Fastest growing grids of 2014

This past year has been a growth year for OpenSim. Over the previous twelve months, 22,409 regions, 71,442 registered users, and 2,189 active users.

But some grids did better than others.

User growth

Metropolis gained the most active users this year in absolute terms. The open grid, based in Germany, benefitted from OSgrid’s extended outage.

Top ten list of active user growth

2014's new active OpenSim users. (Hypergrid Business data.)

In terms of relative growth rates, however, Lost Paradise was in the lead, having almost quadrupled from just 90 active users at the end of 2013, to 426 active users this December.

Top ten list of active user growth rates

Fastest growing grids by active users. (Hypergrid Business data.)

When it comes to getting new people to sign up for accounts, InWorldz was in the lead, which actually passed the 100,000 mark this year. This is likely due to the fact that InWorldz is the best-known of all the grids and is likely to be the first OpenSim stop for users just starting to explore the platform.

However, over the course of the year, the number of active users on InWorldz actually dropped by 273, or around 4 percent. The other two top gainers on this list were Kitely and Avination, both commercial grids. This could be an indicator that for-profit grids do a better job promoting themselves than the non-profit grids do.

2014's new registered users. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Land growth

Variable-sized regions made a big impact on OpenSim land area. By allowing users to have larger regions, with no border crossings, at little or no additional cost, many land owners supersized.

Some grids also took the opportunity to roll out extra-large regions that were mostly landscape, for sailing, flying, driving, model trains, or long marches in role playing campaigns.

Virtual Worlds Grid increased the most, from 1,175 regions at the end of 2013, to 19,800 regions today, an increase of 18,625. Metropolis was in second place, with an increase of 1,903 regions — from 3,626 to 5,630. FrancoGrid gained 59 regions — other open grids gained less.

Of more significance, though, are the land increases on the commercial grids, where increased region counts — both regular and variable-sized — correlate with higher revenues for the grid. By “commercial,” I mean those grids that rent out land to their residents, rather than asking them to host their regions at home or use third-party hosting providers.

2014's new regions. (Hypergrid Business data.)

In terms of growth rates, Virtual World Grid again takes the lead, having increased 17-fold in size.

Here are the growth rates for the leading commercial grids:

Average activity

The following is a list of the ten busiest grids this year, counting only those grids that reported their active numbers every month, ranked in order.

2014's average active users. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Hypergrid growth

And, finally, the biggest story of 2014 — for a publication with the word “hypergrid” in the title, at least — the number of users on the hypergrid surpassed those of on the closed grids.

In fact, with the increased reliability of hypergrid teleports, communications, and shopping the hypergrid is beginning to seem like one large grid, instead of the 160 smaller ones that it actually is.

2014's hypergrid growth. (Hypergrid Business data.)

 

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.

  • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

    Since our active user numbers experience massive fluctuations (for example if you did this same survey in August instead of December we would’ve been up +1477 users instead of down ~200) I’m wondering what the average actives for all of 2014 looks like.

    A prosperous 2015 to all!

    • David — You’re right! Thanks for the reminder! The average stats were actually the first ones I pulled from the database — then I totally forgot to put them in. I just added them to the story.

      • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

        Thanks! Can you leave a comment for the averages for 2013? Just curious to see how we did.

  • Baz

    Congrats to the grids that gained users and seen growth this year! It is great to see so many hypergrid enabled grids gaining users and activity.

    • And fun also-))

      • Baz

        Yes! Lots of fun. 🙂 And I am just barely scratching the surface in my travels. I sure see a lot of events being posted in the Opensim Virtual G+ community. And other communities as well. It is wonderful to have a variety of posts from different grids giving us info about what is happening there. It makes for a neat perspective as to all the stuff happening in Open Worlds and a convenient way to hop to them via Hypergrid. 🙂 Not to mention your happening “NOW NOW NOW” posts. 😉

  • Dorena Verne

    Thank you, Maria. I wish a happy new year to all of you. 🙂

  • Rene

    Activity in virtual worlds have seasonal variability. We see it in the undulations of the various metrics for the grid reports. Would you at some point consider showing growth/decline numbers with seasonality adjustments to expose the underlying trends? A Henderson filter would be good. Yearly averages is not a good measure, because it completely destroys trends, chunking the data into year segments.

