Grids hit record high, pass Second Life in land area

The top 40 OpenSim grids have reached 25,248 regions, a new record high. They also reported 295,411 total registered users and 19,505 active users this month, both of which are also record highs.

The previous record high was last October, when the 40 top grids had 25,202 regions. The numbers dropped dramatically the following month, when OSgrid cleared around 3,000 unused region from its map.

Meanwhile, of the nearly 300 public OpenSim grids, 221 reported their statistics this month, and their land area adds up to a total of 27,606 regions — 375 regions more than Second Life’s current total of 27,231 regions. This is the first time that the land area of the public OpenSim grids has exceeded the land area of Second Life.

Total regions on the top 40 public OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)
Total regions on the top 40 public OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

The biggest gainers this month were OSgrid, which grew by 357 regions, Kitely, which gained 335 regions, and Metropolis, which gained 192 regions. Nineteen other grids gained 50 regions or less.

The three top commercial grids — InWorldz, Avination, and Kitely — brought in the most new registered users. InWorldz gained 2,089 new users, Avination gained 1,694, and Kitely gained 1,215.

A total of 221 grids reported some statistics this month, out of a total of 295 active grids. All these grids combined had 27,606 regions and 22,482 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 purpose not found 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: 7,229 active users
  2. OSGrid: 3,416 active users
  3. Avination: 3,104 active users
  4. Island Oasis: 1,167 active users
  5. Metropolis: 1,045 active users
  6. Kitely: 628 active users
  7. Craft World: 569 active users
  8. 3rd Rock Grid: 426 active users
  9. German Grid: 387 active users
  10. Logicamp: 226 active users

Avination reported the biggest increase in active users this month, with 865 new actives. InWorldz also showed growth, with 462 new actives. Metropolis gained 186 new active users, and German Grid gained 80.

AviWorlds reopens with new business model

AviWorlds, which has had more than its share of ups and downs since the Brazil-based grid was first launched as AvWorlds two years ago, is back up, with yet another new business model and new hosting.

Alexsandro Pomposelli
Alexsandro Pomposelli

“People can attach their own regions and the ones that can’t we offer hosting,” grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business.

Hosted regions start at $15 a month, with the hosting provided by Zetamex.

There is no more in-world currency, but individual regions owners can opt to use the OMC currency from VirWoX, or go with PayPal.

In another significant change, the grid will now be hypergrid-enabled, allowing travel to other grids.

Previously, merchants were reluctant to join a grid that had hypergrid connectivity turned on for fear that content would leave the grid. However, hypergrid connectivity is a moot point if a grid allows self-connected regions, since the owners of those regions have full control over all the content on their land, can make local backups in the form of OAR files, can grant themselves “God powers” and change permissions on items, or access the region’s MySQL database and make any changes to content that they want.

As a result, merchants on these grids have to give up on content protection — or offer the permission settings as a guideline for users — and impose license terms, instead. Many online retailers, for example, have switched away from DRM. Amazon and iTunes offer song downloads without copy protection, counting on low prices, convenience, and safety to attract customers away from the free file-sharing sites.

A new export permission setting will allow merchants on some commercial grids to specify whether their content is allowed to leave a grid via hypergrid or OAR exports. But this will not protect merchants on open grids like AviWorlds, where users are allowed to connect self-hosted regions.

Zetamex steps up

Zetamex is the newest entrant to the OpenSim hosting market, but it’s quickly been making a name for itself with low prices and good customer service.

In addition to helping AviWorlds get up and going, Zetamex has also rescued all the content created by Linda Kellie.

Kellie is known as the most prolific of content creators for OpenSim, with dozens of free OAR files, inventory files, and XML files full of content. Many smaller grids get started by setting up her regions and her malls. And, unlike free content available elsewhere, all her works are CC0 licensed, meaning that they can be used in any way imaginable. They can be modified, used on commercial grids, and even resold.

Linda Kellie’s Building Supply OAR is more than just useful bits and pieces for would-be architects. One store, for example, offers a wide variety of free clothing templates.

Her work has helped jump-start content creation in OpenSim, and has made it possible for schools, role playing groups, and many other communities to migrate to OpenSim without the expense of having to pay for all-new custom content. Instead, with the basics taken care of, they can use their content budgets for unique and customized products.

As a result of personal and family issues, however, Kellie decided to give up on her OpenSim content creation, and take down her websites.

