Monday, June 12, 2006


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Not to nit-pick, but my post on this went up at 12:39am on June 11.

Lots of debate on this going on elsewhere too.

Dan Winckler

Hi Wagner. It would be really helpful for first-time readers unfamiliar with SL and MMORPGs if you added some definition links, e.g., for 'griefing'. :)

SL: Dan Magpie


250,000 members doesn't mean much (since I know a lot of people that only played the game one time) BUT the number of actual players at a given time does.

Hamlet Au

Sorry Rik, I didn't see the timestamp on your post, will make a note of it.

Griefing definition (though mostly confined to traditional MMOs):



No, Hamlet, my bad. I realize that I didn't have the timestamp enabled in my posts, so for all you knew Tateru and Zero were first to post.

Bruce Woodcock

>In plainer English: 250,000+ is, more or less,
>the total number of computer users who have
>downloaded and installed the SL client, who
>have created an avatar and completed the sign-
>in and orientation, and who can-- this is key--
>return to Second Life at pretty much a moment's

That's irrelevant. The vast majority NEVER WILL, and it's simply because of the fact the basic account is free that they can return "at a moment's notice." It's completely unfair to count all those users as if they're compareable to people who have to pay every month to play World of Warcraft.

You really want to count all free accounts of people who have ever played? RuneScape would have millions. EverQuest could give everyone who ever signed up a free level 1 character, and they'd be millions, too. Lineage would be off the charts. Etc.

Now, perhaps you don't like 60 days as a time window for activity to count them as "active", but heck, most other games only get measured via a 30 day window. If inactive Second Life accounts actually expired and were deleted after a year, then maybe the metric would be more meaningful. But only if you then compared it to similar timeframes for other MMOGs.


Robbie D

"... and who can -- this is key-- return to Second Life at pretty much a moment's notice."

...."That's irrelevant. The vast majority NEVER WILL"

I hear what you are saying Bruce and in this instance I agree, but I think the point is THEY (theoretically) COULD, and as long as the client is still sitting there on their machine they are only 1 click (well ok 2 clicks and a short log) away from landing in SL's 3D space from that SLURL link on a 2D page. This brings it all a little closer to being able to realistically consider SL as an alternative imersive web experience.

However of course, until LL begin to make their updates to the server backward compatible with a standard version of the client (equivalent to a browser plugin perhaps), having to download the next release of the client (currently weighing in at 51MBs Mac or 25MBs PC) will more that likely put the casual user off.

Hamlet Au

Thanks much for posting here, Bruce. I'm curious about this point you make:

"The vast majority NEVER WILL [return to Second Life], and it's simply because of the fact the basic account is free that they can return 'at a moment's notice.'"

Because that doesn't seem to be the case, at least according to officially published figures. As already stated, about 60% of SL users go in-world at least once every 60 days. And according to Linden Lab dev. VP Cory Ondrejka, that figure gets *much* higher at 3 months. He's quoted saying this in January:


"[A]bout 17,000 residents were in SL in the last 24 hours, and 50,000 in the last 30 days... If you go back even 90 days you get about 90% of the accounts having logged in.”

Did you have evidence that this is not the case?

Bruce Woodcock

The statement was about the vast majority... of those who hadn't logged in. So it's not that 60% logged in and 40% haven't in the past 60 days; rather it's of the 40% that haven't logged in, over half of those are probably never going to log in. That's a little more extreme than the quote of 90%, but then, that was back at a time of far fewer accounts.

The statement was more a comment on games with free accounts than SL specifically. You simply can't count everyone who bothered to create an account as an active player. Heck, for all you know they already HAVE deleted the program from their hard drive, so you can't use one-click reconnection as an excuse, anyway.

Second Life folks are, of course, free to revel in any particular metric is their favorite. However, for me to compare them to monthly paying subscribers or monthly active users, I need something that's rather equivalent. (I intend to hold the same standard to games like Puzzle Pirates and There.)



Ok, this is getting ridiculous. We are now losing residents by the thousands!

Doc Nielsen

'...who can-- this is key-- return to Second Life at pretty much a moment's notice...'

Really? A moments notice?

You mean AFTER they download and install the latest perfomance sapping 'update' - then download and install the latest graphics card and motherboard drivers - then discover that the last update means their graphics card needs replacing - oh, and they really need a cpu upgrade too...

That's what you call 'a moment's notice'?

Sorry, IF all it needed was a relatively quick incremental client update - maybe - but the way SL is 'developing', coming back after a couple of months would entail more faffing about than the vast majority would stand for.


"they are only 1 click (well ok 2 clicks and a short log) away from landing in SL's 3D space from that SLURL link on a 2D page."

That and a fairly large download of a new client that may very well complain about their graphics card. Bit more than a click, and of couse assuming they are not sitting at work where the SL client ports are blocked even if they do the download.

But I think I see what you mean. There probably isn't a single metric we could use. SL is a very different animal than WoW and the others, and this "numbers game" is just as silly as it got between the web-email companies a few years back.

Geneva Leach

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http://www.dsmnet.it/micr/ >International Museum of the Red Cross

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