On 25th February 2021 there was a new article about Second Life on Quartz named As Covid-19 destroyed real economies, Second Life’s economy boomed. There are many parts of the article that I think are interesting to share in terms of statistics (see below). The blog post is certainly worth reading through including resident examples on how some are living in Second Life during the past year. The blog post is split into escaping the pandemic into Second Life and going shopping on Second Life.
“The spike in sales was part of a larger economic boom in Second Life, even as the real-world economy floundered through 2020. “We are seeing a 30-40% increase in overall in-game GDP,” said Ebbe Altberg, the CEO of Linden Labs, the company that runs Second Life. Once avatars earn Linden Dollars in the game, through the goods and services they offer, their players can cash them out into US dollars. Last year, players earned and cashed out $73 million—nearly a fifth more than the 2019 figure of $65 million.”
“Of the 900,000-odd monthly active users in the game last year, only 14,000 or so draw any kind of income from it. The rest come for the community, or to be different versions of themselves, or to find escape. During the lockdown, Second Life saw a surge in new registrations. Something similar had happened during the 2008 recession, Altberg said: a spike in players, higher engagement, the game offering “a reprieve from social and economic stressors.” But last year, many players who hadn’t logged on in years also returned, unable to pursue their full lives offline and spending increasing amounts of time online in any case. And they happened to spend some money while they were back.”
“Musicians set up virtual concerts, and players attended those, buying tickets or tipping the artists. One player, who runs a shop that supplies avatars with virtual pets and babies, and who asked not to be named, said that her business jumped 30%.”
“The exchange rate of Linden Dollars to US dollars doesn’t fluctuate; it has stayed at 320 to $1 for months.“
“Buying on Amazon is not the same as going into a shop and looking at clothing, and you could do that on Second Life,”
Previous Economy Reports On Second Life
The last update from the lab was the 2020 year in review blog post where it reads “As the pandemic grew rapidly, so too did Second Life. At the initial onset of the lockdowns, Second Life saw about a 60% increase in new user registrations compared to the same time in the previous year and there has since been sustained growth in both concurrency and economic activity“.
Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg during March 2020 confirmed growth in new registrations and returning residents “We are seeing an increase in new registrations and returning residents during this outbreak. Please be kind and welcoming to those who may just need a friendly conversation to escape from this crazy world for a moment or more. If you have a friend or colleague who is looking for a safe place to socialize online during these tough times, we encourage you to help them discover how Second Life can enable them to feel less isolated by connecting them to your favorite communities or experiences“.
Linden Lab stopped releasing quarterly or annual Second Life economy metrics back in March 2012 and to be honest many found the reports interesting including myself. The former Linden Lab spokesperson Peter Gray said this back in early 2012 “We don’t plan to publish a Q4 2011 economic summary. We are discontinuing regular reporting of aggregate economy-level data, because landowners and merchants have told us that the information is of limited value to them. Moving forward, we will instead focus on improved reporting tools that help individuals better manage their businesses in SL.”
Hopefully during 2021 there will be a whole lot more new registrations and returning residents using Second Life. The Second Life user concurrency seems stable at the moment and hopefully the levels will rise up as the year goes on. Hopefully there will be more interest in private estates so that the overall Second Life grid economic improves.
On Friday 26th February Oz Linden and Grumpity Linden appeared on Lab Gab episode 44 hosted by Strawberry Linden to chat about Second Life and the latest news on AWS. The live streamed episode ran for 58 minutes and 20 seconds. If you have not watched the show then its a must watch as its very informative and most interesting for sure. In the final part of the show Oz was teleported to one final gathering where the Second Life community celebrated his years at the lab.
Here are some of newer updates that were mentioned during the show below…
Map tiles are being worked on. There is some work going on with stitching tile images together when zooming out on the map.
The Second Life Mobile app has taken longer than expected and its not yet known when the app will be available
At 11am PDT on Friday 26th February Oz Linden and Grumpity Linden will be live on Lab Gab talking about the latest news on AWS. Oz will be talking about his years at the lab as he has officially announced his retirement.
Strawberry Linden will be asking them questions from the Second Life community. You can fill out this Google Form and submit your questions. The lab will review them and pick out a selection of questions for Oz and Grumpity to answer.
Lab Gab will be live streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Periscope. Please spread the word.
On Tuesday 16th February Oz Linden who is the Vice President of Engineering at Linden Lab announced on the Second Life Forums that he would be leaving Linden Lab on Friday 26th February 2021. Oz joined Linden Lab back in 2010 and Oz has done so much to make Second Life better over the years.
Oz has been thinking about retirement for some time and now that Second Life has moved into the cloud Oz has decided it’s the right time to move on. Oz mentions that in strong possible terms that his decision has nothing at all to do with the change of ownership of the lab.
See below for Oz Linden farewell thread post via the Second Life Forums…
Posted About 11 years ago I was working for a big multinational that had acquired the startup where I’d been for several years, and decided I needed a job with more fun and more job satisfaction. I put out the word on my professional network and got a response from a colleague who was a Linden at the time. I interviewed with several people at the Lab (half my interviews were in-world using an account I’d had for some years), and after much thought I joined the Lab as the Director of Open Source. It turned out to be one of the best career decisions I ever made.
My job evolved over the years, but through it all I got to work with brilliant, passionate, and committed people and got to know many residents. I’ve never worked anywhere that was as much fun (a Linden who returned to SL after some time away said recently that he’d forgotten how often the SL team laughs in the course of a normal day). More importantly, I got to work on a product users really enjoy using and that makes a big difference in the lives of many of its users – for me there’s no greater source of job satisfaction.
Some time ago, I reached the point that I could afford to think about retiring but decided to stay to finish moving SL to its new cloud platform. I can’t imagine a better last act in my working life than ensuring that Second Life has this better platform for its future growth. Now that project is done (well, except for a few loose ends), and it’s time for me to move on to the next phase of my life.
I want to emphasize in the strongest possible terms: my decision has nothing at all to do with the change in ownership of the Lab; the timing really is a coincidence. If anything, I regret that I have overlapped with them for only a few weeks; in that time (and in the time leading up to the change) I have come to respect and appreciate the skills and energy they bring to the company.
There aren’t many jobs that come with a new nickname; this got me one I’ll always cherish, but it’s time for me to set aside my Linden last name. I leave Second Life in great hands, and have every confidence that it has a great future.
– Oz PS. My official last day is Feb 26th.
Oz Linden will be deeply be missed for sure and personally I wish him the very best for the future.
During the recent Dunk & Hug a Linden event on Friday 12th February 2021 Patch Linden says they may reveal the next Linden Home theme #8 at this year’s SL18B event.Check out this video of the event and skip to approximately 5 minutes / 30 seconds to hear what Patch had to say.
Second Life 18th official birthday starts 23rd June 2021. The lab are now planning for the birthday and more will be announced in the months ahead. Expected to return is the birthday music event, the shopping birthday event, the free gift area and a cool avatar of some form.
The Stilt Linden Home release #6 happened back in mid-late December 2020 and there has been a large demand for that so far in terms of residents moving into their Stilt homes. The Moles are working on the release of the new upcoming Chalet Linden Homes #7 and now with a brand new Linden theme #8. The east side of the Log Homes continent is still being worked on.
I hope the lab will release the Chalet Linden Homes #7 before Easter and the brand new Linden theme #8 before the end of 2021. Can’t wait until SL18B officially gets underway.
On Wednesday 10th February Linden Lab announced the latest new round of Last Names to choose from. The lab does now anticipate the rotation of available options will happen more often going forward now due to the fact that the Uplift is complete.
Here are the new Last Names that have been added to the available selection…