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Metaverse08: Jean Miller (Linden Lab) about Understanding the Business of Virtual Worlds

Jean Miller’s topic was businesses in virtual worlds and in particular the statistics, the hype cycle, how Linden Lab is taking a look at the product and how they are trying to provide that to the public.

The basics: It’s no game but they have games, it’s about User Generated Content and it’s about community.


>8.7 million users have logged in (US=26.2%, Germany = 8.4%) since start. Average Age is 33.2M & 32.7F. Germany actually is the second biggest community after the US.

For more uptodate information look at the Economics Stats page.

Here are some stats for April 2008:

  • Active Users US: 189,640, Germny 42,204, 516,154 world total
  • % of Total Active: 36,8%, Germany 8,2%, 29,069,684 world total
  • Hours spent: 11,073,854 for US, 2,848,377 for Germany
  • % of Total Hours: 38.1%, Germany: 9.8%
  • Avg.Hrs/User: 58.4% for US, 67.5% Germany, 56.3% world total

She then talked a bit about the Hype Cycle stating that Linden Lab thinks that they are on the rise again and thus being now at the start of the Slope of Enlightenment.

The Second Life Gardner Hype Cycle

b is for business

She mentioned some companies which are still staying in Second Life while others quit but might come back.

Events not only count in traffic on your island, it can also be measured in trackbacks to blog posts, comments there and mentioning it elsewhere. Companies are also realizing now that they are in an interactive environment and users can tell them what they want and need (if you want to).

Businesses also realize that there is a cross functional engagement, like setting up meeting environments, doing emergency training etc.

Most interesting for Jean has been things done for the public goods. You can easier work together with organizations somewhere else in the world (first big example was certainly Relay For Life).


These are some of the regularly quotes:

  • „We are just at the beginning“
  • „Payment issues are a showstopper now“
  • „You have to emphasize arts and education“
  • „Big German companies showed interest but wanted to wait… we’re at a loss…“
  • „3 of the 4 agencies we work for have SL plans for 2008“
  • „You don’t have an office in the country where you’ve had the second largest community for over a year now,“
  • „We need more people on one region“
  • „You need to improve search“

As for more people on a sim she said that will be an issue with communications as people will say „Hi.“. A lot.

global development platform

She asked if we are aware of the differences between „Second Life“ and „Second Life Grid“. Nobody in the audience understood it and Jean mentioned that even inside Linden Lab they had to explain the differences to each other.

Second Life Grid is about the Creation and Communication Tools and the System Architecture. It’s the technical backend. These tools are targeted at solution providers and educators or businesses.

Second Life is the community. This is These are users which are coming in from all over the world not necessarily doing business or education. The tools of the SLG will support this part. This one is community based, the SLG is about the tools.

I am not sure it made things clearer but clear in the audience was that calling it so similar is not a good idea.

Programs on the way

  • Business Relationship Program (Best Practice Information etc. allowing Businesses at least have some relationship with Linden Lab)
  • Solution Preferred Provider Program (method in order for Linden Lab and others to rank solution providers. These are the recommended businesses)
  • Community Gateway Program (allowing to choose communities by login (I think), it’s in beta for 1 year now. Parts of this are the 3rd party orientation islands etc.)
  • Global/Country Provider Program (if there is a project which is important for one country or global then this program can help. Examples here are Brazil or Korea.)

(Not all program names have been decided upon, some program names are placeholders, more information will be given in the future).

what’s coming

Many things since the last talk have been finished or are closed to, like Windlight, German relaunch, Land Store, Havok 4, Mono.

What’s coming is:

  • Web services
  • International servers
  • Architecture Working Group
  • Interoperability Services

The Land Store

Ethan Linden then took over to talk about the Land Store. With the new land store you now can get an island delivered instantly. Before that it was usually 1 week or 10 days for educational islands. With the new land store it’s super easy, etc. (pitch ;-).

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