OpenSim grids gain users, decorate for the holidays

It may look at first glance that OpenSim numbers went down this month. The total number of region equivalents fell by 8,955 to 72,911, and the number of active users fell by 1,166 to 35,589.

But in fact, grids actually gained both land and users. The discrepancy is due to the fact that a couple of grids that were engaging in questionable practices and manipulation are no longer on our list. Those two grids, between them, accounted for a total of 6,871 regions and 4,311 active users last month. In addition, Virtual Worlds Grid, which reported 991 regions last month, did not have a stats page up this month, and Breath in Freedom, with 97 regions and 569 actives, was down at the time I was collecting the stats.

Without these grids, total region counts are actually up this month by the equivalent of 156 standard regions, and active users up by 3,145.

Total regions, in standard region equivalents, on public OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

These stats do not include most of the grids running on OutWorldz’ DreamGrid distribution of OpenSim, or private company or school grids who used other installers. OutWorldz‘ Fred Beckhusen is currently tracking 2,171 installations of his DreamGrid software, which has seen average monthly growth of 28 percent since January.

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.

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.

You can also add your grid in the stats if it is not being crawled by OutWorldz. OutWorldz also provides OpenSim users with free mesh itemsOARs and free seamless textures that you can download and use on your grids.

Top 25 grids by active users

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.

Top 25 most popular grids this month:

  1. OSgrid: 4,707 active users (HG hg.osgrid.org:80)
  2. DigiWorldz: 1,879 active users (HG login.digiworldz.com:8002)
  3. Virtualife: 1,878 active users (HG hg2.virtualife.cloud:8002)
  4. Tag Grid: 1,786 active users
  5. Metropolis: 1,653 active users (HG hg.metro.land:80)
  6. Kitely: 1,304 active users (HG grid.kitely.com:8002)
  7. Foundation Grid: 1,213 active users (HG gridfoundation.ddns.net:8002)
  8. ZetaWorlds: 1,129 active users (HG hg.zetaworlds.com:80:Welcome)
  9. VartownGrid: 1,043 active users (HG vartown-grid.ddns.net:8002)
  10. Eureka World: 977 active users (HG 54.77.238.20:9000)
  11. Party Destination Grid: 849 active users (HG partydestinationgrid.com:8002)
  12. Exo-Life: 814 active users (HG hg.exo-life.onl:8032)
  13. Discovery Grid: 741 active users (HG discoverygrid.net:8002)
  14. Craft World: 643 active users (HG craft-world.org:8002)
  15. Free Life: 591 active users (HG freelife.outworldz.net:8002)
  16. Neverworld: 510 active users (HG hg.neverworldgrid.com:8002)
  17. Tranquility: 485 active users (HG tranquility-grid.info:8002)
  18. DreamNation: 472 active users
  19. 3rd Rock Grid: 453 active users (HG grid.3rdrockgrid.com:8002)
  20. Dorena’s World: 431 active users (HG dorenas-world.de:8002)
  21. Dynamic Worldz: 407 active users (HG grid.dynamicworldz.com:8002)
  22. Utopia Skye: 407 active users (HG utopiaskyegrid.com:8002)
  23. Pacification Grid: 407 active users (HG grid-pacification.info:8002)
  24. Virtual Dream Grid: 397 active users (HG virtualdream-grid.com:8002)
  25. Freedom Grid: 371 active users (HG freedomgrid.world:8002)

The actives list is based on active, unique 30-day user login numbers that grids report on their stats pages. Those grids that don’t report their numbers might be just as popular, but we wouldn’t know. The active user stats are also used to generate the popular hypergrid destinations list, which is useful if you have a hyperport and want to put up gates to the most popular grids, or include the most popular grids in an in-world directory.

This list is also a good place to start if you want to open up new stores or hold events, or are just looking for places to visit.

I measure active users by counting both local residents and hypergrid visitors. After all, hypergrid visitors attend events and spend money just like anybody else. If I’m looking for a happening grid, I want one with a lot of people on it — and I don’t really care where their home avatar is based. In fact, several grids are encouraging users to have their avatars on other grids, such as Kitely or OSgrid, in order to reduce the load on their own servers. Many grid owners are also increasingly willing to rent land to visitors, and even give free store space and homes to visitors as well. Their money, after all, is just as good.

Yes, this means that people are double-counted, based on all the grids they visit. But they’d also be double-counted if they created new avatars on each grid. So it comes out even in the end, as far as I’m concerned.

