OpenSim grids pass 20,000 regions

The top 40 public OpenSim grids passed the 20,000-region milestone this month, with a new peak of 20,680 regions, after gaining 1,155 net regions over the past four weeks.

Growth on OpenSim's top 40 public grids.

OSGrid, was, as usual, the largest grid, with a new total of 9,074 regions. It gained 914 regions this month, more than any other grid. It also gained 1,345 new registered users and 115 new active users.

Another non-profit grid, the French-language FrancoGrid, was in third place in terms of growth, gaining 77 new regions for a new total of 390 regions.

Commercial updates

Of the three largest commercial grids — InWorldz, Avination, and Kitely — only Kitely, which still hasn’t started charging for its regions, saw any significant land growth.

The other two grids both charge around $60 per region per month.

Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner

According to Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner, billing — originally scheduled to be rolled out this fall — will be completed by the end of 2011.

“Hopefully, in time for the holidays, if nothing urgent pops up,” he told Hypergrid Business.

Meanwhile, the company has been working on putting in place better access controls and more social features, he said.

“We are now starting to develop from a ‘standalone feel,’ as Linda Kellie and others described our existing offering, to a more social service where people can easily discover new places to visit and other people to meet inworld,” he said. (Linda Kellie is a favorite OpenSim content provider who specializes in free, pre-built regions with no restrictions on usage.)

Once billing is in place, Kitely will cost 20 cents per user per hour, billable to either the region owner or the visitor, in single-minute increments. This will make it extremely cost competitive for users who need many regions, but use them infrequently, or who need space for occasional large events. Kitely regions run in the Amazon cloud, and are only activated when accessed, allowing the company to offer an almost unlimited amount of land to its users.

However, it still does not support voice, in-world or hypergrid teleports, or in-world payments, and currently only has Facebook logins. All of these features are scheduled to be done within the next few months.

Kitely’s 78 new regions put it in second place in terms of growth, with a new high of 1,327 total regions. InWorldz gained five regions, for a new total of 846 regions, while Avination continued to slip, losing 54 regions for a new total of 669. Avination lost more regions than any other grid this month.

(Hypergrid Business data.)

Avination also lost 318 active users this month, for a new total of 3,370 unique 30-day logins, but gained 1,190 new registered users. InWorldz does not report active user numbers, but did report 1,889 new registered users. Registered users and active users often differ as many people sign up on the website but never actually go in-world to activate their accounts.

About the data

We recommend not looking at the region counts in isolation to get an idea of the activity on a particular grid, but also look at active user numbers and at increases in registered users. Typically, expect to see active users to be roughly 5 to 10 percent of all registered users — grids that report higher numbers may be counting repeat visits or bots.
However, all the statistics are provided by the grids themselves — and while it’s easy enough to check whether regions are actually there or not by visiting the grids, total users and active users are harder to verify.

Some grids, such as ScienceSim, are research grids are frequently roll out hundreds of regions for testing purposes. Similarly, Virtual Worlds Grid shows high region counts — but few registered users.

However, you should expect to see some empty regions and changes in region totals on active grids, since grid managers will often roll out new regions in advance of big new building projects, or to have them ready for new customers. Similarly, some grids — especially OSGrid — will do regular cleanups of unused regions, dramatically lowering the grid’s total region counts. As a result, don’t be too quick to judge the health of a grid by a single month’s numbers and look at the longer-term picture.

We’re tracking several new grids this month, including KadobikrewMosesDestiny ZeroSpeculoos and Enakai grids. Moses and Speculoos were big enough to make our top-40 list.

Grid closings

Several grids went offline this month, either permanently or temporarily.

Avatar Hangout and Sim-World are both still down as a result of the merger of the two grids.

Badlands grid, hosted by SimHost, also closed this month, after just a month of operation. According to SimHost partner James Stallings, “Badlands Grid cancelled due to lack of interest, due to lack of ability to properly port content,” he said in a Tweet. As of November 9, the grid had only 13 regions, 35 total registered users, and only two users who were active the previous month.

The nine-region AnSky grid will also continue to see turmoil, as a result of recent — and ongoing — server changes. AnSky was one of the first grids to switch from standard OpenSim to the Aurora-Sim version of the software. That switch hasn’t gone well, said grid owner Andrew Simpson.

