Activity drops on OpenSim grids as they ready for summer

Update 2: The 200-plus-user drop on Zandramas, is due to a similar problem as at Metropolis, a glitch in the database during the recent upgrades.

Update: The 700-user drop on Metropolis is a result of a glitch caused by some regions updating from OpenSim 0.7.6 to 0.8.0. The grid is working on fixing it. As of this morning, they’re still working on tracking down the problem. Once they do, the active user stats will be tracked correctly again, the grid says.

Total user counts and region totals continued to increase on the top 40 grids this month, but active user numbers dropped on AviWorlds, OSgrid, Zandramas and Metropolis due to outages, database issues, and, possibly, end of the academic year.

The total number of regions on the top 40 grids rose to 44,798, an all-time high, and the number of registered users rose by 5,564 to 350,143, also an all-time high. The number of active users dropped by 1,260, to 17,853.

Total standard region equivalents on OpenSim's top 40 grids.

Total standard region equivalents on OpenSim’s top 40 grids.

The chart above only tracks the land on the top 40 OpenSim grids. There were a total of 209 active this month, 180 of which reported their statistics. Those 180 grids reported a total of 46,804 regions, 366,670 registered users and 20,367 active users.

Popularity

For company and school grids, relative popularity is not an issue — the grids are set up for a specific purpose, and if they meet that purpose, then they are successful. The same is true for grids run by niche communities or that serve a special need not met elsewhere.

But when it comes to general-purpose social grids, the rule of thumb is: the bigger and busier, the better. People looking to make new friends look for grids that already have the most users. Merchants looking to sell content will go to the grids with the most potential customers. Event organizers looking for the biggest audience… you get the idea.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most popular grids this month:

  1. InWorldz: 7,487 active users
  2. OSgrid: 3,033 active users
  3. Avination: 1,449 active users
  4. Island Oasis: 922 active users
  5. Kitely: 826 active users
  6. Craft World: 577 active users
  7. Metropolis: 559 active users
  8. 3rd Rock Grid: 416 active users
  9. Littlefield: 320 active users
  10. Virtual Highway: 282 active users

The biggest gainer was Kitely, which gained 103 new users after turning on hypergrid connectivity allowing teleports to other grids. Kitely rose from sixth to fifth place as a result. Island Oasis also rose from fifth to fourth place, on a gain of 43 new active users.

AviWorlds is not on the list this month because the grid shut down and reopened again as a much smaller grid. Though, today, it seems to be shut down again.

As a result of the lower-than-expected numbers on Metropolis and Zandramas, and the closing of AviWorlds, there was now room on the list for Littlefield and Virtual Highway, though both actually lost active users this month — Littlefield went down by 3, and Virtual Highway by 53.

Metropolis dropped from fourth to seventh place this month on a loss of nearly 700 active users, the biggest drop of any grid, accounting for more than half of its active users. According to grid owner Lena Vanilli, the problem was related to the latest OpenSim upgrade.

“Our Robust-Services [central grid administration software] are still running on [the older] 0.7.6 version, but some users have the 0.8 version on their simulators,” she told Hypergrid Business. “If someone visiting such a 0.8 region, the home point is lost — the last location, as well. Afterwards, the users cannot set the home point again. We found out that some other grids have the same problem. To avoid problems with the old — and maybe damaged — entries in the GridUser-table, we wiped it totaly. In this case, we also lost the history for the active users within the last 30 days.”

There was no other way to generate these numbers, she added.

After wiping out old data from the GridUser-table, the problem seemed to be fixed,” she added. “But it wasn’t. After some days, the problem returned.”

The grid is still working on finding the root cause of the issue. Once its fixed, the active user data gathering should return to normal.

A similar problem affected Zandramas, which dropped off the top 10 list this month with a loss of 264 active users. It reported just 181 active users last month, down from 445 in mid-May.

“This issue has something to do with the latest Developer Release of Opensimulator that we installed a few weeks ago,” Zandramas manager and co-founder Suzan De Koning told Hypergrid Business. “The stats are showing a lower usage that is not correct and also less sims and that is not correct either. Some sims and users are not registering under the stats.”

