People Slowly Notice Second Life Hype And Actual Users Aren't To Scale

from the foamy-mouthed-adoration dept

The on-line virtual world of Second Life has long been a mainstream technology media darling, thanks in large part to their public relations team, who masterfully convince reporters to gush in foamy-mouthed adoration every time a fairly banal virtual event occurs. While there was some interesting discussion to be had at first concerning things like virtual economies and on-line sociology, it quickly became clear that the concept was more PR vessel than sociological revolution. While news outlets were pre-occupied with the project’s supposed contribution to mainstreaming virtual reality, the real breakthroughs being made by Second Life were in self-promotion. The more Second Life is talked about, the more people seem to notice that the number of people playing the game really isn’t all that impressive. As this is written, the virtual world’s website notes there’s a fairly paltry (if we hold them to self-proclaimed slack-jawed phenomenon standards) 17,266 users currently on-line. While it’s hard to accurately determine churn, it appears the vast majority of the virtual world’s lauded 1.8 million “residents,” really just stopped by briefly to see what all the noise was about before returning to World of Warcraft. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with ten thousand users having a good time and establishing community, the amount of lofty cultural pontification simply isn’t to scale.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “People Slowly Notice Second Life Hype And Actual Users Aren't To Scale”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

While it’s hard to accurately determine churn, it appears the vast majority of the virtual world’s lauded 1.8 million “residents,” really just stopped by briefly to see what all the noise was about before returning to World of Warcraft.

100% accurate. I actually spent more time downloading, installing, and uninstalling that I spent checking the vsecond life world out. The entire interface just felt clunky to me, and there was no immediate goal or objective after the orientation program to keep me moving along.

MrGutts says:

Gotta be kidding me

Secondlife is a damn joke. it’s training wheels for a idiot.

It’s just like AOL for joining up for the big bad internet for the very first time ever.. I bet if you take a poll, most of the people would be AOLer’s, the same ones that are click happy with spam mail and are to scared to leave so they pay out the arse for some crap service.


Good morning

J says:

I actually signed up and was accepted for beta testing …. even then I realized that it was a complete junk and the interface was horrible.The world at the time was very basic structures and bunch of role playing sex nerds, from most recent screen shots it seems the same.

I still get emails from SL telling me I need to activate my free account as the prize for taking part in the beta.


Anonymous Coward says:

Its crap, for the reasons cited above. I tried it for all of 3 days before uninstalling it. Never actually paid them a dime.

You know you can buy land for $1000 USD? Yeah, virtual land for 1000 dollars. How exciting. And then once you buy it, its just a square of ocean. You have to put in more hours building the land you bought than I work in a week.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the interface wasn’t clunky and the game itself wasn’t laggy as hell. How come I can play EQ2 and WoW without lag, but Second Life, the game with the crappiest graphics of the three, lags like a sonofabitch?

The only good thing I found in my entire 3 days of trying out second life was that the Uninstaller had a very nice interface, and completed its task very quickly.

The Original Just Me says:

Craptastic UI and Lack of People

I recently tried SL for about 3 weeks. I took a lot of object creation/prim manipulation classes, got a little involved in Space CoLab (NASA Ames Research Lab project), usually attended at least one live concert or DJ event each day I logged in, and generally tried to participate and find people to hang out with.

But the entire freaking time I was in there I was frustrated by the 1980’s control scheme (no joystick support?!??!) and lack of people. At the times I was logging in I frequently saw the same group of maybe 50 people everywhere I went. I attribute this to there being nothing to do, so people gravitated to the one or two events going on that evening.

In short, while I heard some good tunes and met a couple of nice people, I was bored out of my noggin. At of this writing I still have the software, and might drop in very occasionlly for a live concert, I doubt I’ll continue to be active.

Oh, they seem to be having a lot of crashes and that’s a major buzzkill.

Sick of this crap says:

Sheesh, we’ve got enough problems to deal with in the real world. Why the heck do we think we need ridiculous fake online worlds too? Playing a game once in a while for entertainment is fine, but when it becomes an integral part of your life, something is seriously wrong. I suggest you stay grounded in reality, people. Trust me, you’ll be better off for it. When you turn off WoW, everything you accomplished there is utterly meaningless in the real world.

I personally would much rather hang out with some real-life friends or family and build relationships that actually mean something. I learned a long time ago that the sense of accomplishment when you win a video game is so shallow that it’s simply not worth my time anymore. I still fire up my PS2 once in a while when a friend is over, but then I’m playing for fun, not for just trying to win some stupid game. I have a few online friends, but I will never get into online gaming. I think if people focused more on “offline” gaming with real people, we’d all be better off.

Keddren says:

Snow Crash it ain't

I came into SL after being told it was like the novel Snow Crash realized.

It was interesting for a while. I put up with the lag, poor frame rate, crashes, furries, and the lol cocks dicks lol attitude for about as long as I could while trying to manipulate prims and models with their horrible, horrible creation system. I quit after about a month or so.

The game is plagued by its users and its shockingly inferior hardware. Hopefully, someone else will be able to do the concept more justice and Linden Labs has.