“Aurora [development] slowed down, and was having too many issues,” he told Hypergrid Business. Instead, he will be looking at commercial hosting for the grid instead of running it himself.

“I have never been able to get growing with Aurora or OpenSim grid software,” he said.

That leaves Nova Grid as the only public grid still running on the Aurora-Sim version of OpenSim.

Regions on the soon-to-be closed Rezzable grid. (Image courtesy Rezzable Productions.)

Heritage Key’s Rezzable grid, 20 regions in size, will be closing down in December, said Jon Himoff, Founder and CEO of Rezzable Productions, Ltd.
“We are moving focus to Unity3D,” he said. The decision to move was due to a number of factors, he said, including problems with getting new users into OpenSim. In addition, the grid was expensive to run, he said, and a challenge to monetize.

“There is old Greenie stuff and lots of ancient world stuff to explore,” he told Hypergrid Business, urging users to go take a look before the grid is gone for good.

Some of the material has been repurposed into new Quest History products that will run on whiteboards, computers and iPads, Himoff said.

Screenshots from the new Unity3D world. (Image courtesy Rezzable Productions.)

Elsewhere on the hypergrid

There is currently no central system for tracking OpenSim grids. The OpenSimulator.org website does not track downloads, and grid owners don’t have to register their grids with anyone — unlike websites, where owners have to apply for domain names. The OpenSimulator grid list is out of date and incomplete.

If there’s a public grid we’re not tracking, please email us at Second Life region totals. (Data courtesy GridSurvey.)

Meanwhile, Second Life gained 477 regions this past month, the biggest four-week gain since the summer of 2010, according to data from Grid Survey. Second Life now has a total of 31,409 regions. This is still a decline, however, of 476 regions from this time last year.

The increase is likely do to a recent promotion, in which customers were able to set up new regions with no set up fees. Normally, it costs about $1,000 to order a new region — which then runs around $300 a month.

By comparison, OpenSim grids either have no set up fees at all, or have a setup fee roughtly equal to one month’s rent. Full regions average around $60 a month from the top commercial grids. Full list of OpenSim hosting providers is here.

November Region Counts on the Top 40 Grids

We are now tracking a total of 179 different publicly-accessible grids, 90 of which were active this month.

The raw data for this month’s report is here.

 

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.

  • Jamie Wright

    I just need to post one more. I don’t think it’s been officially reported in awhile but here’s the info:
     
    http://tertiarygrid.com/
    total regions:31
     
    Small but beautiful

  • One correction to the above article: there are a couple of other grids still running on Aurora-Sim, including Gay Nations and Medical Grid.

    Medical grid UI: http://medicalgrid.newworldz.com/
    Gay Nations San Francisco: http://gaynations.org

  • for Kitely, i imagine that in-world payments are entirely possible via PayPal? our DreamWalker was the first to script an instant in-world delivery system using PayPal which will even work on a sim-on-a-stick deployment if the host machine has in internet connection (she reads the IPN from PayPal to ensure payment received before dispensing the object in-world – about a 2 second transaction). of course a sim-on-a-stick in-world payment system only works if you like paying yourself! =D

    • Ener —

      Yes, as long as your PayPal script doesn’t require a server-side module. 

      — Maria

      • it’s just a script that is placed in that object’s vendor – be it a prim with a pic of the item or anything you want. the script launches PayPal in a browser populated with the items description and amount, just like any button you would script on a web page as a Buy Now button. the buyer completes the PayPal payment and hits submit. PayPal then send an IPN (instant payment notification) back to the in-world object which, upon success, vends the item to the buyer

        nothing server side at all and the actual flow is very simple and follows PayPal’s methods to insure as secure a transaction as buying anything else on PayPal

        using this script is no different than using an Omega or sit script – it only needs the seller to have a PayPal merchant account (which is free)

        • Thanks Ener,

          Sounds very straight forward to implement but vendors need to make sure that the script they use directs their customers to PayPal and not some phishing site that looks like PayPal and does a man-in-the-middle attack in an attempt to steal people’s PayPal credentials.

    • Hi Ener,

      As Maria correctly stated, if it doesn’t require an OpenSim module to be installed on the server then it should work with Kitely. I would love to know if you get it to work. It could really help Kitely users start building an inworld ecosystem.

