SL Population Mostly FIC, Figures Show

by walkerspaight on 08/03/06 at 8:34 am

Clickable Culture’s Tony Walsh brings us new information on Second Life’s population and demographics, courtesy of Philip and Cory Linden and the remarks they’ve been making lately at events like eTech. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the figures reveal that the vast majority of Second Life residents may be members of the dreaded Feted Inner Core!

According to Tony’s sources, Second Life is running on about 2,000 servers at this point, and SL residents are doing about US$5-6 million in transactions every month. Residents’ average age is 32 (median age is 36), about half are women, and the “population” (whatever that means) is growing at a rate of about 15 percent a month.

One clue to the population figure comes from a comment on Clickable Culture posted by SL resident Csven Concord, who mentions that 25,000 users log on to SL every day. Assuming each one of those is a unique user and not the same user logging on more than once (not necessarily a safe assumption), that’s a very encouraging figure.

Perhaps more interesting are the figures on content-creation released by Linden Lab. According to Tony’s report, “70 percent of SL’s population create things using 25 percent of their time in-world.” That’s a lot of content-creating FIC. Of course, many of these people are simply seeing what they look like with a plywood box attached to their heads. But even discounting experimenters, it seems that the proportion of content-creators is still high in SL. On the other hand, Tony reports, 75 percent of users are buyers, while only 25 percent are sellers, a proportion that probably more closely resembles levels necessary for a robust commercial scene.

In the end, though, such dribs and drabs aren’t going to be enough. If Linden Lab really wants to empower their users, they’ll start releasing detailed economic information, much like the big bad U.S. government does, on a regular basis. Of course, empowering users seems to be more rhetoric than practice over at LL. We await further progress in this area, and will continue to complain until we spot it.

One Response to “SL Population Mostly FIC, Figures Show”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 8th, 2006

    Um, nice try, Walker, I realize you are earnestly trying to disprove my oft-proved thesis of the existence of the FIC, but go and listen carefully to that presentation by Philip and Cory. He talks about gadzillion objects created. Object creation is all they are talking about — not creation of content that has some value, is sold, and kept in inventory. Anybody who rezzes a cube then ends up in that 25 percent. I’m not 100 percent sure he means CREATED and not REZZED in fact.

    Ask yourself, how could these geek lads *count* how many people are “content creators” in Second Life without entering into the world and engaging in actual eyeballing and value judgement in addition to gathering server data? What they are doing now is just merely looking at the raw feed of server statistics and telling us the millions of objects created. That means I’m in that 25 percent because I created a box at my yard sale with my t-shirt made out of “appearance mode” and put it for sale for $1. Please.

    To find out how many people sell content of value above the t-shirt level, you’d have to take both objects created, and objects then SOLD or at least transferred I suppose. I’d personally prefer to track the number of objects SOLD for VALUE. Then we’d see in fact whether Enabran and Cristiano and all the rest are talking through their hats.

    Will Wright said 10 percent of the people would make 100 percent of the content for the other 90 percent, and he was smart enough to consider “content” to mean not just customized user-created context from textures lifted off the Internet, but events, games, activities, theater — whatever people did to attract others to their lots. I think he probably got it about right.

    I don’t know where Csven gets his figure of 25,000, when the Lindens themselves, including Cory, including in that presentation, says 20,000. We’re told that of the 4500-5000 logged on any one time, the average stay is 4 hours and the average expenditure is $1500. That seems hugely high to me, but those figures can from Lawrence Linden.

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