Karoiljn says:

Snow Crash

Snow Crash was the first thing I thought of when I saw it too. Except not nearly as cool.

I remember a similar program about 5 years ago (maybe it was on of SL’s earlier incarnations?) that was promoted as a 3D avatar chat. I used it once. This seems just as lame.

When was the last time people went into a ‘chat room’ just for the sake of interacting? How is a clunky 3D, soon-to-be ad-saturated interface going to change that?

Maybe I didn’t spend enough time with it to get the point, but I deleted it in less than an hour and don’t miss it.

Happy SL Resident says:

To quote RFK quoting Bertrand Russel “Some people see things as they are and ask why; I see things as they are not and ask why not”

Why would you all dump on a new and emerging platform in such a petty way? No technology is ever perfect in the beginning. I could imagine Radio or TV being blasted in the same manner if blogs existed back when.

The point is that there are people who are finding SL an extraordinary experience, although not perfect. Granted, there is a lot of junk there, but there are also artists with imagination and skill creating beautiful worlds and narratives.

SL is an expansive communal experiment in imagination . . . something the real world sorely needs and has been without for a long, long time.

Snarl says:

Re: Second Life

I have been a resident since early this year and in the beginning, the world was filled with some very interesting people. As time went on, and the limitless free account system was put into place, the quality of the residents dropped dramatically… into nothing more than a collection of retards on a short bus with no driver.

New? Innovative? Not really. Alpha World was around back in the 90s and was a very similar environment. The novelty wears off.

Lastly, I would say that Second Life is lacking a purpose. World of Warcraft, while often a “leveling grind,” does provide a reason to log on and play for a couple hours (quests, auction house, etc). Whereas Second Life doesn’t. It is really just a 3-D Instant Messanger.

The bottom line: Second Life is a novelty – amusing and mildly entertaining, but I too think that if it is to survive, more strict account creation rules and a more stable codebase would be necessary in the least.

Lovin' SL says:

Re: Second Life

I couldn’t have said it better than “Happy SL Resident”!

The interesting thing about Second Life is that it is created entirely by its residents. If you all would stick around longer than a half hour, you might discover some of the more amazing sims, such as The Gardens of Apollo” or “Nakima”. For those who have actual talent, there is real world money to be made!

For me, I enjoy dropping in for random entertainment and conversation. It’s not my life – but it does provide fantastic entertainment! I’ll put up with the lag and updates as long as necessary.

SailorAlphaCentauri says:

I'm surprised...

that it took this long to realize that SL doesn’t deserve all the attention it receives. I looked at it but knew it wasn’t something for me so I left it alone, but what bothers me is how people talk about this as if they have WoW numbers. Many businesses and libraries have jumped on the SL bandwagon to try to be the first ones to get in on something they believed is truly revolutionary, but I’m not sure that this is the venue to tout in getting a wider audience.

Chaduke says:

You get out what you put in

Second Life works very well for those who are creative and energetic.

It does not work well for those who are simply looking to be entertained and having to put forth minimal effort in the process. It wasn’t designed for that purpose and it’s senseless to compare it to games.

The entire world of Second Life is designed by its userbase and is completely dynamic. The 3D world including the models and textures as well as sounds, music and video are streamed to the end user in real time.

This is completely different than having about 4 gigs of professionally designed artwork sitting on your hard drive to be loaded in by the game like MMORPGs do (eg WoW, Everquest).

Of course you’re going to think it “lags” and the interface is “clunky”. Given the complexity of what this program is doing I’m amazed that it works as well as it does.

I can understand if you give it an honest try and later decide its not your thing at this point. That’s pretty much what I did. I still have a high degree of respect for the project though, and will continue to follow it because it has an enourmous amount of potential.

Stephen G says:


I remember back in 2003 trying to determine if Skype had legs — millions of downloads, but the Skype client kept saying just “50,000 (simultaneous) users”, then a few months later it grew to 80,000, but nothing compared to its potential.

But look at it today. Here are their subscriber numbers:

lol says:


If you have a decent pc and a decent connection. secondlife runs smooth as a dream. and since when was this designed as a “game” its even stated that secondlife IS NOT A GAME. its a development platform. which is not only more advanced than anything before it due to the scripting and partical system. its also become a base for things such as e-learning with entire courses run by London University done using second life.

Stop trying to make it something it isnt. then whining like girls when its not.

Signore Iredell (user link) says:

another happy SL user.

I 100% agree with Chaduke. And I just cannot believe so many people posted comments here saying
“I played 10 minutes and it doesn’t work” or
“I did not even play with it but it sucks”.

However YES, mainstream media is making lots of hype about it.
Now the hype-against-it phase is coming.

Going back to Second Life now. It’s definitevely interesting for me.

-sorry for bad english

programmer says:

first impression


I logged in to SL just to see how building and scripting works. I was planning to do serious scripting based on translation of some code I already own.

I realized that lagging, and server crashes and/or client crashes make the whole experience unpleasant and I can program and earn money in other way.