  • Some updates to the list have just come in — Kadobikrew, Moses, Destiny Zero, Speculoos and Enakai grids all allow the public to create accounts, and I’ve added them in. Moses and Speculoos were big enough to make our top-40 list.

  • Some updates to the list have just come in — Kadobikrew, Moses, Destiny Zero, Speculoos and Enakai grids all allow the public to create accounts, and I’ve added them in. Moses and Speculoos were big enough to make our top-40 list.

    Total number of active, public grids now at 90, a new high.

  • “Registered users and active users often differ as many people sign up on
    the website but never actually go in-world to activate their accounts.”

    One thing to note is that neither avination or inworldz ever purges any  failed registrations, inactive user accts, or accounts that were CLOSED, thus, every single registration, every single alt registered and every singled failed acct creation attempt are all added to that seemingly huge number of “users” displayed.

    “InWorldz does not report active user numbers,”

    Gotta wonder WHY, when all the others DO…

     “but did report 1,889 new registered users.”

    “new registered users” is rather meaningless, especially since “alts” are included, and almost everyone has at least a few. You rarely ever see more than 150 concurrents at any time which further sheds doubt on such huge number claims.

    Many register, look, see, and leave, many register, never get the confirmation, register again, don’t get that confirmation, register yet again and then find all the confirmations in their spam folder and log in. The result is numerous accounts never even logged into and just abandoned but never purged, that is why you see ridiculously high numbers like 31,000 “users” but only 150 ever logged in at one time.

    Also, inworldz regions cost $75 not $60, plus another $75 on top for “setup fees” avination doesn’t charge. The $60 fee is for MAINLAND area, and mainland has a number of restrictions and limits which is why it’s $60 instead of $75

    Avination regions are $60 total (but there is a $40/mo for 3 mo special) and installed instantly upon payment, ready to use, no restrictions.

    • Prairie —

      The key here is the comparative numbers. If we see, say, 2,000 new signups every month for three months, and suddenly that drops off to 100 a month — that’s a major indication of declining interest in a particular grid. 

      For example, looking at just the Avination numbers (from our Stats tables — http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/statistics/), in February of this year, Avination signed up 8,894 new users. That was their big growth push, and a result of active advertising and marketing. In March, they had 8,151 new registration, still going strong. In April, 4,861. In May, 3533. In June, 3,595. In July, 2,557. In August, 2,462. In September, 1,823. In October, 1,324. And now, in November — 1,190. 

      Whether these are alts, people who are having trouble registering, or anything else, the signs of declining interest are pretty clear. It doesn’t mean that Avination is necessarily doing badly. For example, they may have decided that they’re at a good size right now for the size of their company, and the number of support staff, and have eased back on marketing efforts.

      There are a number of mid-sized grids out there happily serving their communities. There’s an argument to be made that it’s not the size that matters, but the happiness of the residents.

      Or the grid owners may be getting infrastructure in place for another big growth spurt. For example, some grids are starting to experiment with cloud-based regions or asset storage with the idea of making their grids more scalable and resilient. (Both public clouds like Amazon and private clouds as well.) Or they may be developing a new role playing system or another big project, and will do another marketing push when that launches.

      As soon as I hear anything specific, I’ll write about it.

  • Maria- yes, I know, I suppose I wasn’t as clear as I could have been in my comments, I  only intended it to address the claimed numbers of ” total USERS,” be it inworldz’ claims of
    47,445 “total users” or Avination’s  claims of 41,597 “total users,” those figures do not in any way reflect the actual number of individuals who are active and actively supporting the grid which in the end is the ONLY number that matters- the ones who are active and spending time, resources and money.
    Dead accounts and multiple alts rarely used don’t pay the bills.

    I don’t think someone who creates an account, plays around for 2-3 days or a week or two, buys some hair and a dress and then never returns is what I would consider a user, account holder or supporting member- yet that account is NEVER deleted or purged.
    I would bet that if all the “dead” accounts- let’s say those who have seen zero log-ins for 12 months or longer were purged, those figures of 47,000 and 41,000 would be closer to 10 or 12,000, that was the point I was trying to make really.