    • Anari

      Congratulations to *The Great Canadian Grid*

  • Glad to see Kitely performing strongly in most areas, but the stats do seem to back up my feeling regarding slow growth rate. Kitely does seem to gain new users pretty slowly, but those new users seem to hang round. So I guess strong organic growth (my favorite kind! ^^) is occurring, just over a longer stretch of time. The turnover rate seems to be much lower than other grids too.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your last observations on Hypergrid. I think 2014 will be remembered as the year Hypergrid started coming into its own. Even a relatively hermit-like creature like myself has made some HG trips this year and besides a few teleport foibles here and there it is amazing how well it all works.

    My sales also continue to be strong over 1 year after Kitely Market opened its virtual doors and most of that trade is Hypergrid folks. I consider the myth “opensim people wont pay for content” to be refuted beyond doubt. Customers also understand the “risk” a creator takes with selling Export and are willing to pay a markup for that, just like “Full Perm” in SL. Being able to take items to any grid is a big value added to HG folks.

    I have literally had multiple customers come to my store and spend 100/200 dollars in a single shopping session. That just does not happen in SL. Because of people like that, my OS earnings have beaten my SL earnings on no less than 4 occasions now. I just hope more creators get this message and start to seriously consider the open metaverse as a business opportunity rather than a liability. The market is wide open and the amount of things needed still is positively dizzying.

    1.Find your niche,
    2.Become the “one stop shop” in OS for your niche. (Normally this is the “?????” step :D)
    3.Profit.

    If you have a business in SL already, its really easy to bring that across with minimal pain. Firestorm has a great export tool and if you work in mesh anyway its not an issue.

    Also, people really appreciate it. I have had some glowing testimonials from Opensim customers. It makes a welcome change from the “indifferent-to-bordering-on-self-entitled” attitude you find a lot in SL.

    Right now I think a decent clothing/accessory creator could clean up. Animations and Skins are in short supply, as are more complex scripted items like breedables and RP systems (observations based on Kitely Market). There is still a way to go, but 2014 was a heck of a good start.

    Happy new year to one and all and may 2015 be even more successful for you in every way!

    • Hi Ozwell,

      We get quite a lot of new user registrations but conversion to active users is indeed slower.

      Regarding Kitely Market, I agree with your observations. There are high quality animations, skins, clothings and accessories in Kitely Market but there aren’t enough of them yet. I’m sure that a person who does good business selling such items in Second Life or in closed OpenSim grids could also earn a noteworthy amount of money selling them in Kitely Market.

      • Yes I dont mean to say we dont have a selection of these items already. But choice is still a little lacking.

        ….Just stay away from landscaping is all I am saying 😀 There. I said it. there’s no money in it. Honest. Dont be a fool like me!!

        Of course, even in my field of landscaping theres plenty of room for more competition. More choice is the key and thats just a matter of time I think.

        I picked those examples because I think if someone were to just transplant a successful SL venture (dont want to name examples but you know..a big one) like-for-like, there’s not much in those categories yet that could compete.

    • I will update all my skins, provide some new ones over the next few months and bring to market. They will be reworked both with better maps, hairbases and in general get a brush-up from the 2011 creative work. There are also things that needs to be done to them to market to a broader base on Kitely. Meanwhile the old ones are marketed both in SecondLife and on xmir grid

      There will also be rigged wearables.

  • Nick Zwart

    We here at 3DLES are also happy with our numbers although we do no reach the list. We have only 11 regions running (only for educational projects) but we have a total of 763 users with 196 active in the last two months, almost all students of schools and universities in Europe and recently also from the US.

  • Congratulations to all the grid that made it to the top of the list, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all the OpenSim and Hypergrid developers, entrepreneurs and residents who make up this fantastic fabric still in the weaving.

    My own xmir grid will probably never make it to the list as my ambitions for hosting is quite low given I want to be in the content creation space where the grid is both for development, showcase and commerce, in addition for testing of – perhaps – unusual configurations and new code early. Serious hosting is serious business that requires long term commitment and is, in and of itself, a major undertaking that steals time from the creation process.

  • OS Observer

    Have to wonder about how much of this “growth”, (rather a shift in “home grids”) can be attributed to the demise of OSGrid which was obviously not taken into account.

  • Zandramas Grid

    Would it not be an idea to talk about accounts instead of users? We at Zandramas Grid do NOT allow alter avatars. On some other grids people have numerous accounts. One user can have 10 accounts. So those numbers do not represent anything to me. Same with the amount of regions. I can open up a grid with 2000 regions and have 2 user accounts. What does this tell me? Nothing ! Or what if grids after people left do not take their regions offline because it would hurt the region numbers. So my question is : ‘Is comparing grids using their grid stats an honest and objective way to compare?’

