Kitely, InWorldz OpenSim’s most valuable grids

Almost every month, at least one person complains about why InWorldz is listed in our stats, or included in our surveys.

Some people complain that InWorldz is not on the hypergrid, meaning that people can’t teleport in and out to other grids. Others that it is running its own branch of the OpenSim software.

First of all, even though this site does have the word “hypergrid” in title, when I do an OpenSim grid report or survey, I’m going to include all public OpenSim grids, not just those that are hypergrid enabled. There are several reasons for this:

  • While most OpenSim grids today are hypergrid-enabled, not all are. In addition to InWorldz, two other popular closed grids are Virtual Highway and DreamNation. Grids remain closed for a number of reasons, including content security, because they have proprietary role playing games, because they have school children on their grid, or because they want to offer extra protections for groups concerned about personal safety.
  • Many grids run non-standard version of OpenSim. Kitely, for example, has a set of customizations that allow it to offer a cloud-based on-demand region hosting. Many grids run the DivaDistro, ArribaSim, and WhiteCoreSim.
  • InWorldz has open-sourced their version of OpenSim, called Halcyon, and the U.S. Army is now using for its Moses grid. It does not currently have hypergrid support, and they’re working on a web-based viewer right now, but they do say they’ll add hypergrid in the future.

Most valuable players

For most of its history, InWorldz has been bringing large numbers of new users to OpenSim.

The hard part, for most people, is setting up the viewer to log in to a new grid in the first place. Once you’ve done that once, it becomes easy to explore other OpenSim grids.

InWorldz spends money — quite a bit of money — advertising its grid, and looking for new users, many outside the current Second Life-OpenSim ecosystem.

To find out just how many new users InWorldz brings in, I looked at their registration numbers. These aren’t particularly controversial numbers. There’s no profit for grids to inflate them artificially. People usually care more about how much land a grid has, and how many active users it has. In addition, the number of registered users depends mostly on the age of a grid — the older the grid, the more users will be on its rolls, since grids tend not to delete old user accounts unless users specifically ask.

In almost every year for which I have data, InWorldz has been the top grid when it comes to registering new users.  In fact, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, InWorldz was single-handedly responsible for about a third of all new registrations of all the public OpenSim grids.

And yes, InWorldz is not on the hypergrid, but its users do create accounts on other grids. In fact, according to data from last month’s grid user survey, the average InWorldz resident has been to 3.4 grids — that they can recall, at least.

That’s not the best showing of all the OpenSim grids. In fact, the average user has been to 4.5 grids other than their own, but since InWorldz is not on the hypergrid, and is often the first point of entry into OpenSim, it’s not a bad showing. Plus, by sheer numbers, InWorldz winds up sending a lot of people out to other grids.

Recently, however, InWorldz has been lagging slightly. Possibly it’s because of the lack of hypergrid access, or the lack of ability to purchase content from the Kitely Market, or its relatively higher cost of land and lack of variable-sized regions.

Number of new users registered each year by InWorldz and Kitely. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Number of new users registered each year by InWorldz and Kitely. (Hypergrid Business data.)

This year, for the first time, Kitely has registered more users than InWorldz, 22,756 to 20,825, during the first eleven months of the year.

The two grids have very different approaches to both technology and community.

InWorldz focuses heavily on community building and support, while Kitely leaves much of this up to its users.

Both grids have a lot of proprietary technology, but Kitely has kept their improvements mostly separate from core OpenSim, so they can easily upgrade when a new version of OpenSim comes out and benefit from all the community improvements to the platform. InWorldz either has to reverse-engineer the upgrades back into its own platform, or leave its users without those features. The features that InWorldz has developed, like its physics and scripting engines, don’t seem to make much of a difference to the majority of its users — InWorldz came in tenth in technology in this year’s reader survey.

Both grids have a strong focus on content. But while InWorldz focuses on protecting the content that’s on its grid, Kitely makes it easy for its content creators to sell their content throughout the hypergrid — and even to many closed grids.

The other most valuable grid

While InWorldz and Kitely might be the most valuable commercial grids, and bring in the most new users, another grid deserves mention in this article, as well.

OSgrid, the oldest grid in OpenSim, is the main testing ground for OpenSim developers. New features are tried here first.

Many independent hosting companies started out on OSgrid, first offering individual regions, then moving up to hosting entire grids.

And many communities got their start there as well, building up enclaves until they were large enough to move to their own grids.

It hasn’t always been an easy path, with management changes and outages — including a six-month-long outage in 2014.  But OSgrid is still there. It is currently the second most popular-grid by active users, and the largest by land area.

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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.

  • I think that this is a very fair evaluation, Maria, well done.

