Philip Rosedale at Picnic 06

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Sep 282006
 

Wonderland has Alice’s usual stellar liveblog job, this time of Wonderland: Philip Rosedale at Picnic 06. He says a lot of stuff that people following Second Life already know, but here’s some stats he shared:

  • Today in Second Life people are spending close to 7m dollars in mostly digital goods and services per month
  • 19,000 landowners
  • 80 sq miles, about as big as Amsterdam
  • 20 million objects
  • 20 terabytes of user created content
  • 13 teraflops of simulation
  • 3500 server machines
  • median age is over 30
  • about half is international and half is USA
  • Recently the international figure has been accelerating rapidly
  • almost gender balanced, early adopters but not necessarily a programmer or technologists
  • 36% of signups are women
  • women use Second Life so much more than men do, to the degree that 44% of the usage hours are by women
  • The majority of people doesn’t get through the first 4 hour learning curve; but once they’re through, they basically never leave

I was amused that Philip also said something that I have said a lot, but put a different twist and emphasis on it:

In a lot of ways, Second Life works a lot like the internet of 1995. The internet was a place where everyone was free to make their own stuff.

  20 Responses to “Philip Rosedale at Picnic 06”

  1. Is the 7 million dollar figure the total sum of transactions committed in the world? In other words, does it consist of money that’s already in the system? I’d love to know how much $Linden is bought each month – that’d tell a lot more about the size of Linden’s business.

  2. That is internal transactions, I believe. So it’s a measure of the volume of economic activity within the world. Money that is already in the system.

  3. OK, well, I have LOTS to say about all this but I’ll keep it short today and ask the rather inciteful question of Pixeleen Mistral of the SL Herald: does the figure of 20 million objects also include all the self-replicating spheres and other objects rezzed by griefers that crash the grid regulaly?

    And does the figure of $7m include the double-accounting of Lindens sold to and bought from Currency Linden on the LindEx?

  4. SL is missing one thing.

    They need to add the amount of plolish the mainstream is used to, to the mainstream gameplay.

    I’s kind of like watching “When Harry Met Sally” shot on a handheld camera.

    I really hope this is something SL pursues in the future.

  5. The 3500 servers isn’t enough; it’s still too laggy too often 🙂 SL isn’t very satisfying for the killer or achiever in me but the socializer is happy and the explorer has a lot of places left to visit.

  6. good stuff until this:

    “I think long-term there will only be a very small number of these types because the network effect associated with the content is so powerful. Like eBay. There’ll only be one big winner, with a few followers. There won’t be 100 secondlifes.”

    I have to disagree, there will actually be 1,000’s of them not 100’s. Mr Rosedale is assuming the pull of SL content will somehow create traction and loyalty with his users thats fine, people build social networks they are attached to. However, high barriers to entry and low initial retention rates do not a “big winner” make. Customer/Gamer/user satisfaction make a big winner.

    Customers make a big winner.

    I liked the freedom of SL when I tried it. I liked the customization aspect as well.

    SL has a high barrier to entry (technical)
    SL is laggy
    SL as the poster above me states “lacks mainstream polish”.
    SL has a proliferation of inappropriate content

    SL is a good game, (for technical adults with a good connection) and a wonderful experiment and a neat social space I hope they get more users.

    If they want a broader segment of the tail they better get to it on the development side of things…just my observation.

  7. His comment re: number of virtual worlds actually jives with what I was thinking LL might do. It won’t exactly be the Second Life we know today, though.

    As to Allen’s points:

    SL has a high barrier to entry (technical)” – so did the internet before the browser.

    SL is laggy” – anyone remember “World Wide Wait”?

    SL as the poster above me states “lacks mainstream polish”” – and MySpace is polished?

    SL has a proliferation of inappropriate content” – the internet is for pron, isn’t it? 😉

  8. ho ho touche’

    I reposte’

    As to Allen’s points:

    “SL has a high barrier to entry (technical)” – so did the internet before the browser.

    “SL is laggy” – anyone remember “World Wide Wait”?-

    Yes, rising expectations (and technology) breed rising levels of quality no?

