Second Life has a real alternative? The question remains valid even at the beginning of 2011, almost four years after the explosion (and the rapid de-boom) of the media hype about the virtual world developed by Californian Linden Lab, where since last January 13 has come yet another new Ceo, Rod Humble (fomer Executive Vice President af Electronic Arts, see there), replacing Philip Rosendale (aka Philip Linden) “re-called to active duty” last summer during the restructuring of the company that has seen hundreds of employees laid off and Ceo Mark Kingdom (aka M Linden) leaving the scene. Leave aside personal hopinons and hopes, let we talk some numbers to see how at the time does not seem to be alternatives around the corner, at least in terms of “mass market” (so to speak, because the virtual world as a whole seems a small niche of the web, for many characterized by a growth much slower than everyone imagined at the time).
Member sof Second Life are currently about 21.9 million but only 1,397,000 of them have made at least one log in the last 60 days, while the closest competitor, Blue Mars, waiting to be able to land on iPhones and iPads has in fact been frozen by Avatar Reality, which still last March had raised an additional $ 4.2 million, bringing to more than 13 million dollar funding received for 100,000 registered users stated (but has never been told how many of these were really active) and now dismisses most of the employees with the same Ceo, Jim Sink, who left the company.
Opensim project, bornin 2007 from an idea of Darren Guard (aka MW), said to date nearly 70 grid with a number of public access Second Life viewer, with over 11,800 regions, 107 thousand subscribers and 17,400 users who have a log in the last 30 days, with OSGrid by far the most popular with over 52,300 members and 5,351 active users in the last 30 days. If you want to see different numbers need to look at phenomena that recall the more social games or virtual communities such as Habbo Hotel, of Sulake, which June 14, 2010 celebrated 10 years of age boasting172 million registered avatars and 15 million unique visitors monthly, or as Stardoll, which said to have 19.5 million unique users per month ie as the sum of Stardoll.com, Piczo.com and PaperDollHeaven.com users, specifying to have an audience mainly of girls of 15-20 years.
Do you want a proof of how many scarce alternative to Second Life there are with regard to the 3D virtual worlds for “over 18” people? If you go to the Facebook, about 130,000 people like Stardoll fanpage, Second Life holds more than 105,000 “fans“, Habbo Hotel (which has a younger target audience of Facebook) recorded with various fanpage about 14,000 members, Blue Mars fanpage does not reach the 300 members, Opensim collects less than 400 people despite having more than one fanpage. Surprisingly IMVU (which is more like a chat in 3D and is for a younger target of users than a real virtual world) have over 1.84 million fans (even stating little more than 50 million members and nearly 20 million monthly visitors, see there), which for a company of 60 employees is an excellent result. Maybe that in the short term is IMVU the real alternative to more “mature” virtual worlds like Second Life?