  • Da Hayward

    well done Maria.

  • Carlos Loff

    Great notes and rightfully ones

  • Magnuz Binder

    For those interested, here are the increases in registered users from Hypergrid Business stats, comparing November 2016 to November 2015, for grids present in the November 2016 compilation and showing no decrease. NOTE! This time comparison differs some from the one used by Maria (“this year”), since I prefer full year figures.

    TOTAL: 97002 (100.0%), Kitely: 24745 (25.5%), InWorldz: 22484 (23.2%), The Adult Grid: 6540 (6.7%), OSgrid: 5882 (6.1%), Virtual Brasil: 4822 (5.0%), Metropolis: 4379 (4.5%), Island Oasis: 2703 (2.8%), Great Canadian Grid: 2356 (2.4%), DigiWorldz: 1881 (1.9%), GreekLife Grid Club: 1501 (1.5%), AllCity: 1480 (1.5%), Eureka World: 1369 (1.4%), Virtual Life Brasil: 1327 (1.4%), Virtual Highway: 1101 (1.1%), Craft World: 1025 (1.1%), Baller Nation: 955 (1.0%), YrGrid: 833 (0.9%), Mobius Grid: 713 (0.7%), TeCoLa: 699 (0.7%), 3rd Rock Grid: 696 (0.7%), Lost Paradise: 668 (0.7%), Islands of Enlightenment: 458 (0.5%), FrancoGrid: 453 (0.5%), NexxtLife: 433 (0.4%), Second Chance: 416 (0.4%), DreamNation: 410 (0.4%), ZanGrid: 378 (0.4%), Grille EVER: 366 (0.4%), Littlefield: 338 (0.3%), 3DLES: 315 (0.3%), V-ALERT Mainland: 294 (0.3%), Nextlife World: 259 (0.3%), Emilac: 248 (0.3%), 3rd Life Grid: 247 (0.3%), Genesis Global Journey: 220 (0.2%), Tangle Grid: 201 (0.2%), Avacon: 195 (0.2%), Counter Earth: 172 (0.2%), Adreans-World: 145 (0.1%), Virtual Life EU: 145 (0.1%), Japan Open Grid: 138 (0.1%), Discovery Grid: 135 (0.1%), AU Metaverse: 130 (0.1%), Second World: 125 (0.1%), OpenSimulator Community Conference 2013: 112 (0.1%), Genesis MetaVerse: 107 (0.1%), EVA Park: 97 (0.1%), Sinful Grid: 96 (0.1%), Exo-Life: 88 (0.1%), TUIS Open Grid: 87 (0.1%), Neverworld: 86 (0.1%), Offworld: 84 (0.1%), Digital Multiverse: 81 (0.1%), UFSGrid: 80 (0.1%), Foto50: 78 (0.1%), jOpenSimWorld: 78 (0.1%), Avatar Sex Grid: 71 (0.1%), Encitra Home Grid: 70 (0.1%), Bess Research: 67 (0.1%), Dorena’s World: 63 (0.1%), ZetaWorlds: 59 (0.1%), Greater Ireland Grid: 57 (0.1%), Dynamic Worldz: 56 (0.1%), MyOpenGrid: 55 (0.1%), Our Own Designs: 55 (0.1%), SLFDGrid: 52 (0.1%), KTU Uzem: 48, CyberNexus VW Grid: 45, Grid Nirvana: 45, Dreamscape: 44, GerGrid: 44, Osirus: 43, OpenSim UAb: 42, Regno Di Camlaan: 33, Next Dimension Tales: 30, Ascension Grid: 28, Crystal’s World: 27, Moonglow: 25, Rissland: 24, Spellscape: 23, Américas Worlds: 22, Trans Sidera: 20, Hypergrid Life: 19, New Genres Grid: 18, Karmalot: 17, Maze Matrix: 16, A Virtual World: 15, Poqpoq: 15, Relliketh Grid: 15, WestWorld Grid: 15, AnSky: 14, HD Skin World: 12, Metaverse Concept: 12, Alterworld Grid: 11, EUITOP: 11, My Virtual 3D Life: 11, Radiola: 11, Sanctuary: 11, Athabasca University: 10, Moonlight Grid: 10, Virtual Final World: 10, AviRealms: 9, Infinite Grid: 9, Yaras Welt: 9, EUITOP2: 8, Immersive Reality: 8, Proyecto Alebri: 8, Adventure Bay: 7, Insight Concepts: 7, SirinHGpole: 7, Ventureworldz: 6, Binders World: 5, Saltwaterbay: 5, KiWo Grid: 4, Outworldz: 4, Brillyunt: 3, Hakusan: 3, Kingdom of Creation: 3, Kroatan Grid: 3, LeBourg: 3, NewWorld: 3, Open Island: 3, Smxy: 3, TheGrid: 3, Xntra City: 3, AIRE Mille Flux: 2, Ignis Fatuus: 2, Justice Grid: 2, Revo Grid: 2, 2Open: 1, Anvil1: 1, CreaNovale Grid: 1, Hyperica: 1, Kalasiddhi Grid: 1, KubwasWelt: 1, Kyle Archipelago: 1, Lummerland: 1, NeoGrid: 1, REDgrid: 1, Refuge Grid: 1, Sector 17: 1, Tropic Terrace V: 1, AiLand: 0, Anettes Welt: 0, Iti Motu Resort: 0, Open Dream: 0, Openvue: 0, Pathlandia: 0, Tellus: 0, The Lost Castle: 0, UCI Mondego vLab: 0, UFGQ Grid: 0, Xmir: 0.