    “SL as the poster above me states “lacks mainstream polish”” – and MySpace is polished?-”

    Myspace is a lag fest, in fact Friendster was better suited and more polished on release. Myspace allowed for one thing more than Freindster: Customization, in the social networking space Customization IS king, and content should be free (according to its users expectations).
    There IS a differance between optimized customization and content and unintrisive ad’s (I call this Ad-Skinny) and JUST customization, and user created content that effects performance and satisfaction (coupled with attrocious amounts of Advertising (which is not content) The problem with these spaces: Myspace, IGN, Gamespot, Xfire, SL, have branded themselves INTO a corner, theres channel and consumer penetration (at the expense of performance) but they are AD-Heavy (a good example of balance (not social networking per se) (leans toward content more) is Gamasutra. People neither want nor desire intrusive advertisements and they sure dont like lag. Because theyre used to it and expect it dosnt mean they like it. Of course if a business model depends on it well I guess it cant be helped.

    “SL has a proliferation of inappropriate content” – the internet is for pron, isn’t it?

    Runescape dosnt seem to think so. There are a ton of parents paying 5.00/month to ensure thier 7-12 year olds playing online games arent exposed to pron/inappropriate content. And I might add runescape has a low barrier to entry (none, actually you can make a account in less than 5 minutes and be in game) and similar customization as SL (and is Flash based? O.o)

    Again:

    SL is a good game, (for technical adults with a good connection) and a wonderful experiment and a neat social space I hope they get more users.

    I actually like SL its neat and I can see it has a awesome future ahead, but fanboi I am not.

    I sure hope I remembered my fencing terms correctly….hehe

  9. […] Comments […]

  10. Point I was making about mainstream polish is this: last night I was in Virtual Laguna Beach. Similarly to SL, it’s hardly up to the level of a Doom3 or HL2 or Far Cry. While looking around trying to steer clear of the LB fans, I was jumped by a few avatars (I could swear collecting “Buddies” and “Friends” must be an occupation). Instead of bailing out, I thought I’d ask a few questions about what these users thought and guess what: it was their first time in a 3D space of any kind. Not even WoW or Everquest among them. And people like that don’t define “polish” the same way those of us who visit this site define it; just as many MySpace users don’t discriminate based on comparisons to Friendster. We know the other sites and can compare. Many of them don’t have the experience. So calling out “polish” as an item doesn’t seem relevant to me. After all, VHS beat BetaMax, didn’t it? It’s not always the best product that wins.

    wrt my “internet is for pron”, that was a joke. Sorry you missed that. But it points to the the fact that your line item is, afaic, irrelevant. Not everyone wants AOL; many prefer just the opposite. In fact, MySpace seems pretty racey as well, doesn’t it? And Craigslist. And…

    People neither want nor desire intrusive advertisements and they sure dont like lag.

    But they’re going to get them whether they like it or not because they’ll take it over DRM (which they’ll hack through anyway). And without control over content, the way to pay for it is with advertising. That’s why the modus operandi anymore is for Web 2.0 companies to go out there free, get people signed up/registered/addicted, and then phase in the ads. Nothing is really free.

    I actually like SL its neat and I can see it has a awesome future ahead, but fanboi I am not.

    Neither am I. It has plenty of issues. But either way, your points don’t seem relevant to me.

  11. My turn.

    “SL has a high barrier to entry (technical)” – so did the internet before the browser.

    Erm. The browser is still a remarkably high barrier to entry. Nor does it help in content creation. HTML is still incomprehensible to a lot of people, and that’s not even considering DHTML, scripting, infinity and beyond.

    “SL is laggy” – anyone remember “World Wide Wait”?

    So? SL is essentially a single centralized server, if you want to draw the analogy. SL itself actually demonstrates that as you upgrade the standard speed of traffic, the load placed will also increase. We have a fast Internet now, so of course we invent programs that burn it all up.

    “SL as the poster above me states “lacks mainstream polish”” – and MySpace is polished?

    This actually runs counter to Allen. 1000s of SLs? And you expect those to be polished? Nah. Actually, I think you’ll see SL take the lead on “mainstream polish” once it takes care of its lag problems. I mean… shots of places in SL is suitable for mainstream media, so standing still, all is well.

    I sure hope I remembered my fencing terms correctly….hehe

    It’s touché. *twirls his ASCII codes, affecting a Spanish accent (because that’s much easier in a text environment)* Just use a & followed by the vowel, then “acute” and a semicolon. 😀 I miss fencing.

