On Wednesday 19th December Linden Lab published their end of year key accomplishments and new feature highlights for 2018 which is pretty interesting to read through. The lab have added some useful statistics in the blog post on money (pay outs), hours spent inworld, daily chat messages, daily concurrency and virtual goods.
Official 2018 Statistics
- Residents spent an estimated 336 million hours inworld
- 50 million+ chat messages daily
- Daily concurrency rates remain stable
- $65 million was paid out to Residents
- Over 5 million virtual goods for sale on the Second Life Marketplace
- This active population helped keep the Second Life economy healthy in 2018
The lab have seen some growth in the overall land market including increases in the land ownership, more region owners, more parcel owners, more group owned land and more regions on the grid.
It’s great to see the lab publishing positive growth statistics on the Second Life official blog and to see the Second Life economy doing well is most welcome news.
2018: a look back at the year gone by
Celebrating 15 years of Second Life
Second Life recently turned 15 and, to mark the occasion, the community held a jam-packed SL15B celebration across several crystal-themed sims. In addition, Linden Lab organized several birthday events including MusicFest and an ambitious Shopping Event. Relive the highlights in the SL15B Flickr feed. So… is anyone ready for SL16B yet?
Reduction in land costs
What a way to start the year! Early in 2018, we announced a 10 percent reduction in Mainland costs and doubled the Mainland allotment for Premium members. Then, in July we continued to reduce costs by lowering monthly maintenance fees on Private Estates by up to 15% with one-time land setup fees reduced by as much as 41%. As a result, land is now more affordable than ever!
Performance updates and new features
As part of our commitment to improving Second Life, we announced plans for 15 enhancements and features on our product road-map. Many of these improvements are already in place or are close to completion, while work continues to perfect additional enhancements and features for 2019.
We’ve started making significant improvements to Marketplace including the introduction of many long-requested features, such as wishlists and tracking your favorite sellers (with a feed of their most recent items). We also added more categories to the Marketplace:Animated Objects, Gachas, Anthropomorphic, and a dedicated anime community, too.
Estate Owners also saw improvements to the Land Manager page including web-based region restarts. There is also an Estate Access Management Release Candidate Viewer, which simplifies many Estate Management tasks, including ban list improvements. It will be making its way to the default release soon.
Speaking of land … there is the overhaul for Auctions with several key improvements and a serious facelift – and we’ll soon add the ability for Residents to create Auctions to sell the land that they own.
In November, we unveiled the long-anticipated debut of Animesh, which allows independent objects to use rigged mesh and animations. We’re already starting to see some creative ways to take advantage of Animesh. This new “dancing Santa” from Blow Up is an Animesh companion, which can follow you around and even dance with you as you celebrate the holidays in Second Life. Or for you. Santa is cool with whatever.
Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)
The Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), is a series of new customizations in the environment rendering system (also known as Windlight). Soon, you will be able to create and share even more advanced environment settings including up to four different sky layers which can be set independently. Check out this preview video that shows early testing on the Second Life Beta grid from Resident Silas Merlin:
Testing also continues for Bakes on Mesh, a new feature that allows system avatar baked textures to be shown on mesh attachments. We’re hoping this will help us all ditch some of those avatar onion layers in the new year.
Fans of Linden Realms new and old saw not one, but two updates in 2018. A limited-time and dramatic update Linden Realms: The Wrath of Ruth soon gave way to its full-featured successor Linden Realms: The Search for Magellan.
We also introduced the new Swaginator with two ambitious seek-and-find events. As part of our SL15B event, we created 15 limited-edition gifts for a Birthday Gift Grab grid-wide hunt that extended over a whopping 15 weeks! More recently, we held the Winter Swaginator Hunt which included five hidden gifts created exclusively for holiday hunters. There were also numerous exclusive shopping and community events, which are always a blast! Look out for the traditional Snowball Fight.
Here are the interesting insights into General and Mature-rated places and items:
TOP MARKETPLACE CATEGORIES 2018 (by Web Traffic)
1. Apparel (General)
2. Women’s Apparel
3. Avatar Accessories
4. Home & Garden
5. Complete Avatars
6. Avatar Components
7. Avatar Appearance
9. Buildings & Other Structures
10. Men’s Apparel
TOP DESTINATION GUIDE CATEGORIES (by Web Traffic)
2019: the year ahead for Second Life
You can expect to see more improvements made to Second Life in 2019 including new grid-wide experiences, the ability to change your name, migration to the cloud and Linden Home updates.
Second Life will turn 16 years old in June 2019 and it’s going to be incredible.
To add to this is Animesh and EEP will have a much more positive impact I think in Second Life in 2019. According to Linden Lab this week last names are taking a bit longer than expected but it’s definitely still being worked on. It will be interesting to see what the new SSP regions will be used for next year. It will be good to see the regions finally open to the public.
I think communications between the lab and the Second Life community will improve even more next year. Another year of Linden Lab user group hours will take place for sure along with music, town hall events. Hopefully Second Life will continue to grow further next year (more regions, sales etc) with probably more interesting announcements along the way.
We will have to wait and see.
Have any highlights from 2018 ? What do you think will happen in 2019 for Second Life ?