Here some information on how and why you should set up a stats page for your grid. Of course, not all grids need a stats page, especially grids that aren’t open to the public, like school grids, private company grids, small family grids, and so on. From prior surveys, this “dark metaverse” of OpenSim grids might actually be bigger than the one we know about, because those grids don’t need to promote themselves, and we never hear about them.

Littlefield Grid gives away turkeys, hosts parties, and more

Littlefield Grid does a lot every year around the holidays and this year is no exception.

On Thanksgiving, the grid is hosting a Turkey Giveaway at the Littlefield Mall, hosted by grid radio station WLFG, Dr. Johnny Fever and Les Nesman, starting at 3 a.m. Pacific Time. There’s a giveaway every hour on the hour.

The hypergrid address is lfgrid.com:8002:Littlefield.

Then at 6 a.m. Pacific Time — and continuing all day — there’s a family Thanksgiving dinner on the Stonehaven region, hypergrid address lfgrid.com:8002:Stonehaven.

After dinner, there will be a dance party at the Speakeasy Dance Club at 8 p.m. with DJ Walter Balazic, hypergrid address
lfgrid.com:8002:Speakeasy.

Littlefield has also set up its Christmas Island region for the season, and it will be open to the public from Friday, November 29, through January 5, with skating, sleigh rides, Santa’s Workshop, and more.

“This year Littlefield Grid has decided to add a special Christmas Shopping area to our Christmas Island region,” grid owner Walter Balazic told Hypergrid Business.

Visitors can pick up free Christmas-themed goodies, including Christmas trees, indoor and outdoor decorations, and home furnishings.

The hypergrid address is lfgrid.com:8002:Christmas Island.

Christmas Island. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

Littlefield Grid will also be hosting Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.

On Christmas Eve, December 24 at 9 p.m. Pacific Time, there will be a dance party hosted by DJ Walter Balazic on the Christmas Island region, with party favors, free Christmas items, bonfires, sleigh rides, Santa’s Castle, and more. The following day, there will also be a Christmas party, on December 25, at 8 p.m. Pacific Time, on the same region.

Then the grid will hold a New Year’s Eve 2020 Formal Dance Party starting at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on December 31, hosted by DJ Walter Balazic, with dancing, drinks, food, party favors, free gowns and tuxedos for all guests, and a ball drop at midnight Pacific Time.

The hypergrid address is lfgrid.com:8002:New Years Island.

Tag Grid holds Black Friday land sale, Thanksgiving party, Toys for Tots fundraiser

Tag Grid, the most popular OpenSim grid that’s not on the hypergrid, reported 22,856 product listings on its Tag Grid Marketplace this month, an increase of 1,290 compared to last month.

The grid is also celebrating Thanksgiving Thursday on the Early Misty region, with a dance starting at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

Tag is also offering a Black Friday land sale, with half-off of new full-size region rentals.

Tag will also be raising money for the Toys for Tots charity this holiday season. The kick-off party for the two-week-long fundraiser is at noon Pacific Time on Friday, Dec. 6, on the T4T region with a “Best in Red” costume contest hosted by DJ Matt. Then Quiz Master Matt will run a general knowledge quiz at 2 p.m. the same day.

Great Canadian Grid turns six

The Great Canadian Grid turned six years old on Saturday, November 23.

“Wow, eh, six years,” grid owner and founder Roddie Macchi told Hypergrid Business, speaking in Canadian.

The grid is known for its packed music calendar and its close community feel. Most recently, it made the news for its decision to cap land sales.

As of January 1, existing customers will be able to rent additional regions, but regions will no longer be rented to new customers.

Encore Escape re-enacts Woodstock, raises money for Toys for Tots

“The grid is looking a lot like Christmas already,” Encore Escape president and COO Rocky Hillburton told Hypergrid Business.

In addition to getting spruced up for the holidays, the grid is also sprucing up for a music festival.

“We are having another re-enactment of Woodstock starting December 6,” said Hillburton.

The event starts at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, Dec. 6 and will end at noon on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Then, the following weekend, the grid will host a benefit for Toys for Tots in Virginia.

The fundraiser will start at 11 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, Dec. 14 and will run through 8 p.m., wiht performers from live musicians and DJs including DJ Country Bob, DJ Strummer, Austin Moores, Krisie Snowdrop, Paul Nowles, Belinda and Troy Portland, Dixy and GreenGemini Dreamscape, DJ Marshal and Potlatch Foggarty.