The grid has taken down the stats numbers until this issue is resolved, she added.

News from around the grids

Grids are getting ready for the summer and, in the U.S. for the Fourth of July holiday. Meanwhile, some smaller school grids seem to be shutting down or scaling back for the season.

Kitely sees growth in market, users with hypergrid connectivity

The Kitely Market continues making an impact on OpenSim, with merchants continuing to add export-enabled items for delivery across the hypergrid.

One merchant, the owner of Worlds End Landscaping and Roleplay, reported that Kitely Market earnings now surpass those of the same store on the Second Life marketplace.

Growth in items listed on the Kitely Market.

Growth in items listed on the Kitely Market.

“We’re seeing more content creators coming to Kitely in order to list their items in Kitely Market,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business. He added that it can take a few weeks, however, for them to get their products up and listed on the marketplace.

In other news this past month, Kitely has also changed who is allowed to have metered regions, and redesigned its website and welcome area.

Virtual Highway readies for 4th of July

This is the one year anniversary of Virtual Highway’s Festival Park.

“Come join us for the celebration of both July the 4th and our anniversary,” said grid owner Gene Call. “We have free shops available for your 4th of July themed items to sell or give away, along with a maze including hidden prizes, areas to relax and either listen to the music or get up and shake a leg. All of this culminating in a fireworks display the night of the 4th.”

Virtual Highway 4th of july

There is also a barn-themed event area for entertainment, including a dance floor.

“We have DJ’s scheduled for events starting from the 15th of June thru July 4th, playing a variety of music for your enjoyment,” said Call.

The grid is also having a building competition. To enter, builders must join the group called “Festival Park.” It’s an open group, so grid residents can find it in search.

Then they need to claim a spot on the Festival Park region by buying the free hollowed-out rectangle prim. Builders should leave that prim in place and build inside it. The build must be 4th of July themed, and must fit within that rectangle, but there is no limit on the prims. It must be completed by June 30, and will be judged on the 4th of July.

There is a cash prize for the first place award, said Call.

Dorena’s grid has Sure Cure for The Blues

Not feeling sunny? Sure Cure for The Blues is playing live at the Rock-House on the Nihilon region of the Dorena’s World grid on Jun 20 at 8 p.m. CET, or 11 a.m. Pacific. It’s open to hypergrid visitors — teleport to dorenas-world.de:8002:Nihilon.

Rock-House. (Image courtesy Dorena's World.)

Rock-House. (Image courtesy Dorena’s World.)

GridTalk, a German-language OpenSim forum sponsored by Dorena’s World, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month. There will be a party on the Gridtalk region on Dorena’s World on Saturday, June 21, at 8 p.m. CET, 11 a.m. Pacific.

GridTalk Club. (Image courtesy Dorena's World.)

GridTalk Club. (Image courtesy Dorena’s World.)

Transitions

We have several new grids on our list this month, including Paradisia, TaylorWorld, Dazzling World, Allegro, Metaverso Estudio Factory, PTDE, NewWorld, Myvirtworld, Sweethaven, Queer Citizen Grid, R.World, Smxy, Open3DChat, True Open Grid, Dracsoom, Ital Vybez, Traduverse, and Realms of the missing.

We’re listing 28 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites this month, including:  A Virtual World, AngelFire Grid, Another World, AnSky, AweSim Worlds, Castle Reaper, CatZones, CEHS Game Design, ExoSpace, Extension, Fantasy Estates, Gangster Wars, Ignis Fatuus, KTU Uzem, Mega, Meridian Grid, Montefiorino, NeuWald, Paralax, Planet Einstein, Pleasure Island, Speculoos, Tellus, The Itakos, The Verse, University of the Aegean, Virtual Harmony, and Virtualife.

If there’s a public grid we’re not tracking, please email us at [email protected]. There’s no centralized way to find OpenSim grids, so if you don’t tell us about it, and Google doesn’t alert us, we won’t know about it.

