Yes, I know I am coming across as a curmudgeonly harbinger of doom, but I’ve just read an excellent article on Wired on actual traffic numbers for Second Life. To quote from the article:

“Once you put in several hours flailing around learning how to function in Second Life, there isn’t much to do. That may explain why more than 85 percent of the avatars created have been abandoned. Linden’s in-world traffic tally, which factors in both the number of visitors and time spent, shows that the big draws for those who do return are free money and kinky sex. On a random day in June, the most popular location was Money Island (where Linden dollars, the official currency, are given away gratis), with a score of 136,000. Sexy Beach, one of several regions that offer virtual sex shops, dancing, and no-strings hookups, came in at 133,000. The Sears store on IBM’s Innovation Island had a traffic score of 281; Coke’s Virtual Thirst pavilion, a mere 27. And even when corporate destinations actually draw people, the PR can be less than ideal.”

Why does it always come down to online sex? (that was an unfortunate choice of words, but I digress) Anyway, Chris Anderson has also been complaining about his disappointment with the virtual world. For a counter argument, read GigaOM’s list of SL myths.

I have made my opinion clear many times, I happen to agree that SL is over-hyped. As someone used to much better looking virtual worlds, SL’s clunky technology, illogical interface and dated 3D engine are an immediate turn-off. The concept is good, but I think that unless SL banks on its brand and starts from scratch with a new engine, the world will continue to remain empty.


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