Over the past few days Second Life has reached a new peak concurrency of more than 76 thousand.
The reason being cited is recent stories on a divorce resulting from virtual adultery. It’s not suprising and it’s backed up by an Australian Second Life resident who spends a significant amount of time mentoring new users. In a brief discussion with him this afternoon he confirmed a surge in new users needing help and that the UK-driven story seems to be the catalyst.
Mainstream media rightly get pilloried at times for their sometimes uninformed coverage of the full gamut of the virtual world experience. There is an upside though: growth for the virtual worlds themselves. How ‘sticky’ these users will be in always uncertain. Wagner James Au sums it up nicely:
How many of these new users are interested in committing virtual adultery… and how many of them are real life partners of now-suspicious SL users, looking to catch them in the act?
A lot of people on their first glimpse of virtual sex will tend to react along the lines of ‘why would you bother?’. The reality is a significant proportion of these people go on to engage in virtual sex regularly and in forms arguably more varied than real-life.
What are your thoughts – are we about to see droves of new people looking for virtual options for sexual expression, followed closely by another group seeking to catch them out? I think it’s a little too simplistic an assumption but sometimes the simplest explanation comes in closest to the truth.