The stats page for the standard OpenSimulator distribution reported 2,161 new downloads this month, for a total of more than 33,000 downloads of OpenSim from the official website since the start of 2013, when they began publishing  the data. Interpolating based on trends from other distributions, the Hypergrid Business estimate of OpenSim downloads from the official website is now a little bit over 126,000.

The stats page for the Diva Distro, a user-friendly distribution of OpenSim, reported 479 downloads this month, for a grand total of over 30,000 downloads since the distribution was first released in May of 2011.

Sim-on-a-Stick, an even more user-friendly, packaged version of the Diva Distro, was downloaded 1,110 times this month. That adds up to over 32,900 downloads since the distribution was first released in May 2011.

The even easier still New World Studio, which allows people to set up private grids in just a few clicks with a fully automated installer, recently began publishing its usage statistics. As of today, it reports 26,961 regions on 2,750 different active mini-grids running on this distribution of OpenSim. That’s an increase of 1,576 new regions, and 94 new mini-grids.

Data from The Hypergates was limited this month to the total number of hypergates, 769, which was 23 gates more than in April, the last time when the data was available.

Meanwhile, Second Life has resumed its steady progression of region losses this past month, according to data from GridSurvey, with 28  fewer  regions today than this time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,091 regions total, down 1,140  regions from this time last year, and 5,794 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010.

June Region Counts on the Top 40 Grids

The list below is a small subset of existing OpenSim grids. We are now tracking a total of over 834 different publicly-accessible grids, 209 of which were active this month, and 180 of which published their statistics.

Many school, company or personal grids do not publish their numbers.

The raw data for this month’s report is hereA list of all active grids is here.

Related Posts

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.

  • Han Held

    Yep, saw this coming from a mile away. Virtual world usage as a whole is declining, and people are moving on to greener pastures -pastures that are not based on 12 year old techology. This market will continue to shrink, grids will continue to close (and -in aviworld’s case- continue to open) as the pie gets smaller and smaller. Soon you’ll end up with only kitely and zetamex in the industry, then only kitely.

    We had the chance to grow the ecosystem, and for a multitude of reasons we screwed the pooch, and now it’s in decline.

    • Han — I don’t think this is the downward trend you’re looking for. In fact, more grids saw an increase in active users than a drop.

      Meanwhile, 5,500 newcomers registered on the OpenSim grids, the biggest increase in four months. More than half of this month’s losses in active users were on a single grid, Metropolis – I’m waiting to hear back from them for the reason for that drop. AviWorlds accounted for another 300 active users — you know the story there. Zandramas accounted for the majority of the rest, and OSgrid lost some actives but, like Metropolis, they’re a non-profit grid and I’m guessing there are a lot of educators there winding down for the summer.

      Here’s a chart of the active user numbers. The wild swing up near the beginning was a big marketing push by Avination, the downward drip was when InWorldz didn’t publish their active user numbers. As you can see, there’s an up-and-down cyclical pattern to the active user numbers but the overall trend is up.

      Also keep in mind that this is just for the top public OpenSim grids — it doesn’t include the thousands of private grids out there, some of them extremely large institutional grids like those run by government agencies and school districts.

      • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

        The big problem I see is that since March ’11 there really hasn’t been growth. We’ve seen that wobbly line over and over again, and dozens upon dozens of new grids trying to get at the same stagnant user base for years. In my opinion, the lack of active users causes most of the drama on all fronts.

        Google trends for OpenSim doesn’t look any better. (attached below)

        As far as I’m concerned the sky is not falling, but I think we all need to do what we can to attract more people to VW platforms and keep them. That trend line looks good for actives when you look at the last 2 years only, but until we see it continuing up past 2011 levels, I don’t think we can afford to build it and wait for them to come.

        • You can’t look at Google Trends as a real measure of impact. Consider the Apache Google Trends graph, below. It seems to show that interest in the Apache server software has been declining over time.

          • But compare it to actual Apache market share — Apache runs the web.

