OpenSim active users pass 25,000 milestone

This was another record-breaking month for OpenSim, with new highs in regions, users, and active users on the 303 active worlds.

For those who are new readers, OpenSim is a free, open source virtual world platform that’s compatible with the Oculus Rift. It allows people with no technical skills to quickly and cheaply create virtual worlds, and then teleport to other virtual worlds. Those with technical skills can run OpenSim worlds on their own servers for free, while commercial hosting starts at less than $5 a region — compared to $300 a region for the same land in Second Life. A list of hosting providers is here. Download the recommended Firestorm viewer here. And find out where to get content for your OpenSim world or region here.

The land area of OpenSim’s public worlds increased by the equivalent of 656 standard regions, to a new high of 56,667 standard region equivalents, or 3,716 square kilometers. Biggest gainers were the Metropolis grid, with 717 new regions, the Atek grid, with 433 new regions, 3rd Rock Grid with 125 new regions, Kitely with 100 new regions, and Virtual Highway with 99 new regions.

Land area on OpenSim’s public grids in standard region equivalents. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Land area on OpenSim’s public grids in standard region equivalents. (Hypergrid Business data.)

With the exception of Virtual Highway, all the big gainers were hypergrid-enabled, allowing their residents to travel freely to other grids.

In fact, 93 percent of all OpenSim regions — 52,555 — are on hypergrid-enabled grids, with just 4,093 regions on closed grids.

The number of registered users increased by 5,600 to 423,893, with InWorldz bringing in the most new registrations at 1,973 followed by Kitely at 1,325. Avination was in third place, registering 577 new users, The Adult Grid in fourth with 287 new registrations, and OSgrid — even though it was still down — reporting 257 new registrations. Metropolis reported 256 new registrations, Island Oasis reported 245, Virtual Highway reported 174, and 3rd Rock Grid reported 160.

Of the above nine grids, five are closed, commercial grids — an indication that the closed grids are still doing a better-than-average marketing job on bringing in new users.

However, because the total number of hypergrid-enabled grids has been increasing dramatically, the total number of active users on the hypergrid continues to pull away from the number of users on the closed grids.

Number of active users on closed grids, and on hypergrid-enabled grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Number of active users on closed grids, and on hypergrid-enabled grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

December of 2014 was the first time since InWorldz began reporting its active user statistics that the hypergrid had more active users than closed grids.

Popularity

And speaking of active users …. 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, especially closed 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.

OpenSim grids reported an increase of 1,686 active users this month, for a new high of 25,620 users. Almost all of the increase in active users was due to the hypergrid — 1,644 new actives, or 97 percent of the total.

Given the high registration numbers on the closed commercial grids, this could be a sign that, even as the closed grids continue to bring in new users, some of their older users are leaving for the less-expensive, less-restrictive open grids.

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

The biggest gainer was Craft, with 132 new active users. As a result of this month’s increase, Craft has passed the 1,000-active mark for the first time in its history. Craft is a non-profit grid, with a large Italian population, known for its artistic and creative scene. It recently celebrated its fifth birthday.

InWorldz was the next biggest gainer, with 123 new active users, followed by FrancoGrid with 108 new actives. Kitely gained 80, which also put it over the 1,000 active mark for the first time in its history.

Transitions

We have 39 new grids added to our database since this time last month, including The Reef, CreaNovale Grid, MS Axiom, Twilight Grid, Chaos Entertainment, Saltwaterbay, World 3D, Kalisiddhi Grid, QuintaGrid, YrGrid, iek, Rons Grid, ToPi`s World, Euro Netz, R5Academy, 2nd Oakdene, Axis Grid, Carline and Mari’s OpenSim World, Umrion, Sailing Grid, Subversion, ItalcityGrid, Digital Enterprise Pathways, KRRRL, NurbsHouse, MadiWorld, Homeland, Dovangel, Vartown, Home Stone Grid, Gianella, SaundCom Worlds, OGEY-PLAZA, Misty World, LabVirSD, OpenSimGallery, VALENCIA_UVEG_LAND, The Villo Grid, and Third Nation

And the following 12 grids have been marked as suspended: 3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos, Avi-Labs, BunnehGrid, FleepGrid, Mega, Peter’s World, PLANE, R.World, SA Project, SuziWorld, ThoMaxGrid, Virtual Gay Kingdom.

Avi-Labs is the grid formerly known as AviWorlds.

