Regions, users, actives numbers all up

The total land area of the public OpenSim grids increased this month, as did the number of registered users and active users.

OpenSim now has the equivalent of 56,933 standard regions, 521,735 total registered users and 33,707 active users on 313 different grids.

Kitely was the biggest gainer this month, with 312 new regions, making it the second-largest grid after OSgrid, which gained 95 new regions for a new total of 14,918 standard region equivalents.

(Hypergrid Business data.)
Last month’s dramatic drop was due to Virtual Worlds Grid removing a total land area of approximately 18,000 regions. (Hypergrid Business data.)

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.

Popularity

When it comes to general-purpose social grids, especially closed grids, the rule of thumb is: the 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.

Metropolis gained the most new active users this month, at 247, followed by OSgrid at 129, and Island Oasis at 128.

InWorldz retained its spot as the single most popular grid. Despite a drop of 393 active users, it retains a significant lead over the next busiest grid.

Top ten most popular grids:

However, the hypergrid as a whole is beginning to function more and more like one large grid, with an increasing number of multi-grid events, communities, and groups.

Actives on closed and open grids Mar 2016
Active users on the hypergrid, InWorldz, and on other closed grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

In fact, out of 33,707 active users this month, 25,434 — or 75 percent, a record high share — were on hypergrid-enabled grids. Many hypergrid-enabled grids report hypergrid visitors as part of their active user counts, so this number is not representative of the total number of individual people on the hypergrid. However, users who visit other closed grids create alts on those grids, so they are counted multiple times either way.

Of the 8,137 active users on closed grids, 6,216 — or 76 percent — were all on InWorldz. The 59 other closed grids had just 1,921 active users among them.

Closed grids do offer some benefits to their users. For example, schools might prefer to have closed grids to ensure the security and safety of their students. Grids serving marginalized or dissident groups in authoritarian countries might also prefer the safety of a closed grid. And grids offering proprietary role playing games, especially those who have invested in unique content, may be able to offer a better gaming experience as a closed grid.

Another benefit that closed grids may offer to OpenSim is that they can afford to spend more time and money on marketing, helping attract new users to the platform. InWorldz, for example, has historically seen high new user registration numbers. Meanwhile, surveys also show that InWorldz users visit other grids as well, making it a popular entry point for OpenSim.

However, this has recently changed. Filtering out for grids that have had the most registered users over the past few years shows that Kitely has actually supplanted InWorldz as the biggest draw of new registrations last summer.

New user registrations on InWorldz and Kitely.
New user registrations on InWorldz and Kitely.

Both grids typically report more than 1,000 new registrations each month, the only two grids to do so.

Transitions

The biggest change this month is that Linda Kellie’s Clutterfly grid has closed down, and its regions have moved to the Metropolis grid.

“We have decided that having a mini grid isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” she said in a post late last month.

Clutterfly was picked as the favorite place for users to outfit their new avatars in a survey last month.

The new address is hypergrid.org:8002:Clutterfly Shopping.

The Clutterfly Shopping region, now on the Metropolis grid.
The Clutterfly Shopping region, now on the Metropolis grid.

We have eight new grids added to our database since this time last month, including Time Paradox, DreamWorldz, StarGazer Genesis, Virtual Hispano, Arrival Nation, My Virtual 3D Life, Activity Ds, and Sinful Grid.

The following 11 grids were marked as suspended this month: 4Play, Calbertville, Dovangel, German Grid, linkinulife, Meridian Grid, Morpheusgrid, OpenSim.ru, SLFDGrid, ThunderLife, and Utherworldz.

Grids that have been suspended for more than two months will be marked as closed. If your grid isn’t on the active grids list, and not on the suspended list, and is marked closed when it shouldn’t be, please let us know.

And 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.

By “public,” we mean grids that allow hypergrid visitors, or have a website where people can register for or request accounts.

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 1,151 different publicly-accessible grids, 313 of which were active this month, and 235 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 here. A 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.