OpenSim passes 30,000 active users

This was another record-breaking month for OpenSim, with new highs in regions, users, and active users on the 323 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 1,274 standard regions, to a new high of 57,941 standard region equivalents, or 3,797 square kilometers. Biggest gainers were OSgrid with 667 new regions, Atek Grid with 369 new regions, Lost Paradise with 230 new regions, Virtual Worlds Grid with 167 new regions, and Kitely with 133 new regions.

The Metropolis grid reported the most losses, with 378 fewer regions, possibly as a result of some users moving their regions back to the recently-recovered OSgrid. And 3rd Rock Grid lost 129 regions after growing dramatically the past five months after turning on hypergrid connectivity. The drop in regions may be the result of some management changes on the grid.

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.)

All the big land gainers were hypergrid-enabled, allowing their residents to travel freely to other grids.

In fact, 94 percent of all OpenSim regions — 57,941 — are on hypergrid-enabled grids, with just 4,079 regions on closed grids. The hypergrid gained 1,164 regions this month, while closed grids lost 14.

The number of registered users increased by 9,286 to 433,179, with InWorldz bringing in the most new registrations at 1,754, followed by Kitely with 1,409, Avination with 584 and YrGrid with 557. YrGrid, a gambling-themed grid, launched earlier this year with a Bitcoin-based in-world currency.

Three of these grids are not hypergrid enabled, showing that closed commercial grids are still doing a better job of marketing to new users, and should be lauded for helping bring people to OpenSim.

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.

Active users on the hypergrid-enabled grids and closed grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)
Active users on the hypergrid-enabled grids and closed 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 5,184 active users this month, for a new high of 30,804 users. Almost all of the increase in active users was due to the hypergrid — 4,421 new actives, or 85 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:
Top ten most popular grids:

The biggest gainer was OSgrid, with 3,137 new active users. This was only to be expected, since the grid just recovered from an outage that lasted half a year.

InWorldz was the next biggest gainer, with 567 new active users, followed by Great Canadian Grid with 277, Craft with 222, Metropolis with 139, FrancoGrid with 132 new actives, YrGrid with 127, Sunlight Grid with 111 and Kitely with 106.

Transitions

We have 36 new grids added to our database since this time last month, including Virtual Brasil, Cacao Grid, Cryospia, Beverkenverlt, Prommise2, VUCC, FarOutWorld, MegaGrid, Eureka World, Galactic Systems, Rez Day, Odessey, Virtual Taos, DIY, Algrid, Austeria-Grid, DMS World, Gorean Grid, New Vexillation Chauken, BearKat, Dawn, Prommise, EUITOP2, 3rd Name, V-ALERT Mainland, United Kingdom, Resonant, BioMed, MetroEMS, Smoke Grid, Virtual College of The Siskiyous, Broncoland, Arianrhod, Thirdnation, Drum Sound, and Kalasiddhi Grid.

And the following 22 grids have been marked as suspended: Agra Park in 3D, Al Grid, AquaFox World, AVA 3D, Avi-Labs, Chezeworld, DigiSoul, Dream Forest, HDD VR, Mataverse Akademi, Metaverse, North-March, R.World, RandomWorld, Superborea, ThoMaxGrid, ThunderLife, Traduverse, Western Springs, Westeros Grid, World 3D, and Yaps.

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.

March 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 1,015 different publicly-accessible grids, 323 of which were active this month, and 264 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 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.