Are there really two million people using Second Life?
Thursday December 21, 2006
You’d think so. With glowing press coverage, virtual world Second Life would appear to be going from strength to strength: last week it broke through the 2m sign-ups barrier.
But not everybody is convinced by such milestones. Clay Shirky, the respected internet analyst and thinker, questioned how many of those 2m ever return after signing up.
…getting to the punchline below…
And it may be worse even than Shirky’s bleak estimates. Philip Rosedale, the founder of SL maker Linden Lab, last month said that churn was probably around 90% – meaning just one in 10 people who sign up use it in any meaningful way.
For comparison, the online fantasy game World of Warcraft had 5m subscribers – all paying a monthly fee – this time last year.
I haven’t yet found an MMOG I actually like, but I totally understand the appeal the when there’s a significant and enjoyable gaming to them. Something with only a dubious gaming nature, like say The Sims Online (do they even still exist?) I don’t really get the appeal of, but … de gustibus, and all that. When they’re just an online not-a-game, like Second Life, it seems like a glorified form of IM, and I do not get it at all… seems like a real wankfest to me (to borrow a Britishism.)