Estimate: 50,000 regions in ‘dark metaverse’

Every month, when I do the grid survey report, I mentioned that all I can report on is the stats from those grids that are reporting those numbers. Some public grids don’t report their stats, and many grids aren’t open to the public at all, but are run by companies, schools and individuals for their own private use.

To get an estimate of the size of this “dark metaverse” I contacted hosting companies providers to find out what percentage of their customers were operating in private mode.

There was a wide range, from 20 percent private to 75 percent private for some commercial hosting providers, all the way up to more than 90 percent private for New World Studio grids.

For example, hosting companies which specialize in white-label commercial grids would have more of their customers opt for the public option, as would hosting providers which provide regions on OSgrid and other free-to-connect grids. Hosting companies which specialize in corporate and educational customers would see more of them running privately.

And New World Studio, which allows anyone to set up a mini-grid at home, is a great option for content creators looking for building or warehouse space, or for personal home regions, enabling hypergrid connectivity and publicizing such grids to the public would take significant extra work and would require better hardware and bandwidth than available to most home users.

Combing all the sources, that comes out to 60 percent of simulations are run in private mode on average, not accessible to the public.

Extrapolating from current data, that means that there there are an estimated 83,450 regions in the OpenSim metaverse as a whole, of which an estimated 50,070 regions are the “dark metaverse.”

Dark Metavrse chart jan 2014


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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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

13 Responses

  1.' Lani Global says:

    Thank you, Maria, for doing the research on this wildly growing sector, the Dark Metaverse! Like the “dark matter” in the universe, we know it is there, but we can’t measure it very well, and no one knows how to control it.

    •' Lani Global says:

      After your article, Maria, I did a basic calculation of the “Total TPV Metaverse”. Opensim Private + OpenSim Public + Second Life = 109,641 regions. It is vast. See chart:

      •' Lani Global says:

        Second Life grid = 26,191 regions (23.9%)
        OpenSim Public Grids = 33,380 regions (30.4%)
        Opensim Private “Dark Metaverse” = 50,070 regions (45.7%)
        Total Opensim = 83,450 regions (76.1%)
        Total Metaverse = 109,641 regions (100%)

        •' Joe Builder says:

          Not really sure why SL is introduced into this graph of regions, My concern would be population. With the ability for 1 individual to put 300 or more regions online at once, I’m not sure we have a valid graph to follow. I’m in no shape or form bashing either world but SL similarities to opensims are both have lands surrounded by water. Other than that there apples and oranges Like IMVU and RLC a virtual 3D chat room.

          •' Lani Global says:

            It is the total playground available to users of Third Party Viewers (TPV). These are all the regions accessible by using similar viewers, protocols, scripting, objects. You can also think of the total Opensim + SL regions as the “TPV Metaverse”.

          •' LOLCATS says:


  2.' shawnkmaloney . says:

    What Lani said Maria, I know for the past 2 or 3 years my whatever you call it has been light and dark a few times. heck, they may still be in the count for all I know. hahaha. now I get back to my 2 hour and 52 minute full system virus scan I got goin on. Yup, they figured out that xp aint gonna die just cuz M$ wants to desert it, along with a few other numnut corporations. hahaha.

  3.' Professer Davis says:

    Every time you publish your reports can you also post a link for a PDF with all the compiled info with source data, all facts including root sources, all the info made to create the basis for you analysis.
    Any repeatable scientist will be more then happy to share this info and if need walk thru step by step how the target parent numbers were devised

    1. if you cannot please explain this
    2. what standards of statistical analysis are you using
    3. If no is giving for privacy reasons please

    • I can’t disclose the detailed numbers this particular time because the hosting companies asked me to keep them confidential. But the raw data for the monthly reports is always available. If you’re interested in seeing it, the monthly stats are here:

      In addition, if you need to see the data in a more usable format, simply send me an email at [email protected] with a list of the fields you need, and I’ll get a database export to you in the form of an Excel or CSV file.

  4.' Ener Hax says:

    did ya include SoaS? i get many people telling me they use it =)

    • I didn’t count Sim-on-a-Stick in my “dark metaverse” estimates because I don’t have any data about what percentage of installs are for public grids, and which ones are for private ones. In addition, I don’t have any actual data about the installs — just downloads. And some people might download it and never use it, and some might download it once and use several times — with the SOAS downloads, it’s the trend that’s most important, not the actual numbers.

  5.' lmpierce says:

    Multiplying out and converting yields some interesting comparisons to put things in perspective:

    109,641 regions equals 7,185,432,576 square meters (7,185.4 sq km).
    109,641 regions equals 2,774.3 square miles.

    I looked for the closest U.S. state and country in size:

    The U.S. state of Delaware is 2,490 sq mi (6,452 sq km).
    The State of Palestine is 2,400 sq mi (6,220 sq km).

    (Land sizes source: Wikipedia)

  6.' Topsy says:

    Oh wowsers this article has me electrified and truly adds more to opensims credibility for investment, lani and talla really is a great guy so really thanks for sharing