18 OpenSim grids doing a better job at retention than Second Life

Yesterday, I learned from a post by Daniel Voyager that Second Life gets between 9,000 and 13,000 new signups every single day. But the active user numbers are dropping.

Now, Second Life stopped publishing its active monthly user numbers any more, but daily concurrency tends to move in line with active user numbers, and that’s been dropping over the past four years.

According to Grid Survey, average daily concurrency was 44,182 on July 1 last year and fell to 41,791 this July 1, and maximum daily concurrency dropped by a similar amount.

Average daily concurrency. (Chart courtesy Tyche Shepherd, GridSurvey.com.)

Average daily concurrency. (Chart courtesy Tyche Shepherd, GridSurvey.com.)

So Second Life is losing more people than it is bringing it.

There isn’t enough data to know whether the problem is old users leaving at too high a rate, or new users failing to stick, or a lack of new signups. Though, in fact, signups have been on the increase lately.

Average daily signups. (Data source: Tyche .)

Average daily signups. (Data source: Tyche Shepherd, GridSurvey.com.)

This got me to wondering how OpenSim grids compare on the retention front.

Now, again, data on whether it’s the old users who are leaving or new users who aren’t sticking around isn’t available.  But we do have total registered users numbers for many grids, as well as active monthly user numbers.

So I ran the numbers on all the grids that had stats for the past year that weren’t school-related grids and found 19 who were doing a better job than Second Life, in that their active user counts all increased over the previous year.

I used the maximum number of the past three months of active users so as to avoid database glitches or other short-term uptime issues, then divided the actives increase by the user increase to get the retention rate.

5 best-performing commercial grids

The grid with the best retention rate — the ration of growth in active users to the growth in registered users — was DreamNation, with 20 percent.

Retention rates of top five commercial grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Retention rates of top five commercial grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Virtual Highway was in second place with 13 percent retention, followed by InWorldz with 5 percent, Kitely with 2 percent, and 3rd Rock Grid with 1 percent.

Part of the reason could be that DreamNation does not allow open registration — new users have to be recommended by current users. However, DreamNation also had a solid growth in its active users, an increase of 42 percent over the course of the year. It should also be noted that DreamNation is the smallest of these five grids, and the growth in active users was due to just 55 people.

Virtual Highway is nearly twice as large as DreamNation in terms of active user numbers, and its active users more than doubled over the course of the year, a showing I attribute to the grid’s extremely busy events calendar and dedicated outreach efforts to remind users of all the upcoming events.

InWorldz’ showing was also impressive, given that its 5 percent growth rate was of an already large active user base — the largest of all the OpenSim grids.

5 best-performing hypergrid-enabled grids

Grids that are on the hypergrid have an extra advantage over closed grids when  it comes to activity statistics, in that users don’t have to create a new account and outfit a new avatar in order to visit the grids. Instead, they can simply hypergrid over.

Grids that include hypergrid visitors in their active user totals can show significantly higher growth in activity without a corresponding increase in registration numbers.

Sanctuary, for example, is a very small grid best known for its hypergates to other destinations, and saw a remarkable 350 percent retention rate — with a growth in active users of 160 percent over the course of the past year. Pathlandia, another small grid known as the home based for John “Pathfinder” Lester’s Hypergrid Adventurers Club trips, saw a 4,400 percent retention rate and a 367 percent growth in active users.

Other low-traffic hypergrid-enabled grids with positive retention rates include Dorena’s World with 106 percent, Contepomi with 82 percent, Blackswan with 38 percent, Virtual Worlds Grid with 14 percent, Adrean’s World with 14 percent, and AIRE Mille Flux with 2 percent.

That brings us to the high-traffic hypergrid-enabled grids.

Lost Paradise, a hypergrid-enabled commercial grid, led the group with 57 percent retention rate and an 84 percent growth in active users. Metropolis was next with a 12 percent retention rate, followed by Craft with 7 percent, Logicamp with 5 percent and OSgrid with 1 percent.

Top 5 hypergrid grids retention rates

Top five hypergrid-enabled major grids by retention. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Kitely would have been second-to-last with 2 percent, but it only enabled hypergrid teleports late this spring, and I already included it on the previous chart, so I left it off this one. Also, I like the number five.