“My grid was attacked again and my database wiped out,” grid founder Alexandro Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business, accusing former partners of sabotage. He added that he was getting out of the commercial grid business, and will now only have a small personal grid, and has taken down all related social media accounts.

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.

February 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 977 different publicly-accessible grids, 303 of which were active this month, and 246 of which published their statistics.

All region counts on this list are, whenever available, in terms of standard region equivalents. Active user counts include hypergrid visitors whenever possible.

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.

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.

  • “Biggest gainers were the Metropolis grid, with 717 new regions, the Atekgrid, with 433 new regions, 3rd Rock Grid with 125 new regions, Kitely with 100 new regions” and…

    “With the exception of Virtual Highway, all the big gainers were hypergrid-enabled, allowing their residents to travel freely to other grids.” and…

    “However, because the total number of hypergrid-enabled grids has been increasing dramatically, the total number of active users on the hypergrid continues to pull away from the number of users on the closed grids.” and…

    “OpenSim grids reported an increase of 1,686 active users this month, for a new high of 25,620 users. Almost all of the increase in active users was due to the hypergrid — 1,644 new actives, or 97 percent of the total.” and…

    “Given the high registration numbers on the closed commercial grids, this could be a sign that, even as the closed grids continue to bring in new users, some of their older users are leaving for the less-expensive, less-restrictive open grids.”

    Just wanted to highlight these specific comments as they all show the trending continues to be for hypergrid enabled OS places.

    There is a lot of excitement going on that is palpable among OS social sites and related forums. As well, while http://thehypergates.com/ has been around for some time now, a new HG directory has sprung up recently that is adding to the fun and sense of interesting times ahead for those of us who enjoy the freedom to explore…http://opensimworld.com/

    OpenSimWorld adds the advantage of letting people know where others are at which in certain numbers might indicate a party or interesting gathering people might wish to go see.

    Assuming the new kid on the block –opensimworld– sticks around, I would recommend people use both to increase visibility on HG enabled places but also to show the vibrant nature of them as time moves on. Already I have noted more visits to my own region since I added it, that I had never seen there before.

    A win-win for OpenSim!!

    I expect to see HG related stats to exponentially increase continuing on as the excitement increases and more people check it out and tell their friends.

    This means some exciting times ahead, which has renewed my own interests to watch and participate in.

    • Adam Time

      Thank you Minethere I knew it would take some one of your skill to actually make sense of the article. Last I looked IW was the same as SL pretty much nothing to do with open sim.

      • Han Held

        FAIL.
        Inworldz runs software based on a previous version of opensim, which makes it opensim, so it has everything to do with opensim.

        • Geir Nøklebye

          Exactly. Opensim is a reverse engineered clone of SL distributed as open source.

          Had it not been for the Linden open source viewer, it would probably not be possible to construct opensim with close to 100% compatibility with SL content. OpenSim is 6+ years, SL is 11+ years.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            The SL protocol was reverse engineered before the client was ever opensourced. In fact, opensourcing the client was in reaction to other people reversing their software. (They retained control of client development for the most part by working with opensource developers. If they hadn’t done that, you could expect that libsl would be much more mature by this point.)

          • Geir — I’m with Cinder on this. The idea that OpenSim was born partly due to SL open sourcing its viewer is the single biggest myth out there.

            OpenSim was born from LibOpenMetaverse, which is the collection of messages sent BETWEEN the official viewer and SL servers. People collected these messages into order to create automation and bots.

            OpenSim developers were actually PROHIBITED from looking at the viewer code after it was released because the licenses are incompatible. OpenSim is written under a permissive license, which allows proprietary derivative works (so, say, IBM can sell a packaged version of OpenSim to its customers). The viewer is licensed under a very infection “copy left” license which does NOT allow proprietary derivative works. If any of the viewer code had somehow gotten into the OpenSim code base, it could have killed the potential business applications for the project.

            It’s only recently, with the formation of the Overte Foundation to handle the licensing issues and oversee the whole legal process that OpenSim developers and viewer developers have even started talking to each other.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            It is still reverse engineering 😉

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I am aware of that – I might be wrong, but was not the protocol reverse engineered in order to create copybotters, and then it developed into being the basis for the first TPV viewer?

            Open sourcing the viewer has made it significantly easier to achieve close to full content compatibility. The server side implementation specifics is another thing, as Maria correctly points out.

          • For most of OpenSim’s history, you could access OpenSim grids with the official Second Life viewer. It didn’t have the grid manager, but you could use the command line.

