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Second Life plateaus during Q3 2009

Tateru Nino

Linden Lab has released the figures for the third-quarter performance of Second Life.

If you want the short version, it wasn't a growth quarter. Q3 2009 figures were not really very distinguishable from Q2 2009. There's actually nothing wrong with that. Growth plateaus are occasional and inevitable and generally represent a good opportunity for engineering and support to catch up a little with the service.

Second Life user-to-user transactions remain flat at 4% growth. They do not, as a rule, indicate much about the state of the economy on their own. It's still 150 million USD, though, and that's not a small figure.

LindeX currency exchange trading also remained flat at 29 million USD for the quarter. Currency trades do generally seem to have a strong link to the availability of goods and services for purchase or rental in Second Life.

Xstreet (Linden Lab's acquired virtual goods storefront) continues to grow, gaining 13% during the quarter, but continues to represent a very small fraction of the economy.

Total user hours for the quarter declined, much as to be expected from the new bot (scripted agent) policies – although we checked all the top bot locations and found bot numbers not be noticeably diminished. Total user hours fell 6% this quarter to roughly 118 million user hours.

Peak user concurrency fell, and median user concurrency (our own calculated figure) remained stable at around 56,000 through the quarter, indicating little actual change in overall usage.

Total voice minutes were flat, declining for the first time since the introduction of voice support, dropping 1% to 3.1 billion minutes.

Monthly Unique Residents with repeat logins remained flat, with a slight decline, at roughly 750,000.

Total user hours lost to downtime continues to decline (now down to 0.15%, or only 177 thousand user-hours lost to downtime this quarter), which is a promising trend, but still a lot of lost hours.

Overall land growth remained flat, but continuing to trend slightly upwards.

There's not really any significant growth performance across Q3, but as we said that's not a bad thing. There's also no trouble signs indicating a decline either. Watching the figures for Q4, now, that will be interesting.

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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