          • Gaga

            And it depends on the search term you use because “Opensim” is used by other interests. “Open Simulator”, the proper name, brings up a much more stable and even trend…

          • Here’s another chart. It’s the total download numbers from OpenSimulator.org, Diva Distro, Sim-on-a-Stick, and New World Studio. Keep in mind that there are a few times when the OpenSimulator.org website didn’t have numbers, and there’s no way to go and get them back. And that there are spikes when new releases come out. So don’t take it as gospel, but as another interesting bit of data to look at.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

            The top result for open simulator in trends is “simulator open source” followed by “open flight simulator” so it’s hard to tell if that is related or not.

          • I agree with you that we DO need to get word about OpenSim out to the broader public. Not just to Second Life users, but also to virtual reality enthusiasts and everyone else out there.

            It would help a lot if there were OpenSim folks at the Silicon Valley events. If I lived there, I’d be at every meeting of every group. (I’m a big joiner!)

            Out here, I’ve given a few talks — at Podcamp gatherings, at MIT, most recently to a Society of Professional Journalists convention. Occasionally, I get the opportunity to travel elsewhere, but I would really need to move to NY or Silicon Valley to do the kind of outreach that I really want to do. Or get a really really big travel budget.

            Because, unfortunately, a lot of the work of building the metaverse is actually happening face-to-face!

            Okay, here is one thing that would help:

            A regular video podcast, like a YouTube channel, covering the broad developments in virtual reality, but with a strong focus on OpenSim. Get in the folks interested in VR, and get them used to the idea that OpenSim is currently the leading platform for creating environments for VR in a low-cost way. Plus, of course, we’ve got the hypergrid. Nobody else has that.

            I’m thinking of something like the InWorld Review, but filmed in real life, with more tech demos, interviews, that kind of thing.

            We could start it on a shoestring — that’s how all the YouTube channels do it! — and grow from there.

            Who’s in?

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

            Whatever it takes, count me in.

          • I’ve been wanting to do a RL YouTube show for a while now, but haven’t had the time. (Kids. Arrgh!) Now the kids are (mostly) gone, and I’ve got extra time each day that I used to spend driving them around town. (Whoo hoo! I’m free!)

            I’m thinking of something with short, YouTube-friendly segments, strong visuals (gadgets! machinima!) and a light, easy, , gee-whiz Jimmy Fallon-style of tone.

            A format that lets us focus on whatever the hot VR issue is of the day, and also discuss the OpenSim/open metaverse aspects of it, so that people who, say, watch every Oculus video that hits YouTube (like me!) will be getting a steady exposure to OpenSim, as well. And there are a LOT of those people.

          • Serene Jewell

            I’m in on opensim promotion and youtube fun. As someone who has owned a video company, I hesitate at live production which can be hella time intensive. But a narrator with short clips of demos, interview, etc., I could contribute graphics and editing to that. Is there an opensim promotion nonprofit org? If not there should be.

          • hack13

            You should look at the new sheet on this, a LOT of people have moved from Apache to NGINX including myself. Just get 500% the performance for free, no reason anyone would want to stay on Apache when NGINX can do the job 500% better.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

            I would think that means less and less people are searching for apache, which means really nothing for apache, (since it’s installed by default everywhere already) but is important for this discussion.

            In any case, the active user trend line over the last 4 years hasn’t moved. Whether you see that as an issue or not, I can tell you from experience it is. Many business models rely on some kind of growth there, even the ones you consider most innovative.

          • We must be looking at different things — to me, it seems that the active user numbers have almost doubled since June 2010, from around 10,000 to up around 20,000.

          • hack13

            As someone who took marketing and sat on the board of a marketing team of online service providers of different natures. We noticed that the two big times of customer drop off is both “Summer” and “Holiday Season (aka Sept, Nov, Dec)” the reason for this in our studies and the ones I had to do a paper on. Was because during these two times of the year, people do tend to go outside more or pick up more jobs because of the less work. People go into savings mode, and most the time anything that is not required or considered “important enough” is normally shutdown or suspended. As In the summer people who are interested in web services tend to be college students, teens, early working class citizens. Summer for those groups means time to get extra work to help pay off those debts, save money for things, and some just want to disconnect from the world.

            Then we come to holiday season, this is where the demographics switch places. This tends to be people in their 30-40s and 50-60s trying to save up and buy gifts for family members. This is when they cut all non requirements spending and some even get jobs, just so they can help rake in that extra cash flow.

