Thursday, March 21, 2013

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Second Life Analyst Estimates SL Premium Subscription Accounts Drop to 67,500 -- Down 7,500 Since 2009

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In April 2009, according to then Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon, Second Life had 75,000 Premium subscribers.

Now, in March 2013, according to Second Life's best data analyst, there are now about 67,500 Premium subscribers -- that is, less than 7,500 since 2009.

This came out in my post from a couple days ago, highlighting the latest report from expert statistician Tyche Shepherd. I misread some of her numbers in that report, which was bad, but that did lead to a very valuable correction from her in Comments, which was good:

"There are 55,646 unique Premium account holders who own mainland parcels in their own name," Tyche wrote there, "along with 11,759 unique landholding groups. This includes the 41,264 who have taken up a Linden Home. The figure of 55,646 is the bare minimum number of Premium accounts. Back when the Lab did still report the size of the weekly Premium stipend sink, it was possible to estimate the total number of Premium accounts, which was approximately in line with the sum of unique individual mainland owners and the number of unique group mainland owners. Assuming this relationship still stands a better estimate of the current number of Premium Accounts is around 67,500 as shown in my chart above, about 7,500 less than the 2009 figure."

Emphasis mine. That's a bit more than I (incorrectly) estimated, but still less than what it was in 2009 --despite Linden Lab making a concerted effort recently to convert more SLers to Premium, offering them new content (homes, exclusive locations, gifts, etc). Despite this major marketing/content push, Premium accounts are less, not more. However, one could argue that this effort has slowed the deterioration of Premium accounts, and preserved it as a meaningful revenue stream for Linden Lab. At around $10 each a month, we're talking roughly $8,000,000 from subscriptions the company will make this year.

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Eric

Hamlet, why don´t you go find another MMO to write about. You are ruining the fun. Your blog articles are full of negativity and depression. Get over it and stop bothering us. Second Life is about building something and not about bashing something.

2013

agrees, but it's good for traffic

A.J.

Eric, it seems to me that one of the privileges of having your own blog is that you can write about whatever you want to write about.

Why not start your own blog about "fun" and see if your blog bothers anyone?

If it does, then do and think exactly as they instruct you to.

Connie Arida

Well, I would rather hear the bad statistics as well as the good. Putting your mesh fingers in your mesh ears and playing a gesture of the national anthem ain't gonna make it not so.

Hol

Hi, I've been a premium subscriber for years. I wanted to add a little note on the weekly linden dollar stipend. Back when I signed up the stipend was L$500 a week and that's still what I receive now as I never made any changes to my subscription. Due to the L$ exchange rate that's now worth almost the same as the subscription.

So without any extra Second Life purchases (land/business etc).

My quarterly subscription is US$27 = $9 a month.
My stipend is L$500 weekly = (approx when sold) $7.50 month.

I run a little fashion business which makes a little bit of money, but you can see from the above I'd barely need to make much for the game to pay for itself and I wonder how many other subscribers are in a similar position.

Jo Yardley

ONLY 7500 in almost 4 years?!
That's nothing.
Especially as these are not exact figures but rounded.

Orca Flotta

1) Exactly, this is Hamlet's blog, he can write whatever he wants! I'd ask Eric too, to come up with his own blog in the first place, and make it a huge one like NWN is.

2) User numbers for SL are on the way down. We all know, or speculating about the reasons for it. But one thing should be clear and logical for everybody: less users = less premium accounts. So it's just mirrors the overall situation. Nothing to worry about more than we already worry.

Wolf Baginski

I think Hol underestimates the value of her Stipend. 13 weeks to a Quarter is L$ 6500, which is USD 24.39 at the current rate.

My Stipend isn't that good, and I get hit by VAT, but the gap is still comparable to renting a 512 from a land baron.

Anyway, that estimate of Linden Labs' income from Premium doesn't take into account the outgoing Stipend. The Net income from Premium is a lot less (L$ are a lot like gift vouchers or green stamps or whatever: Linden Labs get the cash, but there is an attached future liability). Of course there are other costs, but an incoming Tier payment doesn't have that specific attached liability.

2013

@ Ocra

Where is the data to back up SL numbers are way down? Everytime I log onto SL since I joined 6 years ago, it's always roughly the same number of users online. (give or take a couple thousand)

Ajax Manatiso

Those figures are an estimate and could be way off. It's a rough estimate pitting against the former CEO's "top-of-his-head" estimate so the difference may be so slim as to be negligible. However Hamlet has this blog and good news gets yawns. "No one dead or injured" on the news gets people to change the channel.

Orca Flotta

@ 2013: nobody here has exact numbers. All I know is SL is losing sims in breathtaking speed. As for the amount of avies online I see a decline as well. From nearly 80k to roughly 60k when I log on (if I can't be bothered to look there anyway) may be just a couple thousand to you. For most of us it's 1/4 less ppl in world at any given time.

I personally couldn't care less. Like most my friends (ppl of roundabout the same SL age) I log in less and less. When I'm online I enjoy an empty SL more than an SL filled to capacity. Less people, less lag, less stupidity. All cool.

Arcadia Codesmith

The entire industry is moving away from subscription models to free-to-play systems. Given the context, not only is a 10% drop in subscriptions no reason for panic, it's substantially LESS of a decline than would be expected.

That said, other virtual worlds are giving away spacious personal living areas for free, with upgrades to expansive areas for modest one-time payments ($10-20 at the most). SL's rental model is increasingly antiquated.

Albert

Yes, Eric should start his own blog and make it fast, easy and fun;) But honestly, there is a huge economic crisis in Second Lifes main markets, the USA and Europe. That is only natural that the amount of sims drop and with it the premium accounts. By getting rid of their land, there is also less incentive for people to log in. So, no need to cry. The Lindens still make millions and can affort to develop new features for SL and even build new games and creative experiences. The land mass will increase again once people in RL have more money again and can affort it. Hamlet just always makes it sound like the end is near. It is not! Relax! We don´t need 1 billion users in SL, it is fine like it is.

Tavish

I would ask about the increase in private island ownership, if any! That generates way more revenue than premium subscription, perhaps even after you factor in the differences in the amount of each class of user. Sure seems to be a huge increase in private islands since '09!

Shockwave Yareach

While I expect to pay for my fun, I don't have a premium anymore. I dropped it in protest of the gross mismanagement of the virtual world. I rent now instead of own; not like we own anything in SL anymore anyways, which is the whole point.

When they manage the virtual world reasonably well again, I'll reconsider. Until that time, I'm voting with my wallet, like so many others.

Morpheus

I have just signed for a 1 year premium in Second Life and my friend too :)

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