of a total loss, and there's still a few weeks in 2012 left.
This isn't as dire a situation for Second Life, I should add, as it seemed to be at the start of 2012. Since then, Linden Lab has been moving away from land as a revenue model, and pushing for Premium monthly subscriptions, and just as important, expanding its portfolio of offerings beyond Second Life, including the iOS game Creatorverse and the Steam game Patterns. If SL can gain around 250,000 or so Premium subscribers and Linden Lab's other products can gain a few million users, both the world and the company should be secure for the next few years.Tweet