  12. Erm. The browser is still a remarkably high barrier to entry.

    You’re talking creation/coding. I’m talking simply using it. I didn’t take Allen’s grouping of four line items as being from the developer pov. I took them from a user’s perspective.

    So? SL is essentially a single centralized server, if you want to draw the analogy. SL itself actually demonstrates that as you upgrade the standard speed of traffic.

    Exactly my point: So what? It’s a non-issue because it’ll be an enduring issue for some time to come.

    Actually, I think you’ll see SL take the lead on “mainstream polish” once it takes care of its lag problems.

    This gets into one of the possible scenarios about which I’m thinking. The SL of today is not necessarily the open source SL of tomorrow. I believe LL is planning their next move along those lines. To assume they’re not at least considering where they’re heading doesn’t make sense to me.

  13. csven-

    My comparison to Myspace and Friendster was actually to make the point that you mentioned: The best product does not always win, usually the best positioned product does (and a bit of luck and cash does not hurt either)

    Yeah I got the internet is pron j/k thx 🙂

    True not everyone wants AOL, anyone who does, well…there are reasons why some people want it I’m sure….

    That advertising is required as an income stream is not my problem. That it is intrusive to the user, is my problem.

    “Nothing is really free.”-True, Mostly…

    Michael-/csven-

    Do I expect those 1,000’s of rooms to be polished? Yeah, a big long (tail) hallway full of little personal worlds, give people the tools theyll build it (SL seems to be proving that pretty well, which is why I like it).

    Also, Yes my points were from a users/gamers perspective, mostly they always are…

  14. You’re talking creation/coding. I’m talking simply using it.

    I was under the impression that the entire point of SL was the blurring of the line between “user” and “creator”. Certainly, I spin webpages off at the brush of a hand; I created one today to test out some Javascript/CSS I was experimenting with. I didn’t host it, no, but I did create it. Did the browser help me develop it? Yeah. Just like running a program helps me develop other forms of code. Textpad was more helpful.

    The browser does not really help in creation; WYSIWYG tools, however, do. Not that they’re actually all that good, IMHO, but I’m an elitist on that and readily admit it. =) SL has not, to my knowledge, had any WYSIWYG tools appear. I think that will open the floodgates… not that it’ll happen all that soon. I also think SL should try out 3d web hosting. Might be an interesting experiment all on its own.

    Do I expect those 1,000’s of rooms to be polished? Yeah

    I think I may be misunderstanding what is meant by polish. So, take my remaining comments with that grain of salt.

    That’s really a matter of perspective, I think. Even today, most webpages are sorely underpolished. This goes everywhere from MySpace to craigslist to, oh my god, half my professors’ webpages. And we have some fairly good WYSIWYG tools available; then again, people also probably don’t use them.

    But the tools aren’t going to bring polish; polish comes from having an eye for design, which can and should be trained. You want Dan Pink’s Conceptual Age? Then you need design classes in elementary school. Better technology will solve nothing.

    The long tail is nice and all, but you also have to remember the content pyramid and more importantly, Sturgeon’s Law. The long tail doesn’t ensure polish; it ensures that someone will care, and it probably won’t be the polish they’re after. As they say, “Nuestro vino es agrio, pero es nuestro vino.”

  15. Allen Sligar said:

    SL has a proliferation of inappropriate content

    To paraphrase Neal Stephenson: “You can look like a gorilla or a dragon or a giant talking penis in [Second Life]”

    I think it’s the giant talking penis that is a huge barrier to the mainstream. Or the giant penis nightclub, or the giant penis plug-ins dangling off the desperately customized avatars.

    And I don’t think the resistance to this is necessarily prudish or a result of a dislike of sex. I think it’s jsut that people don’t like having a giant talking penis waving in their face every time they turn a corner in the Metaverse.

    It’s like that person you know who is always trying to be funny — who’s always “on”. Turn it off, now and again, you know? We can only drink from the firehose for so long before we start to drown on dry land.

    Yours truly,

    Giant Talking Penis

  16. I was under the impression that the entire point of SL was the blurring of the line between “user” and “creator”.

    Seems to me the “entire point” of SL is not telling people what to do, which is what goal-oriented videogames do. But it doesn’t matter does it? We’re referring to someone else’s comments and he’s already said that the point made was from a user perspective.

