A survey recently published by blogger Canary Back has reignited the debate over what really do like Second Life users. The survey would give a “surprising” result in line by the way with a previous study of Gilbert, Gonzalez and Murphy of 2011: users of virtual worlds such as that of Linden Lab, which as known is aimed at an older audience than other platforms such as Imvu or Twinity, like to entertain relations involving also activities of a sexual nature. Really?
What’s even more “disconcerting” would be that those who like this type of entertainment seems to be more interesting, pleasant or otherwise available on a whole range of practices which in real life would not want or be able to do or at least would feel just as interesting. Again: really?
This thing let smile an average Italian user, not only of Second Life but of the web in general, because you know for years that the “adult” contents should generate about a third of the world’s Internet traffic, even if, on the exact numbers of this industry, there is no certainty, even if estimates are talking about several billion dollars a year in revenue (between 9 and 36 billions, a range so wide to lose analytical meaningful but enough to indicate the magnitude of the phenomenon).
It is not clear why Second Life should have a consumer differently, if anything, the fact of being an immersive world would have to facilitate the development of social relations in general and relationships relating sexual behavior for at least a niche of users who in real life may have difficulty in this area and who in a virtual world can literally “create” their own avatar as they prefer and engage it in any activities since they are protected by anonymity (and the absence of physical perceptions, which while it may reduce the pleasure on the other side certainly easy to explore “dangerous” fantasies without any risk, if not psychological as remembered years ago Zeta Bellow).
Not for nothing Utherverse is a virtual world for adults who remains in good health, although it has never reached the numbers of Second Life, not for nothing that the nascent market of 3D viewers is already intriguing world of eros and online adult contents in and out of the virtual worlds. But then, specifically, what were the criteria by which the two surveys have been conducted, which were selected as respondents?
Mystery, the only thing certain is the smallness of the respondents themselves: 235 for the 2011 survey, 267 for Canary Back, who admits it’s a very small sample and that he wanted to have one of at least a thousand respondents and indicates the estimated population in 50,000 units.
The latter number is particularly curious: Canary calculates it according to concurrency, being no longer available from years “official” erconomics on Second Life active population, but with over 42 million registered accounts and still 25,502 “Mainland” regions active on the grid (see Gridsurvey) it seems to me too low. Also because there are still just less than 38,900 occupied “Linden Homes”, i.e. “premium” users and indeed it is difficult to think that all over the world apart they have remained little more than 10-12 thousand “basic” (i.e. free) users interested in Second Life.
If the population is more than 50,000, as is likely, the sample was still less important (and definitely had less significant the sample of 2011). So in the end what are we talking about? Of the fact that there is certainly a minority more or less consistent of users who use Second Life (as well as other platforms and the web in general) to satisfy the appetites of sexual activity and found this more satisfying than in his real life? And where exactly would be the “surprising” news?
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