  • Magnuz Binder

    Maria, do you know if InWorldz or Kitely perform any kind of survey on registration of new users, asking them if they have been to other OpenSimulator worlds before coming there, if they come straight from Second Life, or if they have no previous experience from OpenSimulator or Second Life? If so, it would be interesting to see how many new OpenSimulator users they really bring in. If not, I can’t see you have any more grounds for your assumption they actually bring in a lot of new users than you had for your (in)famous statement that most OpenSimulator worlds didn’t report hypergrid visitors as actives, which kind of slipped after I checked what the stats part of Wifi and a couple of other reporting systems really did.

    Look at it this way: OSGrid user wants to see Metropolis, OSGrid user hypergrids and doesn’t need to register with Metropolis. OSGrid user wants to see InWorldz, OSGrid user must register with InWorldz. OSGrid creator or merchant wants to use Kitely marketplace, OSGrid creator or merchant must register with Kitely. Actually, it’s a funny coincidence that The Adult Grid, which also requires registration to visit, is the third “most valuable” grid. So, unless there are more evidence than you present, there are equally plausible explanations why many users register with InWorldz and Kitely than them bringing in a lot of new users.

    • I don’t know if any grid owners who have surveyed new users about whether they’re new to OpenSim or not, and I haven’t seen this question asked on any registration pages.

      So yes, I’m guessing.

      The assumption here is that they register a lot of new users, significantly more than other grids. I’m working on a story now about InWorldz marketing efforts, and I’ll ask them that question, and check with Ilan at Kitely, as well.

      As to whether they’re drawing in brand new users, or pulling in people from other grids — the total active user base of OpenSim is going up, and if the proportion of new-comers versus lateral movers is constant, then Kitely and InWorldz will have a big share of the pie simply by sheer numbers.

      I’m not seeing any evidence that there are other grids that do a better job of bringing in outsiders, other than small grids focusing on very niche communities, which don’t really move the needle much. And I have seen evidence that the commercial grids are doing marketing and outreach, and spending money on it, so if there’s error here it’s most likely in the direction of Kitely and InWorldz and not against them.

      So you combine that with large InWorldz registration numbers and steady and declining active user numbers, and the high proportion of residents of other grids who have visited InWorldz but now consider other grids their home, and the conclusion that I come is that people come to OpenSim first via InWorldz, get to know the OpenSim platform, and expand out to other grids, at a higher than average rate for other grids.

      • Magnuz Binder

        Thank you, Maria. I’ll settle for your “I’m guessing” for now, and looking forward to you hopefully putting a bit more substance into that guessing in the near future.

      • Justin Time

        For Kitely, new user numbers would not only naturally occur but also because of their marketplace. It is not at all uncommon for creators and consumers to join Kitely just to have an active account where they buy and sell.

      • Rene

        “So you combine that with large InWorldz registration numbers and steady and declining active user numbers, and the high proportion of residents of other grids who have visited InWorldz but now consider other grids their home,”
        Indeed, InWorldz sees a large influx of first time registrations, but their retention rate is very low. But the retention numbers for OpenSim grids is low too (as is with SL). A good project to undertake is to quantify retention rates in all the grids. Otherwise, without that information, it is difficult to determine whether the loss of active users is a result of overall trends affecting all SL-style grids or it is the result of specific grid issues. Also an important survey question is to ask how people ended up in their favorite grid, and whether their current grid residency was a pull to it (they liked some aspect) or a push away from a previous grid (there were dislike factors that made them go elsewhere).
        The perception of how good a grid is depends on a complex interaction of price/value and technical issues. The best technical bits and pieces are easily offset by buggy experiences.

      • Just checking back on this so I can close the matter for myself.