    SL has not, to my knowledge, had any WYSIWYG tools appear

    What a curious comment. SL is BY FAR more WYSIWYG than ANY CAD or 3D program I’ve ever used. And I’ve used quite a lot actually – from highend, real product modelers (Pro/ENGINEER, Alias AutoStudio, Maya, etc) to the simplest shareware/freeware/level editors (MS3D, Wings3D, Deled, QuArK, aso). It’s this aspect of SL that I find the most compelling from a 3D creative standpoint. I must not understand what you mean.

    I also think SL should try out 3d web hosting.

    I believe it’s inevitable: Link

  17. I think it’s jsut that people don’t like having a giant talking penis waving in their face every time they turn a corner in the Metaverse.

    I’ve not had time for SL lately (as in the last 4 or 5 months), but in all my time prior, I never had this happen. The only thing remotely like this was a “homing penis” gift someone I knew had sent me as a gag. In fact, I’ve rarely encountered the amount of sexual content that one would expect given all the press about that aspect of SL. This has me thinking that just as the press does with other things, it amplifies this aspect because it attracts attention and that translates to ad revenue.

    I actually prefer SL to other social worlds because I find that it’s less sexual. I often find myself being hit on by other avatars in other 3D spaces (the PCD Lounge was the worst), but in SL that sort of activity seems more aligned to the virtual location. In There, I might get hit on anywhere. In SL, I’d only expect that at a virtual club or some sex-oriented event.

    So are all these comments coming from extensive personal experience? or are they coming from reading the press?

  18. csven – then you and I have had remarkably different experiences in SL. I find that avoiding pr0n in SL is about as easy as avoiding goose shit on a golf course in early April. I do agree with you that the media harp on that aspect of SL way too much. While there is, I feel, an overabundance of sex in SL, there is also much more content that is not sex-related and is as compelling or moreso.

  19. […] Only 19,000 Landowners Inadvertently or not, in the middle of a big hype package at Picnic 06, this, from El Chefe, amidst many breathless and mindblowing figures: o 19,000 landowners. Uh-oh. Not good. Not good at all. Finally, a figure that is REALLY telling us the story. Back in about June 05 (wish I could find the exact information, perhaps someone can help), when the Lindens were claiming "40,000 members" (a figure we now know means registrations, and not log-ons within the last 60 days), they said there were "9,000 premiums" and of these "6,000 owned land" — they had opted to get the 512 for free, or more. That means landowners, which I view as the hope of stabilization and civilization, constituted just 15 percent of the population. Not really spectacular, frankly, given that $9.95 with 512 m2 for free and $2000 at that time was a really great deal. Still…respectable. Today, if there are 19,000 "landowners," by which clearly Philip means not island deed buyers or renters, but those owning island or whole mainland sims or mainland parcels, that means out of 798,853 registrations, or 338,896 log-ons on the last 60 days, there is, respectively, either 2 percent landowners or premiums, or 5 percent landowners in Second Life — people with stake, commitment, tier-payment. I find that troubling — less actual stake in the world than a year ago, despite the huge bubble of growth. No wonder there is so much griefing! It’s my belief that land and homes are a significant brake on griefing and crime, just as in RL. Now, we could have an interesting debate — perhaps it would only be fair to claim all the island renters (or deed buyers, if you will) to be owners. That might really indeed be fair — I’m willing to be persuaded as such. Soembody plunking down $80,000 LL for a part of an island sim and paying loads of tier on it has just as much stake in SL as I do, if I buy that same thing on the mainland — paying that tier to Hiro or Anshe makes him just as committed as he would be to LL. Yet…not QUITE as much, perhaps. Or? What do you think? Perhaps if we start to add together some of the island deed owners, we could plump up these numbers. Dreamland has some 700 now; I see this one and that one has 40, 60, 160. While there are more island sims than mainland sims, I’m not sure if the number of island renters has surpassed the number of mainland renters and owners of parcels. I think not. Still…even if we added on to the 19,000, let’s say another 4,000-6,000 island renters, we’d still not be making any spectacular statement. We still wouldn’t have the 15 percent of premiums we had a year ago. Now…other factors to look at. People who bought the premiums just for the cash stipend — that was 3,000 who didn’t even bother with the land in 2005 — now have no reason to keep paying $9.95 or even $6.25 annualized per month, because the cost of the Lindens has just gone down on the LindEx. They may not wish to risk an annual subscription they can’t refund; but even with a 90-day sub they can buy Lindens for less. And why own land? You can rent. There are LOTS of renters as we know! And Philip can’t perhaps reliably gather those statistics. It is always fascinating to me that there are at least some domains that we do own, in the social sphere. To gather those statistics, he can’t just use crude server scraping. He’s have to know the names of the rental companies, have to understand how the group rentals work to some extent — not all have the name "rentals" in them. They might call themselves merely "Paradise" or something and have 50 tenants within them. There are LOTS of places like that all over SL. Still…I’m just not impressed, and even worried. It means people aren’t buying land even though there seems to be this huge growth in land buying when you eyeball the map. And it means thousands of people logging on just fly around and never light. Last edited by Prokofy Neva : Today at 03:45 PM. […]

