Linden Lab have released some limited (extremely limited if you compare to say three years ago) statistics on Second Life’s performance for the fourth quarter of 2010. It’s a snapshot of stability really, or stagnation if you expect some signs of growth in a platform of Second Life’s longevity. Average monthly repeat logins are up slightly whilst total user hours remained the same, meaning that on average people spent less time in Second Life. Web sales of SL merchandise continue to grow, albeit at an expected slower pace than previous quarters.
One regular point of fascination for a lot of people is how big Second Life is. Coming in a little over two thousand square kilometres now makes it around the size of the Maritius. Linden Lab equate it to two Hong Kongs. Either way it’s a pretty pointless but fun comparison.
On the economy I’m going to directly quote colleague Tateru Nino:
Now, the currency supply. It seems that after a long time, Linden Lab is finally selling L$ on the market again. The money supply is up, LindeX trading volumes are likewise up, and the value of the Linden Dollar (relative to the USD) improved. These are all good economic signs. It’s too soon to call that an economic recovery, but it is certainly looking promising. 100,000 fewer accounts paid or received Linden Dollars by any means than in Q3, following a decline that started at the end of Q1. So, fewer economic participants, but an apparent improvement in the economy for those that are participating. Any data that might contradict this is just not available.
So overall? There’s nothing in here to get excited about and arguably there’s some aspects to be suspicious about due to the dearth of information provided now. The touted ongoing user experience improvements will take a while, even after being implemented, to affect these numbers. That said, pessimism would probably be an overreaction to these figures, assuming the non-released data is as stable.