OpenSim land area hits new high

The top 40 OpenSim grids have reached 28,705 regions, a new record high and an increase of 578 regions since this time last month. They also reported 316,197 total registered users and 18,475 active users this month, a total of 6,405 new registered users and 33 new active users.

Region counts on the 40 largest public OpenSim grids.
Region counts on the 40 largest public OpenSim grids.

Virtual Worlds Grid and OSgrid gained more than 200 regions each, Kitely gained 163 regions, and Metropolis gained 122.

Meanwhile, of the 279 currently active public OpenSim grids, 219 reported their statistics this month, and their land area adds up to a total of 30,988 regions — 4,327 more than on Second Life.

This count does not include private grids, such as grids run behind school firewalls, or grids set up to run large corporate simulations, or the nearly 7,000 regions running on personal New World Studio installations.

OpenSim has an edge over Second Life when it comes to land because individuals can set up regions for free, or rent regions from a number of vendors competing on both price and service at about a tenth the price of similar Second Life regions.

However, as can be seen from the active user numbers, OpenSim still isn’t a match for Second Life in terms of the absolute size of community. As a result, people coming to OpenSim either bring their own communities with them — such as schools and role playing groups — or don’t need communities, such as independent builders and creators.

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:

Kitely and AviWorlds both moved up in the rankings, with AviWorlds gaining 124 new active users over the past month, and Kitely gaining 109. All other grids gained less than 50 new active users each, or lost active users. Of the losers, Avination lost the most — 151 fewer actives than at this time last month. OSgrid had 94 fewer actives.

News from around the grids

There was a lot of Halloween and Octoberfest-related activity on the OpenSim grids this month, as listed in the activity report at the beginning of the month.

Please mark your calendars and send announcements to [email protected] near the end of October for the next grid news roundup. Announcements can include upcoming events, new merchants, new malls, major new builds and attractions, discounts and sales, new hires, help wanted announcements — anything that can be summarized in a paragraph or two. Please include snapshots and photos!

Kitely adds marketplace functionality with gifts and wishlists, eliminates listing fees

Kitely, the largest commercial OpenSim grid by land area, continued to attract new land owners and users by eliminating the listing fees on its marketplace. The company also promised merchants the ability to export all their listed items, along with descriptions and other marketplace-related metadata, allowing them to easily move their entire stores to other grids. Those other grids would need to enable import functionality, however.

Then, yesterday, Kitely continued its rapid pace of marketplace improvements with the roll-out of gifts and wishlists.

Kitely has become a popular destination with merchants due to the earning potential of selling to education and business users of the platform, as well as to the general population which previously did not have access to much of a commercial product selection in OpenSim. Some merchants are reporting hundreds of dollars in earnings, even though the market only opened recently.

The number of products available has increased from around 700 when the marketplace first launched to over 1,050 today,  in almost 1,700 different variations. In Kitely, the various versions of a product are all contained in a single listing — a merchant can sell the same item in different colors or styles, or with different permissions for different prices, all from the same product page.

Ilan Tochner
Ilan Tochner

Kitely also offers free tools to help merchants find and fix problems in their listings, free uploads, a free unlimited-access sandbox, and an entire free region of up to 100,000 prims and two hours of access a month — six hours, the first month.

“This means that content creators don’t have to spend any money out of pocket to use our offer and will only need to pay us a sales commission if they make money in Kitely Market,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

“Our initiative is being well received by content creators and we’re being approached by various merchants who’ve previously not had a presence outside of Second Life.”

Virtual Highway celebrates Halloween

Virtual Highway, a mid-sized commercial grid, saw a 26 percent jump in active users over the past month, some of whom may have been attracted by the grid’s Halloween-related activities.

Gene Call
Gene Call

“We have an amazing Halloween Sim that offers all the ‘spookiness’ of this fun holiday,” grid owner Gene Call told Hypergrid Business. There are also two Halloween-themed building contests, a horror movie quiz trivia contest with cash prizes in the Virtual Highway currency.

The grid has also lowered its land prices, from $75 to $60 for a full region capable of holding up to 40,000 prims. Mainland regions of 15,000 prims are now $50, 5,000-prim homestead regions are $35 a month, and 1,000-prim water regions are $10 a month. Discounts are available for those who purchase multiple regions, as well as for educators and non-profits.

In addition, free 4,096 square foot parcels are available for residential use, capable of holding up to 312 prims.

In other grid news, RNP Animations has opened a full store on Virtual Highway, with a grand opening discount of 50 percent on all merchandise.

Transitions

We’re listing 30 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites this month.

Meanwhile, we’ve added several new grids to our database, including W3DC-WorldConfederatioVRealmFine GridThoMaxGridDune, and the University of Augsburg’s 3DGrid.

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 stats page for the Diva Distro, a user-friendly distribution of OpenSim, reported 2,152 downloads this month, for a grand total of over 26,000 downloads since the distribution was first released in May of 2011.

Sim-on-a-Stick, a packaged version of the Diva Distro, was downloaded 486 times this month, for over 23,000 downloads total since the distribution was first released in May 2011.

Both the Diva Distro and Sim-on-a-Stick were recently updated to OpenSim version 0.7.6, which offers increased performance, out-of-the-box support for groups and offline messages, better teleports, a few new scripting commands, and support for a new export permission.

The New World Studio, which allows people to set up private grids in just a few clicks with a fully automated installer, recently began publishing its usage statistics. As of today, it reports 6,985 regions on 1,530 different active grids running on this distribution of OpenSim.

Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergate jumps on their network this month decreased by 201, to 2,833. The system now has 712 registered hypergates, up by 6 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 131 fewer regions today than the same time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,661  regions total, down 1,977 regions from this time last year, and 5,224 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010. According to GridSurvey, the last time the grid was this small was in May of 2009.

October 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 718 different publicly-accessible grids, 279 of which were active this month, and 219 of which published their statistics. There were a total of 30,988 regions, 338,424 registered users, and 21,189 active users on those 219 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.

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