“All performers will be donating their time and all tips and donations will go directly to Toys for Tots,” said Hillburton.

Kroatan and Kiwo grids join up on Advent calendar

Kroatan Grid has been holding an Advent Calendar event on its region Eternal Ice for several years now.

But this year, the event is being held jointly with KiWo Grid, with a new gift each day on alternate grids, on the Eternal Ice region on Kroatan and the Season region on KiWo.

The hypergrid addresses are kroatan.de:8002:eternal ice and kikiandwollex.de:8002:season.

“We start December 1 on Eternal Ice,” said Kroatan owner Bink Draconia. “On December 2, the Advent gift is on Season in KiWo. On December 3, Eternal Ice again… The last gift is December 24 on KiWo.”

Each of the two winter regions has an identical observatory building on it, each with 24 cubes — 12 with gifts, and 12 with landmarks to the other location.

 

Tranquility holds Thanksgiving Party, Black Friday land sale

On Thanksgiving, Tranquility Grid will hold a Thanksgiving party at 4 p.m. Pacific on The Pier region, hypergrid address tranquility-grid.info:8002:the pier.

Then, on Friday, the grid will cut region prices in half for its Black Friday sale, with a full 20,000-prim region for just $4.50 a month.

Winter magic. (Image courtesy Tranquility Grid.)

Virtuality Grid holds reopening party

Virtuality Grid has been moving the grid to new servers and code base, and will hold its reopening party at the Fox Club Arena on the La Folle Isola region on Friday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

The hypergrid address is login.virtualitygrid.com:La Folle Isola.

“Virtuality is now using the code Avination was on and we are hypergrid enabled,” grid founder Candi Infiniti told Hypergrid Business. “Our script and physics engines are upgraded. New regions, ordered after avatar creation, are brought online automatically, within minutes. Estates, region names and positions are chosen by the member during the ordering process.”

The new login URI for viewers is: login.virtualitygrid.com.

The grid will also hold a formal Christmas ball on the Northpole region on Saturday, Dec. 21 starting at 10 a.m. with DJ Tomi, DJ Johnny and DJ Kirsten.

The hypergrid address is login.virtualitygrid.com:Northpole.

Northpole region on Virtuality Grid. (Image courtesy Virtuality Grid.)

Discovery Grid opens winter market

Discovery Grid is opening a pop-up market with a winter theme. The Virtual Seattle Winter Market 2019 opens on Dec. 7 and will run through Jan. 7, 2020.

There will be ice skating at the skating rink, carousel rides, bumper skis, and more than two dozen creators from around the grid.

The hypergrid address is discoverygrid.net:8002:Seattle.

The market kicks off with a Santana cover band concert on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Sunday, Dec. 14, there will be a Rockin’ the Blues party from 6 to 9 p.m., Pacific Time, with several DJs.

DJ Moonie will host a dance party on Monday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. Pacific Time at the skating rink, and the skating rink will also be the site of a Classic Rock night on Christmas Eve.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, the grid will host a musical event on the Virtual Seattle region, with DJ Jeff Jeff Edwards, DJ Kith Whitehawk and DJ Astoria.

Seattle region on Discovery Grid. (Image courtesy Discovery Grid.)

“The Fall Pop Up Market was very successful,” Discovery Grid marketing manager Harmony Beningborough told Hypergrid Business. “We are expecting larger participation this time around.”

Tangle Grid holds Winter Expo

Tangle Grid‘s sixth annual Winter Expo starts Sunday, Dec. 1, and will run through Jan. 13, 2020.

The expo is fully accessible to hypergrid visitors at tanglegrid.net:8002:expo isle.

Visitors will be able to get freebie items, and also purchase content using the Gloebit currency.

Read the full story here.

Winter Expo on Tangle Grid. (Image courtesy Tangle Grid.)

Top 40 grids by land area

The list below is a small subset of existing OpenSim grids. We are now tracking a total of 1,472 different publicly-accessible grids, 312 of which were active this month, and 242 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. 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, including polls and surveys, dating all the way back to 2009.

Below are the 40 largest grids by total land area, in terms of standard region equivalents.

Am I missing anything? Did I get anything wrong? Email me at [email protected].

And please do forgive the lateness of this report. I was called out of town for a family medical emergency. Which, luckily, turned out not to be! Whew!

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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