            So Summer time yes, we are going to suffer loss, and Holiday Season your going to suffer it again. Virtual Worlds is not a living requirement for a lot of people. For some yes, but not all. But as for virtual worlds in decline, I kinda see it a bit differently. I am starting to see the platform opensimulator and projects like HiFi starting to take on a new shape. Right now is really the tipping point, more an more people are starting to understand that closed off and gated communities are just going to cause downhill effect. HyperGrid is getting better, things are changing. I mean right now we are waiting on the next innovation and I think products like OpenSimulator and HiFi are going to bring it. It is just not quite there yet. I am writing an article to better explain this in detail, so you can kinda get a better picture of what I am talking about.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

            Ok, sorry 3, years. I think you understand where I’m coming from though.

      • Han — Zandramas also got in touch with me about their stats, and it is also due to the database problems associated with the latest upgrade of OpenSim.

        They’re fixing this now. Without these two outliers, we’d have had a typical month in OpenSim, active-user-wise.

        So that pretty much just leaves AviWorlds closing, and that’s not something you can attribute to any kind of long-term OpenSim usage trend.

    • hack13

      Well thank you for having a lot of faith in Zetamex Han Held. We do plan on staying around, plus I didn’t start Zetamex for the money in it because I love virtual worlds. I think the biggest thing that both Zetamex and Kitely have going for them is that both are creative. Try and approach things in brand new ways, make changes and follow trends.

      I mean this past few months we are watching projects like HiFi(which no big hopes for, P2P is just too unreliable) and WhiteCore-Sim(Not really sure where this project is going yet), and a couple of start up companies which have emailed us wanting Zetamex to look at what they are building and Zetamex being a provider for their platform.

      • Han Held

        I have my own concerns about hifi …however, unlike opensim, it truly IS in “alpha” so I’m completely reserving judgement on its’ technical merits. They may complete change the nature of their p2p architecture, for instance, in response to findings they come across as they mature.

        • hack13

          Well I am not saying it is not going to raise and replace opensim and other projects. What I am speaking of is P2P in history and even more recent history. Tons of enterprise companies have turned to P2P as an answer to many things, only to be presented with over and over with multiple problems. I mean P2P has several amazing use cases, but in the settings of different needs we have seen at scale both used in games and in even in Skype, it failed caused major issues at scale and had to be restructured.

          I am not saying the technology cannot be perfected or stabilized, but understanding how P2P really works you would understand why I am not a huge fan of P2P at scale. You beging to become too dependent on certain connections, and you have to treat all peers as un-reliable. In gaming worlds, we have seen in the past people forcibly create a bad connection so when you are near them in the game, they don’t die because they are timing out, it tricks games. Your connection gets messed up when near them. Other major factors.

          I would be interested to see this work, but then we have another new problem. Many ISPs actually forbid P2P not because it is illegal but because it causes major network stress. Stress causes the connection to become unstable for others, yes you could limit it but it still causes issues. But perhaps, some day someone fixes it.

          • Han Held

            We agree more than we disagree on this issue. From my perspective it’s not a question of reliability -it’s a question of practicality. What i mean by that is that if bandwidth restrictions become more commonplace (due -in my opinion- to the loss of network neutrality) it won’t be practical for people to run programs that not only suck down massive amounts of data -but upload it at the same time, bittorrent style. Even if data isn’t a problem, speed and lag may be if hifi, opensim and other VW’s (notably non-commercial VW’s) are stuck in some sort of “internet slow lane”.

            I think that is going to be one of the factors that will cause them to re-think their approach one way or the other.

            I’m expecting hifi to displace opensim *for me* once it becomes stable enough, but that’s just speaking for myself. Unless there’s a dramatic change I don’t think it will be competing directly with SL or opensim; but with minecraft and other voxel-based worlds.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

            Minecraft is another subject that confuses me when it is compared to virtual worlds. I know it supports a sandbox, and that is one of the main points of it, but is it also not a game in itself? Doesn’t it provide the players with other things to do besides building?

            These are the “small” differences that can show us the possibly minor changes that can be made to make things rock and roll.