    • Frank Corsi

      I agree.. these stats are never a true understanding of what is going on. When a grid that is not even online can make headlines for “fake stats” when the users online state shows crashed avatars as online for months after they logout, or. what is super funny.. VAT regions now can add up to thousands of regions for a grid and put them in #1 position. SO if I add 200 4096 var regions, Ill have over 50,000 regions.. yeah… that is very important. Zandramas Grid is 100% correct.

      • Cookie Monster.

        actually Mr. Corsi. Zandramas’s login splash page gets its numbers directly from their robust database, as for “ghosting” user count. Its very simple to avoid. Just count how many are in the Presence table. That table stores all data to every avatar that is online and not ghosting, when they logout either from Ctrl+Q or a crash, they are deleted from that table.
        As for var’s. Its easy enough to count those since the regions table in the robust database has sizeX and sizeY for each region so with php if you do if ($sizeX == “256”) { $slsize++ }else{ $varsize++; }
        and for all other numbers its as easy as time(); itself.

        • Frank Corsi

          Thanks for the reply, but all too techie for me. I dont mess with PHP at all, and for me not showing these stats are best.

          • Cookie Monster

            Then hire someone who does know php. I know there are alot of php experienced freelancers out there and GitHub has a section for freelance jobs, could post a Help Wanted there.
            I see that you like to use Cold Fusion Media. Now i don’t know anything about that language but i am sure with their latest update you should be able to do similar calculations right from your Atek’s robust database.

          • Frank Corsi

            There is no logical reason to have them type of stats, such as how many users are online now.. I dont think anyone cares. McDonalds used to display how many burgers they sold, but they gave up on that idea also. LOL But thanks for the feedback!

    • Personally, I use the stats here to see how it is all trending. Even the comments are helpful in that regard, especially when one goes back to years older ones.

      Individual grids are to much susceptible to all sorts of various incorrect data as you, and others, often point out, but longer term trending makes them quite useful.

      I recently saw a link to one from 3 years ago which not only showed some interesting numbers, but advice, that still proves true today. And even looking at who had commented…most are gone, or are actually promoting totally different things.

    • There are lies, damned lies and statistics. 🙂

  • Sunny Whitfield

    I’m glad to see Inworldz is still doing well. And congrats to Metropolis and Kitely!

  • Bryce Cannon

    Nice work Maria, Happy New Year!

  • Alex Ferraris

    You might want to include Avi-Labs.com in your stats for now on. In one week we already have 71 uniques. See you in the TOP ten soon. For those who believe that Alex Ferraris is not to receive credit for the grid being popular. 🙂

    • so you gave aviworlds to mike and started avilabs? and whats so different about this one? we all know you alex, in afew weeks to afew months you will get fed up and close down the grid and blame it all on josh and/or others. This is why aviworlds was a failure till mike took over.
      What i dont get is why are you still trying to own a grid and why did you hand over aviworlds to mike?

      • Alex Ferraris

        The reason I gave AviWorlds to MIKE at that time was because I was left without a CTO. Holding 10 servers and working 18 hours per day did tell me I needed to do something about it. But 1 day after that I found a CTO and I decided to step back in again.
        All this time Christopher if you do not know; I never had time for anything and I always needed to give the CTO position to a third party hense all aviworlds problems because of that. All the closures and changes due to that fact.
        In fact I never gave up I always tried and tried again.
        I think the word GIVE up means never do it again. Not to try again. This is what people have been mixing up and thinking that I closed AVIWORLDS so many times because I simply got fed up with it. NOT TRUE. I am passionate about AVIWORLDS and now Avi-Labs.
        In fact I was gearing up to have more than 10 servers and even start a HOSTING company.
        So Christopher I would love to see that you understands my side a little bit i am not a MONSTER and I would never take what is not mine.
        I OFFERED AviWorlds to MIKE and one day later I retracted my offer. MIKE kept coming back after that with GOD powers . Then MIKE accepted a second offer from me which is not talked about here. I offered MIKE to be one of the CTOs and partners. MIKE ACCEPTED that SECOND OFFER. I have his email saying that he did.
        Then MIKE LEFT the grid.
        I am glad that MIKE decided to not use the name AviWorlds anymore. I also am pleading that he would not use the data base.