How big is Second Life?

It’s this big (as of November 2008):


The map comes from this site and you can download the full 13MB version to get a better understanding of the magnitude of Second Life.

We’ve featured maps of the Second Life grid before, and they’re useful to reinforce the scope of virtual worlds. Those who haven’t spent time in a large world have no concept of their size and complexity until shown something 2D like the map above. Combine it with a brief tour of Second Life and the penny starts to drop.

Back in November 2007, Second Life was roughly the size of two Wagga Waggas at nearly 900 square km- it’s grown a lot since then to 1871 square km, which isn’t that far off the size of the Australian Capital Territory at 2400 square km. That should also help provide some mental imagery for the skeptic.

Thanks to New World Notes for the heads-up

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

Note: Philip Rosedale stepping down from the CEO position at Linden Lab is a dominant story in the news at present, which we’ve covered here.

1. BBC News – Virtual world for virtually Irish. “The world likes to drown the shamrock at this time of year, and for the first time plastic paddies can really get in on the act. Tourism Ireland is hosting a virtual St Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday in the internet world of Second Life (SL).”

2. Al Bawaba – eGames Targets Tourism & Education. “With e-Learning on the rise, the search is still very much on for the most effective way of delivering online courses, and encouraging interaction between participants at a distance. Second Life (, is the newest, hottest thing in the online teaching world suggests David Wortley, Director, Serious Games Institute, Coventry University and presenter at Knowledge Oasis Muscat’s (KOM) annual eGames Conference (31 March – 1 April, Muscat Hall, KOM). Wortley will deliver two presentations at the eGames Conference that will consider the opportunities offered by Second Life to education, tourism, heritage and culture.”

3. The Daily Telegraph (UK) – Virtual vogue: Second Life wardrobes. “Who pays real money for unreal clothes? Enough people to make digital dressing-up big business. But is virtual fashion just another teenage craze or is it the end of clothes shopping as we know it?”

4. The Times Online (UK) – Has the internet killed jobs fairs? “THE recruitment fair seems to have gone the way of the dodo, the zeppelin and the space hopper. Its moment seems to have passed. Caroline Weeks, head of delivery recruitment at BT Global Services, rather misses the old recruitment fairs where companies used their collective power to lure candidates to meet them face-to-face.”

5. Science Daily – Real And Virtual Pendulums Swing As One In Mixed Reality State. “Using a virtual pendulum and its real-world counterpart, scientists at the University of Illinois have created the first mixed reality state in a physical system. Through bidirectional instantaneous coupling, each pendulum “sensed” the other, their motions became correlated, and the two began swinging as one.”

6. The Brown Daily Herald – Donahue ’11 cashes in as virtual arms dealer. “Before setting foot on Brown’s campus, Evan Donahue ’11 made thousands of dollars creating weapons to summon damned souls and create rifts in space-time fabric to suck in adversaries. The weapons systems were for the virtual world of Second Life, a popular online role-playing game. But the money – more than $20,000 – was very real.”

7. The Bangkok Post – Socializing goes big in 2008. “Enhanced collaboration and Web 2.0 tools, such as social networking, will continue to be integral components across Asian businesses in 2008, say industry analysts. Claus Mortensen, principal for emerging technology research, digital marketplace and new media at IDC, predicts that more companies in Asia will create and maintain corporate profiles on social network sites.”

8. The Huffington Post – All Politics is Virtual. “Will the next election season’s big caucus battle look like a videogame? Web strategist Michael Whitney recently revealed the contents of a Hilary Clinton campaign survey on the Huffington Post, and among the usual questions about political leanings and election contributions was this seemingly odd query: Which of the following have you visited or played online?”

9. Wired – AI-Based Virtual Child Plays in Second Life. “This is how it always begins in the movies. Some well-meaning scientist-geeks create an artificial intelligence, and set it loose to see how it learns and behaves. Next thing we know, he’s taken over the nuke launchers and threatens humanity unless someone brings him an ice cream cone. In this case, the AI was built at Rensselaer Polytechnic, and gets to play in the Second Life MMORPG.”

10. The Australian Financial Review (subscription only) – Aussies lose interest in Second Life. “Australian usage of much-hyped free virtual world Second Life has not returned to highs experienced in mid-2007, according to data released by the system’s US-based publisher Linden Lab.”

Australians in Second Life Update – stagnant as she goes

Linden Lab have released their latest set of metrics through to the end of January 2008. The metrics show that the Australian active user population is 10,885, up marginally from last month’s 10,644. Australia remains at its long-standing 11th position in the world, with 2% of the overall active user population.

The lack of growth is becoming a longer term issue and it’s natural to wonder what the impact of ongoing glitches and lag (due to no local SL servers) is having. What do you think?

Australians in Second Life Update – down again

Second Life metrics to the end of December are now available and from an Australian perspective there’s been a significant drop in active users – 10,644 is the number cited, down from 11,982 in November and a long way under the fifteen thousand of mid-2007.

Australia maintains its position as 11th in terms of worldwide active users. Given there’s record concurrency (number of users online at the one time), why the sustained drop off in numbers?

Australians in Second Life Update – steady as she goes

The November economic statistics are available and it shows an active Australian Second Life population of 11,982, a whole seven more the September figure of 11,975 (Linden Lab didn’t release anything for October until the update today).

Once again Australia remains in 11th place world-wide, which is 2.21% of the overall vatar count. Given that this time last year the population explosion was well under way, it’s fair to say that things are stagnating a little from the Australian perspective. The Xmas / New Year break may lead to some more sign-ups or we may end up with more of the same. Have we reached saturation point in Australia? I wouldn’t have thought so but the argument that it’s seasonal is getting tenuous given the period of time it’s been going on.

Update: New World Notes has an interesting discussion on the plateau phase Second Life has reached.

19,20,21 – our future

This is a fascinating site discussing the challenges the world faces with population growth – it’s hard to work out the underlying ideology of it but there’s an obvious business connection. Worth a loook even if just from a design viewpoint.

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