Sorry folks, improve your design and scripting language support and get rid of lags then maybe I will come back.

bye, bye for a moment,
disapointed user.

RichDesoto (user link) says:

Works for My Promotion and Marketing

I joined Second Life to get involved with existing podcasting and musician communities. I never have considered it “a game” (those who do and don’t like it SHOULD look elsewhere for their gaming addictions). I have always considered it a great opportunity to network with other like-minded persons and to build a new listenership and client-base for both my music and my new media productions. It has definitely served my purposes this way. I have more and more listeners to my shows, more and more CD sales, and more and more opportunities to reach out to a world wide audience in real time than I have seen in any other medium.

Works for me. If you want to experience “gaming” Second Life is not that. Don’t compare it to WOW, they are two entirely different vehicles to drive.

Does it lack purpose? Depends on what your perspective of its use might be, I suppose. It has plenty of “effective and efficient” purpose for my use.

Kendall Flanagan says:

It's not a game

I think a lot of people login expecting SL to be a game. It’s more like a big virtual dollhouse or sandbox. It’s more like The Sims than like Everquest, except there’s no points or true objective. I have a lot of fun exploring, shopping, and meeting people. I learn new things every day about building, scripting, textures, and I’m planning on starting my own business. How cool is that?

WSLWCD says:

SL is trash (for some people like me)

It’s an online brothel. It’s disgusting, boring as heck and full of whores – particularly the Gorean role players I’ve seen so far. I do agree it is not a game, lacks a purpose (for certain people, I read all the comments) but you can create your own HP bar and “die” but I rather play an actual game and actually game over. You SL Lovers can say whatever you want to my comments, I really don’t care. I will not change my mind about SL and I assume you SL Lovers will not either. It is crap because most of the people in there are crap and yes, you SL Lovers can call me crap too, because I know it!

Not Saying says:

I play sl because i have always wanted to make buildings and things but i picked a skill in rl that does not allow for that and so when i found sl it was like, ooh a game with no point 😀
But in order to build stuff you need a little land so you can build and then leave the thing there without thinking about it for days weeks or months, but to do that youre gonna have to pay real money for fake land that sucks,

so i sell the buildings i make which are kinda nice, and i keep to myself, and stay low key.

the amount of freaks in there is annoying, im a chick, and one reason why i was gonna leave was because i got sick of the holier than the penis, lezbo chicks who think that NO is some sort of invitation to be “friends” i dont dislike gay chicks, i just dont want to be one EVER im a girl and i get on my own dang nerves so why the heck would i want some broad around who dresses and tries to act like a guy with NONE of the perks guys come with

and i dont want to be a dang furry, not every furry gets it on with their furry head on, but seriously bestiality is not cute and not normal i got myself some wings and kitty ears cause they were cute,in the beginning but stopped wearing the kitty ears because it freaked me out to see the kind of disgusting stuff people were doing to all animals in there, its like a dog cant just be a dang dog!

Reboot (user link) says:

Has Potential

Im currently playing this game along with a game called “There”.

I have a fairly decent machine, i play Team Fortress 2 and Quake 4 etc.. with no problems, also There runs pretty well.

Second Life on the other hand:

I really like the user based worlds, and some of the people are really interesting. Right now I spend 90% of my time at Mouse World, its a Disneyland in SL that is really amazing.

The Interface is pretty simple to get used too, but the lag, i just cant take it! I cant figure out why it lags, ive set everything to minimum, and i think it made it lag more, lol.

Im sure its lagging because of the constant upgrades, updates, and modifications being done in-game, but jeez, I havent seen SL run smooth on anyones computers.

Ive even watched a tv show were full time SL players are running with lag, lol.

All in all, its a neat game, not original, ive played alot of Social game long before this was out.

I may keep it for a few more weeks. I been playing for a week.

Vicious Cycle says:

First off Sl is not a boring shooter game.SL is a Metaverse.It is a opportunity for those with a creative mind to create in a digital world,If you know nothing about Graphics this is not the world for you when it comes to content creation,If you don’t know basic algebra not the place you may want to come and start building and maybe you should take some courses in school with your free time anyway.There are many other outlets for creation as well including LSL scripting and Animation Creation.For those with a Creative mind SL is a place for you.For those that want to sit and play a shooter that someone else created For them that was the same as the last great shooter out there This is not the place for you.As for groups of Goreans,Furry’s and extremly horny homosexuals go according to (notsaying) oh and btw there are just as many horny straight people as well (notsaying).Most of these groups have there own islands they have created in SL and pretty much stick there SO my thought is you must have been looking for these things to run into them so frequently.Anyway such is life SL is what YOU make of it nobody is making it for you! if your looking to hang out and meet people and just talk and chit chat great easily done a million places to do that that are busy.If your i guess your the really horny guty ir gal that wants to get some there are lots of places like that to and if your just a creative Guru its a mecca for you.SL is a reflection of reality in many cases taken to teh extreme and so what its the the users business not yours anyway.So if your a narrow minded windbag SL is clearly not the place for you.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...