Many people hurried to download everything from her sites before they went down. We have some of her downloads here on our Free OpenSim Downloads page.

Then Zetamex stepped in, and bought Linda Kellie’s site, and took over the hosting. You can now find all her content, exactly as she posted it, on Zaradoo.com.

Zetamex has also done a very nice redesign of its website, simplifying the process of buying individual regions, mini-grids, and full grids.

Kitely Market adds export settings

The other big infastructure news this month was Kitely’s upgrade of the merchant panel for the Kitely Market. Merchants can now set the export permissions on their content. This permission setting decides whether customers can get copies of the content when they save their regions as OAR files. It will also decide whether customers can take the content to other grids, once Kitely allows hypergrid teleports.

And when Kitely users do download an OAR file of their regions, they will now get a report listing the content that was not exported due to insufficient permissions, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

Ilan Tochner
Ilan Tochner

“Meanwhile, word of the Kitely Market has continued to spread to merchants and more of them created accounts and added new product listings to our upcoming marketplace,” he said.

Kitely received its first print media coverage this month when it was featured as a cover story in the May 2013 issue of Maniera magazine.

“The article discussed Kitely’s existing offering and our long-term vision for augmenting reality with on-demand virtual environments,” said Tochner.

Transitions

We’re listing the following 17 grids as suspended this month:  Aurora Sim, Canaria, KTU Uzem, LDL World, Model Center Demo, MondragonLingua, Novus, Open Island, Role Play Worlds, Siberspace, Simudyne Microsoft, Swiss Grid, Tekstuff, Ul, Valhalla Virtual, VWR, World District.

Meanwhile, we’ve added several new grids to our database, including Homeland3DjOpenSimWorldTropical ParadiseBrasil TropicalHuskylandBubbleszAvatar Sex GridClusterTuxRutgers Diva WorldBunkerGridUniversal GodsPaige’s hideoutBlack AfricaUniversidad, Roleplay GridMontefiorinoUniSA OpenSimRygeonGreTICElandRedGraduadaDigital Art and Historyvmetu, and Grille EVER.

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 official OpenSim website – OpenSimulator.org – began tracking download numbers for the software in January. However, it currently only shows 1,030 downloads, which is several thousand less than expected. I’m waiting for a response from the developers, and will post updated figures when I get them.

The Diva Distro, a more user-friendly version of OpenSim, has been downloaded 940 times over the past month. The total number of Diva Distro downloads now stands at 22,403. This does not mean that there are twenty thousand mini-grids out there, however — someone might download the software but never use it, or download it once and use it to set up many grids.

And it doesn’t include the Diva Distros used as part of the New World Studio distribution of OpenSim, which has a new release out, including a new premium edition with additional management features. There are now 795 worlds using the software, with a total of 4,073 regions, New World Studio founder Olivier Battini told Hypergrid Business. Not all of these worlds are up and running all the time, he added, but the growth is encouraging.

“It shows a great interest for NWS and thus OpenSim,” he said.

Diva Distro is also part of Sim-on-a-Stick, a version of OpenSim packaged to run on a USB stick, which was downloaded a record 418 times since last month, for a new total of 20,903 downloads.

Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergate jumps on their network this month increased by 1,669, to 4,452. The system now has 668 registered hypergates, down by 19 from last month, on 74 different grids.

This data is very limited, however. For example, not all hypergates are part of The Hypergates network — anyone can create their own hypergate by dropping a script on any object, such as our touch or walk-through single-destination hypergate script. In addition, many people do hypergrid jumps without using any gate at all, simply by typing a hypergrid address into Map-Search, or by using a hypergrid landmark created during a previous jump. There is currently no way of tracking that traffic.

Meanwhile, Second Life continued to lose land according to data from GridSurvey, with 117 fewer regions today than the same time last month. The Second Life grid now has 27,231 regions, down 2,714 regions from this time last year, and 4,654 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010. According to GridSurvey, the last time the grid was this small was in June of 2009.

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 668  different publicly-accessible grids, 295 of which were active this month, and 221 of which published their statistics. There were a total of 27,606 regions, 318,617  registered users, and 22,482 active users on those 221 grids.

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 Korolov

Maria Korolov is a science fiction writer who covers cybersecurity, AI and extended reality as a tech journalist at her day job.
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.