            It is painful to use the official SL viewer with OpenSim, though, and not just because of the lack of a grid manager.

            If anything, I might argue that without the open source viewer, OpenSim devs might have spent more effort on creating a brand-new viewer for OpenSim, instead of piggy-backing on the SL viewers as long as they have.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Agreed!

            After LL switched their infrastructure to a CDN, the latest versions of the official SL viewer will crash on accessing an out of the box opensim grid. It is unable to retrieve inventory and some other information.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Sorry, no, libsl gained media exposure because of copybot, but that was not the intent or goal of the project: https://mail.gna.org/public/register/2006-05/msg00050.html

          • Geir Nøklebye

            OK, thanks for clarifying that. 😉

      • I don’t have any skill[s] lol….that comment was just concerning the hypergating aspects of OS which is my focus now, other places are not relevant to me.

  • Virtual-Dream GRID à bien évoluée ,la grille n’est ouverte que début décembre 2014 et nous enregistrons des inscriptions tout les jours . Notre site web : http://virtual-dream.com/

  • Bryce Cannon

    Another great column. Thanks Maria!
    Bryce Cannon
    MS Axiom Grid

  • Betty

    Really thought you would have mentioned High Fidelity? since its been open & online over a week.
    How will you be able merge those stats in to these every month?.
    my high fidelity world has endless land size it goes on for hundreds of miles vs. OS different land metrics.

    • Wow, great news, Betty! High Fidelity is available? Could you provide us with a link, please?

      For me the region figures are from less importance. As you can see it in Maria’s article: The top of the region list is a grid, which runs more than eq. 19.000 regions on the same server. 🙂

      I think, the active user stats saying more about the relevance of a grid.

      • Lena — When people are looking for places to visit, yes, the prime concern is “where is everyone”? And that’s where the active user stats come in.

        But when promoting OpenSim to the OUTSIDE WORLD, the low-cost land is a HUGE advantage OpenSim has over Second Life, and over any other virtual world platform. And the sheer size of OpenSim. It’s bigger than Second Life. It’s bigger than World of Warcraft or Skyrim.

        So whether you’re a school looking for a virtual campus, a roleplaying group looking for lots of land to run campaigns on, a builder looking for empty canvas, museums looking for empty gallery space, OpenSim gives you more land for your buck than anything else.

        Schools, role playing groups, and their ilk, also have money to spend, and they bring their own users with them — a win-win for OpenSim. They should be the primary focus of any major marketing effort.

        Individual users who make their way over from Second Life are great, but they’re gravy — they’re coming to attend events, to get a little homestead, maybe get a little business going.

      • Betty

        interacting with other pioneers while logged into my giant solar system =) the voxel build tools are amazing.

        Here is link. https:// highfidelity .io/ ..it is in Alpha so direct invites but thousands are already logging in creating worlds. while helping test Low-latency / People scalability

        They plan on not only being out of alpha but even out of beta by this time next year.
        calling up all those who signed up so no worry’s.

        They also have an All Star team of the worlds most respected philanthropist invested.
        it would be hard to see it not being the next evolution of Open Sim to me, leaving the past software limits and compromises behind while entering an unlimited universe that’s 100% open source

        I call it as a nickname Open Sim 2.0 / OS 2.0

        • Talla Adam

          The HF web site says coming very soon. Give us your email address when you try to get the client or the server. Being a bit miss-leading eh Betty?
          I’m still looking forward to it though if it won’t over tax my computer handling the peer to peer aspect, and slow up my connection to a crawl or worse, frequent disconnection perhaps.

          • betty

            Talla Adams Wrote:
            “Being a bit miss-leading eh Betty?”
            Not sure if your aware how that comment comes off to some, but i will restate
            High Fidelity is open, but only those who got the invites got in so far. the site is taken reservations when it can be opened up further to more people.

            Betty wrote in her last comment:
            “.it is in Alpha so direct invites”
            ” started calling up all those who signed up so no worry’s”

            Meaning of Alpha
            The alpha phase of the release life cycle is the first phase to begin software testing (alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, used as the number 1). In this phase, developers generally test the software using white-box techniques. Additional validation is then performed using black-box or gray-box techniques, by another testing team. Moving to black-box testing inside the organization is known as alpha release.
            Alpha software can be unstable and could cause crashes or data loss.
            In general, external availability of alpha software is uncommon in proprietary software. The alpha phase usually ends with a feature freeze, indicating that no more features will be added to the software. At this time, the software is said to be feature complete.
            Alpha is the stage when key gameplay functionality is implemented, and assets are partially finished. A game in alpha is feature complete, that is, game is playable and contains all the major features. These features may be further revised based on testing and feedback.Additional small, new features may be added, similarly planned, but unimplemented features may be dropped.Programmers focus mainly on finishing the codebase, rather than implementing additions. Alpha occurs eight to ten months before code release, but this can vary significantly based on the scope of content and assets any given game has.

