Second Life, Bigger Than WoW?


Former Second Life staffer Rueben Steiger crunches the numbers on Second Life’s growth, and figures that if the current rate of 22% monthly growth continues, there will be 3.6 million Second Lifers by July 2007. Slower growth, say 10% every month, will still bring the total number to Second Life to about 936,000 residents. GigaOM contributing writer Wagner James Au goes further and estimates that by 2008, Second Life could eclipse World of Warcraft in terms of users.

Now there are some problems with the math – it is taking a very short term trend and extrapolating it over an extended period of time, the kind of stuff which got Web 1.0 forecasters in trouble. I wonder how much the popularity and user base of WoW will grow over the same period. Interesting debate unfolding here, here and here.



Title is misleading. MMORPGs (or massively mutliplayer anything-3d) are very hard to execute and scale to that size, especially in a non-instanced environment. WoW was done by a company that knew how to execute time after time and had a huge following to start. I don’t think SL will get that big that soon.
For one, their userbases may not overlap all that much, given that gamers will look down on SL’s performance, graphics, and lack of clear game rules. Because of that you can’t necessarily assume gamers will hop on over – a subset will, mainly those looking for the interactions SL provides. This may or may not be a huge segment. Also, the number to track is concurrent users, not those with free accounts.

Two, it remains to be seen how the non-instanced world scales. My experiences on SL is that the service is often very slow due to extremely high bandwidth and server computing requirements. My limited understanding of their server infrastructure would say this may not be easy to solve without better resource pooling. This is completely aside from bandwidth concerns on the user side, and potential community scaling issues (how does the world respond as it gets bigger? do more people live farther away?) Aside from any content or people they interact with, the user experience still needs some work; people have a lot of choices for virtual worlds to dip their toes in these days.

SL is an awesome new form of interaction with a lot of possibility, but that many users that soon? I’d say the 10% metric is more on spot, but with concurrent users much lower (say 25-50k peak)


I think whats more important to this trend is that SL and WoW both have intricate economic dimensions which are making true $$$$.. so cyberspace is somehow morphing itself into a revenue generation bucket by its users itself !!

I am tracking some darn good shiping systems within these 2 worlds.. all I can is being made there !!

where ?? somewhere in cyberspace in WoW and SL


Second Life has been around for quite some time to lackluster adoption. It will be replaced by a pure AJAX-based virtual world like Hive7 or something along those lines…

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