The secret success of Second Life.

In a blobpost by Leander I was linked to some statistics published by about the growth of Second Life in the last 3 years. It’s amazing to see how their user base has grown round about 30% since their „hype“ in 2007, and time spent within the world increased by ca. 20% during the last year.

In terms of money: the economy of Second Life has also greatly increased. The amount of money changing hands has increased to $567 Million!

That sounds like Second Life is slowly gaining ground, however this time without the hype that diluted their numbers. Now that all the hype seeking geeks, journalists and other curious cats have left „the building“, Second Life grows their natural user base, who ever that might be. It would be interesting to get some stats on their user base, anyone have a hint where to get that?

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Toyota launches Yaris Advergame

Toyota published an Xbox advergame, says an article on the NY Times:

The shooting car is the central character of a new Xbox game called Yaris that Toyota will introduce today. The game will be offered free to all Xbox 360 console owners in the United States and Canada, who can download it from Xbox Live’s service. It is also the first Xbox game created by an advertiser to be distributed over Xbox Live.

They were not the first to launch such a game, but again, this is a good example of a growing trend:

Advertisers in the United States will spend $502 million on video game advertising this year, up from $346 million last year, according to eMarketer, a research firm. Just over half of that is in the form of ads placed within games, and the rest is for marketers to create their own games, known in the industry as advergames.

That this can bei highly successful is proven by Burger King for example, who sold an advergame for the Xbox for $3.5 which despite the price showed a considerable amount of time spent with the game:

Using Xbox data on game use, the Burger King game equates in time spent to more than 1.4 billion 30-second commercials, the fast-food company says.

Imagine that. 1.4 billion voluntary 30 second long contacts – It will be hard for „classical“ advertising to beat that! Both in terms of quantity, as well as quality:

Interacting with our characters in the games is actually more engaging than just sitting back in your chair and watching a Super Bowl commercial,” said Russ Klein, president for global marketing for Burger King.

(On a side note: how does Microsoft track that, anyway? This is scary, once again…)

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What will be the „Youtube for online games“?

Just a quick note: this could be interesting: apparently, after all the bookmark, photo and video sites, there is one new „user generated content“ thing for which VCs put up their money: online games.

Sofar, we have two sites racing for the jackpot: Kongregate and YoYo Games.

I doubt the potential is as big as for any of the other typical Web 2.0 sites, simply because it is so much more difficult to conceptualise a computer came, with all its rules, scenarios, player modes, levels, etc.

At the same time I am sure the market is still big enough for good advertising potential, since people will probably spend even more time on these online games portals than they will on Youtube.

(The only thing the sites need to make sure: that the players will see a range of ads, even though they are most likely spending a lot of time on a single page. Remember the discussion about the death of the page view?)

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Entropia with Crytek Engine – how realistic will graphics get?

Now this might well unsettle Second Life: Entropia has licensed the Crytek 2 Engine. I have already written about Crytek 2 in March, it offers the most fascinating graphics I have seen in a computer game! You can click through to to see what I mean.

Funnily enough I wrote back then:

I wish second life was only nearly as realistic as anything the new cryengine can show!

Well, it looks like Entropia made the race…

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Second Life user statistics by country

Finally, finally, there are some numbers on the nationalities of Second Life residents. OK, you might argue, they’re all Second Life citizens – true. But nevertheless it was interesting for me as an advertising person to know who actually visits this virtual space.

Now Reuters writes about the latest statistics.And it seems like Europe is well represented – something I never thought:

Europeans make up the largest block of Second Life residents with more than 54 percent of active users in January ahead of North America’s 34.5 percent, according to new Linden Lab data.

Interestingly enough it was especially the French who boosted the european numbers – mainly due to the fact that during their presidential elections in January both parties got actively involved in this virtual world – opening up offices and such.

France has the second-highest number of users after the virtual world became a battleground for the country’s presidential election. Although French residents had long been a part of Second Life, thousands more joined Second Life in January as demonstrators picketed the virtual offices of Jean Marie Le Pen’s far-right National Front party. Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal also established a Second Life presence.

Here is the complete overview:

Active residents by country

  • United States 31.19%
  • France 12.73%
  • Germany 10.46%
  • United Kingdom 8.09%
  • Netherlands 6.55%
  • Spain 3.83%
  • Brazil 3.77%
  • Canada 3.30%
  • Belgium 2.63%
  • Italy 1.93%

The numbers add up to round about 85% – which means that 15% are spread out over the remaining +/-150 nations worldwide. And I guess that China makes up a large part of that 15% – even though I would have expected them within this list…

The average resident is 33 years old, and:

58.9 percent of residents declared themselves as men when they registered, compared with 55.5 percent a year earlier.

I like the way that is put: „declared themselves as men“. But it’s true. On the web, you never know – and in Second Life this is just as well the case…

One more link: these news were posted within the Reuters Second Life News Center Website. (I just want to keep track of this link for myself…)

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