November a solid month for OpenSim growth

The public OpenSim grids added 1,655 new regions this month, registered more than 10,000 new users, and grew active monthly users by 512. Meanwhile, Avination and AviWorlds are still down for the count, Logicamp suffered a devastating loss due to a ransomware attack, and SkyLifeGrid was folded up into Sinful Grid.

Atek Grid was the big gainer in land area this month, with 675 new regions, followed by OSgrid with 543 and Kitely with 258.

InWorldz was in the lead when it comes to attracting new users to OpenSim, with 2,185 new registrations, with Kitely close behind at 2,077. InWorldz and Kitely are both commercial grids and work hard to market themselves both within and outside the virtual worlds community. Virtual Brasil registered 1,096 new users this month — though its active user count actually dropped.

OSgrid, a non-profit registered 406 new users, followed by The Adult Grid with 381 registrations.

The total number of registered users on the active public OpenSim grids is now 499,360, still below its peak of 552,863 in June, which was just before Avination went down due to hosting issues.

Land area of OpenSim's public grids, in standard region equivalents. (Hypergrid Business data.)
Land area of OpenSim’s public grids, in standard region equivalents. (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.

The big gainer this month was Eureka World, which gained 174 actives for a new total of 516 unique monthly users, just short of making this month’s top ten list. The Brazilian grid AllCity gained 164, for a new total of 981 active users. The educational grid EdMondo gained 148, for a new total of 374. Another educational grid, Islands of Enlightenment, gained 124 for a new total of 251. DreamNation, which was the biggest gainer last month, gained 108 new monthly users, for a new total of 565 actives.

Top ten most popular grids:

Meanwhile, 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.

Active users this month on hypergrid-enabled grids, on InWorldz, and on other closed grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)
Active users this month on hypergrid-enabled grids, on InWorldz, and on other closed grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

In fact, InWorldz now accounts for 81 percent of all active users on the closed grids. The 44 other closed grids have just 1,466 active users between them, mostly due to growth on Islands of Enlightenment and on DreamNation, which is the second most popular closed grid. The Adult Grid is third, with 301 active users, followed by Islands of Enlightenment with 251 and Virtual Highway with 191. All other closed grids report 30 active users or less.

A closed grid is one that does not allow its users to travel the hypergrid. Closed grids also typically run all the regions on their grids, while open grids like OSgrid, Metropolis, ZetaWorldz and Atek allow users to connect regions run by third-party hosting companies, or that they host themselves on home computers.

In the past, most commercial grids were closed but recently more and more grids have turned on hypergrid connectivity and enabled filtering of content, so that creators who want their products to stay on that grid can have that option.

Looking at land area, the numbers are even more dramatic, since the hypergrid offers more renting options for users, as well as the ability to connect their own regions for free. Hypergrid-enabled grids currently account for 94 percent of all OpenSim land area.

Kitely grows market, suffers brief outage

In addition to showing gains in all grid statistics, the Kitely Market continue to grow this month. There were 615 new item variations listed, in more than 200 new products.

Growth in exportable and non-exportable content on the Kitely Market.
Growth in exportable and non-exportable content on the Kitely Market.

Like Amazon and other e-commerce sites, the Kitely Market does not list variations as separate products — multiple colors of the same dress, for example, are grouped together into a single product. Merchants can also offer different payment options, and different permissions — including the ability to take the purchases to different grids.

Today, Kitely offers direct delivery to 160 grids, more than half of all the currently active public OpenSim grids.

But it wasn’t all good news for the grid this month.

The grid was down for a little under three hours on Monday morning, due to problems with its Amazon hosting.

The growing number of regions on the grid caused the system that generates region performance charts to slow down, which in turn caused delays on the storage system the grid database runs on, which in turn slowed down the entire grid, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

“We’ve now disabled this subsystem until we have faster storage or optimize the graph generation,” he said..

Tochner added that the grid’s data was never at risk. There are multiple backups in multiple data centers, he said, and this is the first time that Kitely has had issues with Amazon in years.

OutWorldz releases Dreamworld stats

At the end of August, OutWorldz grid owner Fred Beckhusen released a simple installer for OpenSim called Dreamworld.

Dreamworld makes it easy for individual users, schools, or small companies to install and run a mini OpenSim grid on their own computers, for free.

In the past two weeks, Dreamworld has been downloaded 369 times and is being used to run 40 new mini-grids, Beckhusen told Hypergrid Business, a quarter of which are hypergrid-enabled.

Since these are, for the most part, small private grids that may only be up part-time, they do not show up in our monthly grid stats.

CreaNovale takes time out to decorate for the holidays

The Hypergrid Safari will visit the Novale region on the CreaNovale Grid tomorrow, November 16, between 2 and 3 p.m. Pacific time. Then, starting over the weekend, the grid will close access to Novale for redecorating.

“Novale Autumn season will be terminated and winter will get installed,” said grid owner Nicole Charest, also known as Dabici Straulino in-world. “There is only a few days to come and enjoy the feel of autumn in Quebec.”

Transitions

We added five new grids to our database this month: Proyecto Alebri, Moonlight Grid, Alterworld Grid, Kingdom of Creation, and Virtual Final World.

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.

November 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 1,191 different publicly-accessible grids, 277 of which were active this month, and 205 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. And here is a list of all the hypergrid-enabled grids and their hypergrid addresses, sorted by popularity. This is very useful if you are creating a hyperport.

You can see all the historical OpenSim statistics here — dating all the way back to 2009. Including polls and surveys.

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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