Social OpenSim grids gain over 1,000 regions

The largest social OpenSim-based grids have gained over 1,000 regions since our last count in early September, bringing the total regions on these grids to over 6,500.

These are grids that allow anyone to register for free. In addition, social interaction is a significant aspect of the grid’s activity.  In addition, many of the social grids are now accessible from other grids, via hypergrid teleport.

The single biggest gain was on OSGrid, which continues to be the largest social grid. OSGrid currently has over 28,000 registered users, and 3,113 regions.

Halloween party on OSGrid. (Photo by Ziah Zhangsun.)

Halloween party on OSGrid. (Photo by Ziah Zhangsun.)

The largest percentage gain was on the German-language Metropolis grid, which almost tripled in size from 46 regions to 122 regions over the past couple of months.

In addition to these social grids, hundreds of private grids also run on the OpenSim software. By our latest count, there are more than 300 grids, totaling over 1,000 regions.

These two counts only cover the major grids, grids hosted by the top OpenSim hosting companies, grids registered with the major directories, and grids running on Christa Lopes’ Diva Distribution of OpenSim.

They do not include instances where schools, companies, groups and individuals download the OpenSim software and quietly run their own grid. There are many reasons for them to do so, including creating inexpensive platforms to create virtual content for sale on other grids and in Second Life, for creative self-expression in this new medium, for education, for training, collaboration and small-group meetings, and even just to experiment with the technology.

Even without an accurate count of these “dark” grids, the  growth numbers are very impressive — especially considering that OpenSim is still “alpha” software and has not yet even reached the 1.0 release.

Second Life, by comparison, has 23,566 resident-owned regions, according to data released earlier this month by Linden Lab.

The growth in the social grids is particularly interesting in that the social aspects are the ones most lacking in OpenSim. Where OpenSim excels is in enterprise integration tools and the ability to fully control the environment. OpenSim also has a significant cost advantage — the server software is free to download and can run on almost any spare computer. And professional hosting starts at around $25 for a full region — compared to $300 with Second Life.

This makes OpenSim a perfect fit for companies looking for a collaboration, training and meeting platform, and for schools looking for a less expensive — and more private — alternative to Second Life.

However, OpenSim-based grids currently do not have the critical mass of users that would create a vibrant social environment. Second Life, for example, has events happening at all hours of day and night catering to all tastes and proclivities.

There is currently no central registration system for grids, no directory or comprehensive search engine. There are some promising projects however attempting to catalog grids, including YoSimsGridHop and MetaverseInk. In addition, the OpenSim open source community maintains a list of grids.

Total: 6,593 regions

Note: We have not been able to confirm the Legend City or MyOpenLife region counts over the past two months. In all other cases, the grid region statics are either generated by the individual grid servers, or provided to us by grid administrators.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • i would like to see something like this with good solid data. http://jeanricard.tumblr.com/

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_kt

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  • Anonymous

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=431023695+m%
    7.25 times bigger than Manhatan

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  • ARADTech

    Good article Maria 🙂 There is a couple of other interesting Opensim Developments I have been working closely with. One is a virtual services and stockmarket for virtual worlds at http://data.vwbizx.com and the other is the g$ system for virtual worlds at http://www.cybercoinbank.com. Check em out they are made for opensim worlds 🙂

  • Great Article!!

    The correct URL link for the Avatar Hangout is http://www.AvatarHangout.com

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  • NathanAdored

    Nice to see K-Grid on the list. On the other hand, as it happens, K-Grid has JUST finished renaming themselves to Meta7 grid, and moved to bigger, beefier servers. Seems the name K-Grid was already trademarked by someone else… for a knowledge-base service or some such thing.

  • Eve

    Nice write up.

    I noticed you put " MyOpenLife: 600 regions (estimate) " From that link taking me to Openlifegrid.com I am taking it that is the grid your saying has estimated 600 regions. I would really questioned that estimation because last time I went inworld to count the regions, over half of mainland was missing. (has been like that for the last couple of months) I tried to count by eye on the map how many regions there where. Mainland and private and I counted 76 regions on the map. I zoomed out and moved in to all the corners best I could. 76 was the highest number I counted.This was done the first week of Dec. I would think a safer estimation would be round the 100 mark.

    I have emailed Openlifegrid through support/contact us asking for number of regions and members, but have not received a reply. Would be nice to see the numbers from them.

    I am also wondering if they should be included on the list as I believe they say they are now not on OpenSim code and have forked and working on a separate and different platform away from the OpenSim code.

  • Eve —

    For MyOpenLife, I've been using the numbers on the OpenSimulator grid list. I've been emailing the company's grid administrator for a while now, with no response. It can be hard to tell how many regions a grid has just based on the map — there may be islands and smaller continents in areas where you haven't looked.

    Generally, I use the official regions listed, generated by OpenSim servers. However, I haven't been able to find this list for this grid.

    I also haven't been able to find any recent data for Legend City — the login splash screen says that the grid is live, but the Web site says it's "under construction" and provides no grid info.

    The lack of specific information is definitely a bad sign. Or, it could simply be a sign of disorganization from not being able to keep up with growth.

    — Maria