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Linden Lab says Second Life huge, shows numbers

Tateru Nino

Generally, operators of MMOGs and virtual environments don't show their numbers unless they feel they've got something to crow about, and Linden Lab's crowing today, releasing a selection of figures that give you an idea of the scale of Second Life.

Approximately 1,250 text-based messages are sent every second in Second Life. That's 108 million messages per day and more than 600 million words are typed on an average day. That's a whole of messages for any architecture, quite honestly.

"Roughly 60% of active Second Life Residents are based outside of the US, representing more than 200 countries, and the Second Life Viewer is available in 10 languages." Actually – we thought there were only 195 countries (depending on how you count them, 189-195), and 195 is considered to be stretching the definition just a little.

Billions and billions

In total, users around the world have spent more than 1 billion hours in Second Life. That's roughly 115,000 years spent doing everything from meeting and socializing with friends; to attending live concerts; to creating, selling, and shopping for virtual goods; to learning a foreign language; to attending business meetings; and much more. User hours grew 33% year-over-year to an all-time high of 126 million in Q2 2009.

The equivalent of more than USD1 billion has been transacted between Residents in Second Life, who purchase virtual goods and services from one another. The in-world economy grew 94% year-over-year from Q2 2008 to Q2 2009. Now at nearly USD50 million each month in user-to-user transactions, the Second Life economy is on an annual run rate of more than a half billion US dollars, making Second Life the largest virtual economy in the industry.

The total land area of Second Life is now equivalent to approximately 2 billion square meters – roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island [No, sorry. We should have fact-checked that when we were given it, but didn't catch it until later. Rhode Island is 4.002 billion square meters. Nearly twice the size of SL]. Land in Second Life has grown roughly 18% since Q1 2009 and approximately 75% since Q1 2008.

More than 18 billion minutes of voice chat have been used in Second Life since voice was introduced in 2007. Voice minutes grew 44% year-over-year from Q2 2008 to Q2 2009, and more than 6 billion minutes of voice have been delivered in 2009 alone. Add that to the number of text messages, and that's a whole lot of communication.

Users create more than 250,000 new virtual items every day – from clothing to vehicles to buildings to automatic language translators and more. There are now more than 270 terabytes of content in Second Life, and this is growing by approximately 100% every year.

The average session length (time between login and logout) is given as 100 minutes per visit. We'd put more stock in that number if there was a median rather than a mean, because of Linden Lab's ongoing action against bots, which is likely skewing the averages around.

Still, compared with the amount of time people spend on various social media, Second Life stacks up pretty favorably, exceeding those services in their own chosen metric for measuring engagement.

If you're a follower of Linden Lab's virtual environment, and of our coverage of it here at Massively, probably few of these numbers will come as much of a surprise to you (though we raised some eyebrows as "over 200 countries", and of course the number of text messages).

Unsurprisingly, this data comes just one day before Philip Rosedale and Tom Hale from Linden Lab will talk virtual goods at the Engage Expo, joined by guests at the Metanomics Main Stage in Second Life, Harper Beresford and JeanieSing Trilling, kicking off the new season of Metanomics.

Are you a part of the most widely-known collaborative virtual environment or keeping a close eye on it? Massively's Second Life coverage keeps you in the loop.

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