          • Han Held

            I don’t play minecraft itself (I’ve only tried derivitives such as minetest) but from what I understand, there is a survival mode where you have to build things to protect yourself against NPC monsters. I don’t know a lot about it, and as far as I can tell most people ignore that part of it anyway.

            It’s comparable to VW’s because it’s not just a sandbox -it’s a collaborative sandbox, you run a server and people log on and build with you or against you. However, from what I’ve seen on youtube, trolling and griefing is even worse than it is in secondlife.

          • Interesting point. As I was saying on tonight’s InWorld Review (plug, plug!) it looks like High Fidelity’s current business model is to have a great virtual world platform, and make money from the currency and the marketplace. And since their platform is open source, those three components are not necessarily linked. It’s like they want to be the next Apache AND the next PayPal AND the next Amazon.

            Unfortunately, each of those requires a very different set of skills, and a very different kind of company!

            Now, as you point out, add in the difficulties of running a peer-to-peer infrastructure.

            If anyone one of these components turns out not to work — or, simply, is second to someone else’s implementation, the open source nature of the project means that users will be able to swap in an alternative and use that, instead.

            And the alternative company will have an added advantage in that they can just concentrate on, say, their payments, or their marketplace, and not have to spend any money on developing the virtual world platform itself.

          • hack13

            The same exact thing can be said about opensimulator, it is opensource software that can be edited and modified. One thing people don’t realize is that it is still using a C# HTTP Server which is completely been stated by its developer that it is “dead, and not to be used anymore”

            Back when Aurora-Sim was doing its thing, Rev knew this and took measures to fix it. They switched the engine to something that is more powerful and can handle a lot more stress than the one opensim has in it. Honestly in my opinion WhiteCore and Aurora are both in my personal opinion a lot more advance than opensimulator. The only reason no one is jumping on the bandwagon for it is because no real money is being dropped into the project or developers with paychecks to work on it are being pumped into it.

            I mean if you look, opensim has recently changed gears and is following in aurora-sim foot steps now. I mean if you have read my article on grid-press about that you would understand. Look at opensim now, variable regions (code aurora-sim made 2 years ago), profiles, groups, and search intergrated (aurora-sim has had all 3 for 2 years, but opensim just recently put in profiles and groups, search is still not in opensim by default), seperate thread for physics (aurora-sim got this 1 year ago, opensim only recently got this in bullet engine). I mean just look at opensimulator, I mean I know why people want to stay vested in it is because it supports hypergrid, but the WhiteCore guys are working on fixing this now.

  • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

    What the heck. I deleted this above ^^ please remove

  • lol!!!

  • Quality Journalist

    What is a Simulator? http://ht.ly/y3MkQ What is a Region? http://ht.ly/y3Mny

    How effective is Big Data? especially Google Trends http://ht.ly/y3H28 http://ht.ly/y3H2a

    Gamers do not count Wasteland Regions, they count Jobs http://ht.ly/xndkc and Careers http://ht.ly/xndkd Maria Korolov’s statistical structure + format does not match nor does it benchmark with the format of competitive Gamer Associations.

    What idiot counts empty Barber Chairs (tool-regions) to acheive Break-Even in his Barber Shop (use case)! Ebbe Altberg said it right – Use Case Break-Even is in the foremost interest of Linden Lab’s turnaround.

  • Zandramas Grid

    Indeed… our Region count did drop because of those regions, we call them ZanFinite Regions. So no longer people can judge the popularity of a grid on its Grid stats. Also due to the new Open Sim update to 0.8.0 the stats are incorrect ( due to a bug ) and publishing those numbers and comparing the numbers of the grids with each other would give people false info.

    • If at all possible, I prefer that grids report stats in standard region equivalents. The region numbers are a measure of a grid’s land area, and variable-sized regions are perfectly good land.

      They do drop the cost of land even further, so it might not seem fair to grids that don’t offer them, but so do megaregions and self-hosted regions.

      Low cost-land is one of the major advantages of OpenSim. I hope that the growth in land area helps draw attention to this fact, and makes more people take a look at the platform.