Here’s a list of all the 18 grids I mentioned, and their scores:

Grid Name Current Users Current Actives Retention Actives Growth
3rd Rock Grid 9530 416 1% 3%
Adreans-World 304 36 14% 125%
AIRE Mille Flux 155 29 2% 4%
Blackswan 47 21 38% 23%
Contepomi 38 21 82% 600%
Craft World 4212 577 7% 13%
Dorena’s World 361 91 106% 326%
DreamNation 555 164 20% 42%
InWorldz 98276 7487 5% 19%
Kitely 19838 826 2% 37%
Logicamp 2239 247 5% 22%
Lost Paradise 427 175 58% 83%
Metropolis 5902 1350 12% 28%
OSgrid 97972 3033 1% 3%
Pathlandia 4 49 4400% 367%
Sanctuary 32 114 350% 159%
Virtual Highway 2365 282 13% 111%
Virtual Worlds Grid 1116 64 14% 191%

The “Current Users” number is of April, 2014, and the “Current Actives” is the biggest of the past three months of data.

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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.

8 Responses

  1. Before you complain — yes, I understand that Second Life gets more new users in a day than OpenSim grids get active users the whole month. And that as the number of users goes up, so do the problems of retaining people, and so that therefore this is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    I wanted to find out which OpenSim grids were doing retention well, so that other grids could learn from them.

  2. danielvoyager@gmail.com' Daniel Voyager says:

    Thanks for the blog mention. It’s interesting to see the difference between Second Life and OpenSim in terms of stats. 🙂

    I would agree that the size of Second Life has been shrinking and that active user numbers have been dropping during the past four years. I do hope for this to change for the better at some point in the near future. It’s sad as a long term Second Life user to see that the average daily concurrency is so much lower nowadays than it was pre-2010.

    Today it’s good to know that OpenSim grids are still growing at good rates and that the top 40 etc are doing rather well. I am interested to see what will happen when Linden Lab’s new platform comes online for the public sometime in late 2015 or 2016 how that will change the numbers for Second Life and OpenSim grids.

    Keep up the great work. 🙂

  3. korguth@gmail.com' Korgi Silvercloud says:

    Thank you Maria for this wonderful and insightful article. As both a proud resident and lead mentor of dreamnation I am very honored to call this grid my home. We have made many efforts to keep our user concurrency up and retain the users we have, and it would seem that our efforts are paying off quite well. While the fact we are a closed grid and have a select audience does play a role in things most definately, I however would not thank that fact alone on our ability to keep our users. We also have a great team of mentors and everyday individuals who ensure that new residents are welcomed when they first arrive, and are able to find the content that they need quickly and with little hassle. I think this is really crucial to any grids success, as the key determining factor on wether a person will stay in your world or just simply leave never to return again really depends on what sort of a reception they receive…so having people on hand and ready to help at all times, and a welcoming and friendly community is quite vital. Another crucial factor that plays into user retention is tech support. If people are renting regions from you and paying there good hard earned money for virtual land then they deserve prompt and efficient service, and if they receive that service they are more likely to stick around and continue renting. 🙂

  4. gridmaster@hypergrid.org' Lena Vanilli says:

    Interesting numbers, indeed. But Metropolis has normaly around 1.200 active users. Right now the Metro has 1.150 acive users. After 4 weeks after the database cleanup the numbers become more real again.

    • Lena — I actually used the biggest of the past three months for the current actives number when I did the calculation, so the retention rate I calculated was based on 1,350 active users. I’ll amend the table above, which is just a list of the latest numbers.

  5. wakijanus@gmail.com' Waki Janus says:

    Thank you Maria, I have always thought you stats should have a column which shows the percentage of active users against registered users. However I was excited to see DreamNation at the top of your commercial grid retention rates. Like Korgi Silvercloud, I do onto believe this is accidental as result of us having a closed grid. We work very hard at ensuring our members whether new or old come back. It is not much different from a restaurant/cafe/night club in RL. You can have the best food out, the greatest DJs, but that not what attracts peeps, they come back and stay because they feel you want them. In particular we give DreamNation members ownership of their grid.