        You said;

        “InWorldz spends money — quite a bit of money — advertising its grid, and looking for new users, many outside the current Second Life-OpenSim ecosystem.”

        Then you said;

        “The assumption here is that they register a lot of new users, significantly more than other grids. I’m working on a story now about InWorldz marketing efforts, and I’ll ask them that question, and check with Ilan at Kitely, as well.”

        You also said, “So yes, I’m guessing.” (I just put this in out of context for fun)

        So I was just’a wonderin’ when the article will come out. I figured it would be quite enlightening, even if it doesn’t.

    • Justin Time

      I agree Magnuz. I do not blame the system for reporting numbers, what I find is the numbers are dubious for many reasons.

  • TribeGadgets

    Odd to nod along (with Intlibber no less) but very valid.
    Also thanks to Magnuz Binder as always – whenever anyone asks I point them to there.

    • Hey now, come get to know me (I run Naboo and SLexit in Kitely). Pretty much all the negative stuff people have said over the years about me is completely false (particularly if it was said by Prok, LL, or JLU), and I don’t have any problem owning up to the stuff thats true about me.

  • Mike Chase

    Just a note regarding “reverse engineering” of OpenSim features into at least InWorldz.. In a number of cases (2 were mentioned, Phlox and PhysX based Physics) the implementations are totally separate from what’s been done in OpenSim. And in all the cases the code for the work is in the Halcyon repository and open sourced. I know in addition to Phlox and Physics the Mesh and Materials code is either substantially modified or totally new. The Mesh implementation calculates and returns reasonable LI values for uploads to give residents and idea of the cost of their models. And the Materials implementation doesn’t use assets for storage and provides a complete implementation of the LSL api to manipulate materials settings. That’s not exhaustive list. There are advancements in asset and inventory storage as well as many small improvements throughout the code.

    My point being I think that some very interesting and relevant work for VW grids is being done in Halcyon and it’s all open sourced and available. So in addition to bringing users to the picture I think InWorldz is also bringing technological advances that are being made available to the community at large.

  • I believe the Kitely numbers also represent users from other grids who sell on the Kitley marketplace?
    I was told that each merchant in the market also has a Kitely account by default, whether they want one or not?
    Anyone know for sure?
    Ilan?

    • Hi Arnold,

      Kitely Market, like any other online marketplace (virtual-world related or not), requires you to have an account to buy or sell items on it. Kitely doesn’t create these accounts on people’s behalf, people need to actively provide Kitely with the information it needs to enable them to buy or sell items in its marketplace.

      Kitely currently offers a single type of account. That account enables you to buy and sell items in the Kitely Market and provides you with an avatar on the Kitely grid. The great majority of new account registrations that do anything on Kitely use that provided avatar to visit the Kitely grid.

      Some Kitely Market buyers don’t use their Kitely avatar but those people don’t contribute to Kitely’s active users statistics. The only statistics they do contribute to is the registered users statistics and even there the effect on Kitely’s overall new user registration rate is very small. Kitely gets many thousands of new visitors to its website each month, a significant percentage of which create Kitely accounts. The number of new Kitely Market buyers for avatars on third-party grids amount to less than 10% of those new monthly registrations (which is significant compared to the overall number of people actively using OpenSim but is negligible compared to our sign up rates).

      Please note that merchants that want to sell items in Kitely Market need to have a Kitely avatar in order to provide Kitely with the level of access our system needs to add items to our marketplace. To get their items into that avatar’s inventory, merchants need to actually log into the Kitely grid and import that content into Kitely (they can also do it the other way around and import their content into Kitely via OAR file and then take it into their Kitely avatar’s inventory). Once the content is inside Kitely, merchants need to test it to make sure it’s been properly imported and works as expected in Kitely so that it will be delivered properly to their buyers, They do this using the tools we provide, see: https://www.kitely.com/virtual-world-news/2013/09/06/tools-for-finding-and-fixing-problems-in-products/

      As a side note, most Kitely Market merchants use the free Kitely Merchants Sandbox to upload and test their content: https://www.kitely.com/virtual-world/Ilan-Tochner/Kitely-Merchants-Sandbox

      It’s therefore makes a lot of sense for Kitely to count the merchants who’ve spent time inside the Kitely grid in its reported active users statistics. As our active user numbers only include avatars that were actually inworld during the last 30 days Kitely Market merchants don’t contribute more to our statistics than any other person who actually enters our grid during that time period.

      In other words, the number of people who only use their Kitely account to buy items from Kitely Market for avatars on other grids is very small compared to the number of people who actually enter our grid with their Kitely avatar; while all Kitely Market merchants actually need a Kitely avatar to use our marketplace.

    • Cinder Biscuits

      Hi Arnold.