  20. […] Only 19,000 Landowners Inadvertently or not, in the middle of a big hype package at Picnic 06, this, from El Chefe, amidst many breathless and mindblowing figures: o 19,000 landowners. Uh-oh. Not good. Not good at all. Finally, a figure that is REALLY telling us the story. Back in about June 05 (wish I could find the exact information, perhaps someone can help), when the Lindens were claiming "40,000 members" (a figure we now know means registrations, and not log-ons within the last 60 days), they said there were "9,000 premiums" and of these "6,000 owned land" — they had opted to get the 512 for free, or more. That means landowners, which I view as the hope of stabilization and civilization, constituted just 15 percent of the population. Not really spectacular, frankly, given that $9.95 with 512 m2 for free and $2000 at that time was a really great deal. Still…respectable. Today, if there are 19,000 "landowners," by which clearly Philip means not island deed buyers or renters, but those owning island or whole mainland sims or mainland parcels, that means out of 798,853 registrations, or 338,896 log-ons on the last 60 days, there is, respectively, either 2 percent landowners or premiums, or 5 percent landowners in Second Life — people with stake, commitment, tier-payment. I find that troubling — less actual stake in the world than a year ago, despite the huge bubble of growth. No wonder there is so much griefing! It’s my belief that land and homes are a significant brake on griefing and crime, just as in RL. Now, we could have an interesting debate — perhaps it would only be fair to claim all the island renters (or deed buyers, if you will) to be owners. That might really indeed be fair — I’m willing to be persuaded as such. Soembody plunking down $80,000 LL for a part of an island sim and paying loads of tier on it has just as much stake in SL as I do, if I buy that same thing on the mainland — paying that tier to Hiro or Anshe makes him just as committed as he would be to LL. Yet…not QUITE as much, perhaps. Or? What do you think? Perhaps if we start to add together some of the island deed owners, we could plump up these numbers. Dreamland has some 700 now; I see this one and that one has 40, 60, 160. While there are more island sims than mainland sims, I’m not sure if the number of island renters has surpassed the number of mainland renters and owners of parcels. I think not. Still…even if we added on to the 19,000, let’s say another 4,000-6,000 island renters, we’d still not be making any spectacular statement. We still wouldn’t have the 15 percent of premiums we had a year ago. Now…other factors to look at. People who bought the premiums just for the cash stipend — that was 3,000 who didn’t even bother with the land in 2005 — now have no reason to keep paying $9.95 or even $6.25 annualized per month, because the cost of the Lindens has just gone down on the LindEx. They may not wish to risk an annual subscription they can’t refund; but even with a 90-day sub they can buy Lindens for less. And why own land? You can rent. There are LOTS of renters as we know! And Philip can’t perhaps reliably gather those statistics. It is always fascinating to me that there are at least some domains that we do own, in the social sphere. To gather those statistics, he can’t just use crude server scraping. He’s have to know the names of the rental companies, have to understand how the group rentals work to some extent — not all have the name "rentals" in them. They might call themselves merely "Paradise" or something and have 50 tenants within them. There are LOTS of places like that all over SL. Still…I’m just not impressed, and even worried. It means people aren’t buying land even though there seems to be this huge growth in land buying when you eyeball the map. And it means thousands of people logging on just fly around and never light. Last edited by Prokofy Neva : Yesterday at 03:45 PM. […]

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