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Well, it’s that time again. The metrics have been published for Second Life’s second quarter this year.

If you want the short version, the figures published by the Lab show little or no actual growth for the quarter. That isn’t, in and of itself, necessarily a bad thing, but there are some mildly troubling inferences to be drawn from some of the figures.

Let’s look at those.

First up, the largest gain was in signups (also known as ‘completed registrations’). In April, various changes were made to the signup process, and completed registrations jumped an average of ~28% per-day over the previous quarter. That’s a huge jump in signups, and would ordinarily be a reason to smile.

However, here’s the catch.

  • Average monthly logged-in-users only increased 2.8%
  • User-hours declined by ~1%
  • Economic participation declined by ~0.43%

Conclusion: More users are completing signups, but the percentage of those users actually retained is very low, and seems to just be roughly covering normal attrition. New Second Life users are not ‘getting it’ in the main or are not finding Second Life to be an attractive or an adhesive proposition.

What I would really be interested in seeing is the percentage difference in signups-commenced and signups-completed. I’m certain there would be some interesting data to be examined there.

However, while user-hours declined by about a million hours during the quarter (down to 103 million user-hours), the amount of time spent in Second Life per-user, according to ratings-organisation Nielsen, remains higher than the per-user average time for even the most popular PC games titles.

That’s a heck of a result right there.

For other metrics:

  • The money-supply grew 2.2%, but the L$ exchange-rate improved by just 0.4%. It looks like the money-supply is fairly close to it’s optimal figure. The exchange-rate is flattening out as a result. If the money-supply is kept from exceeding the economic optimum this quarter, we won’t see a slide in the exchange-rate for Q3.
  • The LindeX trading volume declined 2.7% to US$30.6 million, and this does appear to be largely a seasonal fluctuation. Second Life doesn’t have many purely seasonal fluctuations, but this seems to be one of them.
  • SL Marketplace (or ‘Web Merchandise’) sales grew 4.9%. It will take another quarter to be certain, but my gut-feeling is that SL Marketplace sales are nearing saturation, and may do so by the end of this year.
  • The total number of Second Life regions declined by 0.48%. There were a few higher-profile region closures in Q2, and a few in the current quarter as well.

The Second Life economy is by no means unhealthy, but at present it shows no real signs that any obstacles to participation were overcome during Q2; at least, not based on the figures that Linden Lab has chosen to make public.

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