          • I’ve been eagerly awaiting the launch of HiFi for almost a year since hearing about it. It sounds like perfection.

            My two main concerns:
            1. That, as with LL, Philip gets to a point he utterly ignores the user base and dumps the project off on someone else who ruins it for everyone, and then Philip bails on the Big Vision all over again. I still have a crush on him though so will give him benefit of the doubt for now.

            2. They do something about those hideously grotesque avatars! I’m used to a pleasant realistic look in the VR…the last thing I’m going to sit still for is an oversized head, bug eyes and ginormously deformed hands. I mean, really…after Second Life, they can’t do any better than that on the avis?

  • I got accepted for the Alpha it all seems to be coming together nicely..it seems like a closed world to me..Kitely say they can deliver items from their market to it if allowed..$20 a year for a permanent space/domain/name free ones expire after 30 days..

    • There is an important distinction to be made between High Fidelity the open-source virtual world platform and High Fidelity the company.

      The High Fidelity platform can be used to create “grids” where the grid owner can allocate names as he or she sees fit. High Fidelity is just one such “grid” that manages its own entity namespace. There will, eventually, be the High Fidelity equivalent of the Hypergrid protocol which will enable people to teleport with their avatar between High Fidelity grids. When that happens, High Fidelity the company will need to decide whether it wishes to remain a closed “grid” or connect to that “Hypergrid” universe. There may be a vanity or branding value in owning “[email protected]” but the ability to create “[email protected]” will reduce the amount of money High Fidelity will be able to charge for their entity name registration service. IMO, when that happens, High Fidelity the company will need to find additional ways to monetize its “grid”.

      In any case, once the High Fidelity platform is mature enough, Kitely Market will deliver content to any High Fidelity “grid” that doesn’t intentionally block our delivery system.

      • So hifiki is a starter grid ?

        • Are you asking whether Kitely will provide a High Fidelity platform based “grid” of our own?

          • Yes..

          • If it makes business sense for us to do so then we will. We are definitely better prepared to monetize the High Fidelity platform than High Fidelity (the company) is.

          • I am sure you will do as good a job with it as you have with Kitely..but they have some pretty high rolling partners who must be looking for a return on their investment so they must have something in mind.. I am assuming it is in no way compatable with secondlife or opensim.

          • There are tools to convert between the different mesh formats used by OpenSim/SL and High Fidelity.

            There are ways to covert prims to meshes (if we decide it’s worth our time to implement that).

            Texture formats are the same.

            LSL could be emulated in JavaScript with a translation layer between function calls, but in all honesty it isn’t worth porting, so scripts most likely won’t be portable.

            There are solutions for the other content types as well.

            High Fidelity may be venture backed but Kitely has superior technology when it comes to virtual goods delivery. There are quite a few problems with the monetization strategy HF outlined, it ignores the realities of an open-source based ecosystem. I really rather not go into it because I am routing for their success. I think any company that is developing a permissively-licensed open-source project deserves our support even if we do eventually wind up competing.

  • Snootz

    Our lands opening up soon.everything running so far so good.
    website is up with the intent to offer a viewer for those signing in.
    2816×2816 region land rather than builds being crowded together will work wonders for stretching the legs out.

    First off Question for Whitecore software 0.9.2.
    what would be the best viewer for those on very old computers? many ancient ones who will log in will need a viewer that is not crammed with laggy bells ‘n’ whistles that those with newer computers can handle.

    Second off Question.Can this Kitely Marketplace deliver to those running Whitecore?

    any advice will be helpful.
    Peter L.

  • Kitely Market delivers to avatars belonging to any Hypergrid-enabled grid, and to several closed ones. You don’t have to have a Kitely account to enable other people to buy items for your avatar on another grid. You only need to register for a Kitely account if you want to buy from our marketplace yourself.

    If/when Whitecore supports the Hypergrid protocol, Kitely Market will deliver to it. Alternatively, if/when Whitecore develops an alternative intergrid protocol and gains enough market share to justify us spending time adding support for that protocol then we’ll do so.