Tristan began tracking the number of users and financial data (caveat – listed on the SL site, not independently verified) from October 2006 thro to January this year. The outcome of this analysis –
On average, the number of logins over a 60 day period seems to be about 35 to 40 percent of the total population reported. The people who log in, however, seem to spend a fair amount of money ($50-60 a week) within the Second Life economy.
Wagner James Au sheds some light on what this means comparatively… this would mean that some 200,000-230,000 active Second Life users are on average currently spending more on their in-world experience than any existing online world by far. (For comparison, a World of Warcraft subscription is but $15 a month, and that’s money paid to the Blizzard/Vivendi, not user to user.)
So summing up Tristan’s analysis: Second Life is people light (relatively), but cash heavy (absolutely.)
Tristan goes on to extrapolate user growth on SL and figures that on a conservative calculation by the end of April 3.5 million users will have registered with over 600,000 using the service.
The original debate instigator, Clay Shirky, has responded by noting the dichotomy between what SL defines as ‘registered users” and “residents” –
But there is no published metric of “Registered Users” — the Residents figure includes people who signed up but never logged in, as well as alts. “Residents” represents a 50% inflation over actual people, and most of them bail after the first month.
David Kirkpatrick of Fortune just got some real figures out of Linden, and only 1.5M people have ever logged in (the gap between 2.3M Residents and 1.5M people is from the alts and sign up/no login people), and of that figure, only 250K have logged in more than 30 days later.
In other words, the highest possible figure for active users is 250K — the actual number is lower, but we don’t know how much lower. It also means that only a minority of the Last 60 Days logins are active users.
David Kirkpatrick’s response is embedded in a comment to a CNN Money article – scroll down to find it.
Bottom line — active new SL users are growing at a very healthy 23%.