    Avination has been bleeding out regions for months and now has half what it did before.
    I had three regions there mainly for non profit/advocation use, but when I learned how to set up a home server with xp and now linux, and can run six-ten regions basically for free and connect to OSgrid, well, $180/mo v/s $10 (with donations to OSgrid) is a no-brainer for me.
    So while my regions in Avination ran perfectly well and the staff extremely kind, attentive and dedicated, I had to let the regions “go” due to the unnecessary costs and finding a more viable alternative for my particular uses.

    I am guessing that many of the regions that went away had casino content and others had huge mostly empty shopping malls awaiting shop renters that didn’t really materialize in any great numbers.

    When PROFIT becomes THE motivation for buying a region, the resulting regions are the first to go away when the bottom line doesn’t meet expectations. The glut of casino and mall regions was the problem, and I think why probably half of the 500-600 regions that are no longer there are gone- they were put in strictly by people to cash in on for profit, and they failed.
    The rest, those who wanted to build a playground for themselves, and a social and sharing community, and could afford the tier for their regions or rents for a parcel are still there and will remain- because they are not there looking for how much money they can extract out, but how many friends they have, events they can attend, creative things they can build and so forth.
    Those are the ones who will be on their grid a year or two or longer from now, the casinos, malls etc will come and go on a monthly basis.

    • Prairie —

      I totally agree. I think the active user numbers are much more useful — and wish that all grids would release them. In particular, I’m hoping InWorldz and SpotOn3D will start issuing these numbers. 

      Another metric is the users currently logged in — but that would require someone to write software to ping every public grid every so often and get its logged in users. If someone wants to do that for us, it would be great! 
      Or if someone wants to do that on their own, we’d love to publish their reports or press releases.

      • The only reason I can think of for not releasing the active member number statistics is
        due to wanting to use the much higher number for advertsing a bogus active group that isn’t there, after all “47,000” users sounds lots more convincing to swaying people to sign up than “12,300”, after all, 47,000 people can’t be “wrong”, right?

        As an aside, this is an interesting site, lots of great articles in here Maria- great job!

  • i don’t think active vs. inactive users is needed to judge success. i think total region counts reflect that since they incur a real cost to the provider

    if InWorldz has 1000 regions – that’s indicative of their success. Enclave Harbour has 16 and that has zip to do with it’s success because no one can live there, only visit – it’s success will be measured in book sales

    how about the Fern Seed? i bet it has fewer than 4 active users so is that a success? i say the million dollar Federal grant indicates it is

    we know longer have to be constrained by the Second Life paradigm and that includes how we measure success!  =)

    *my canadian 2 cents* =D

  • I’d respond to some of the comments here against us, but it’s the same people with the same agendas.

    Anyone watching our online user count on a regular basis can see we’re doing just fine, and have a good concurrency level when compared to other grids.

    A long time ago the count was pulled because it was causing a full table scan that at the time was having an impact on our equipment due to the amount of in world scripts that pull and parse the login screen to show stats in world.

    At this point, that wouldn’t be a problem. But posting an average monthly logged in number at this point just leads to silly speculation and fear mongering from the same characters every time there’s a downward trend, even if it is followed up by an upward one, which those same characters would ignore.

    That active count for Nov 8 to Dec 8 is around 4500.

    • Tranq —

      A 4,500 active monthly user count makes InWorldz the busiest grid on OpenSim. That’s an awesome stat to publicize!

      It means more people for other users to interact with, more potential customers for merchants, bigger potential audiences for performers… basically it’s the top measure of success for a social grid, in my opinion.

      And yes, publicizing this number does mean that folks will nitpick if it goes down one month and up another month and try to find explanations for it (where it could just be random) but personally, I think the overall benefit — giving folks a quick idea of the health of the grid — would be great.

      Otherwise, someone might look at InWorldz and another grid, like, say, ScienceSim, that has more regions, and think that ScienceSim is the place to be. Which it is, if you’re doing research and need lots of land — but not if you’re looking for folks to socialize with. 

      If you guys add your active user counts to your monthly stats, I’ll start pulling them out into a separate monthly top 10 list — top 10 busiest OpenSim grids. I haven’t done that yet because I didn’t want to leave InWorldz off the list — but I knew you guys were busy!

      — Maria