Sometime between 1AM and 7AM EST today, we reached a major milestone in Second Life development: a quarter of a million residents. That’s a nice achievement to celebrate during Second Life’s third anniversary coming up at the end of the month.
While 250,000 residents might seem like a pretty small figure compared to World of Warcraft’s 6.5 million players, it appears to put Second Life well in first place as the largest virtual world not based primarily on gaming.
In fact, with the exception of There, all of the other top online virtual worlds are game-based. The top eight are fantasy role-playing games: World of Warcraft, Lineage, Lineage II, RuneScape, Final Fantasy XI, EverQuest and EverQuest II. Nine and ten are Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes / Villains respectively.
On related note, I just discovered mmogchart.com, a website dedicated to tracking the growth and development of MMOGs. Managed by Bruce Sterling Woodcock, the site provides an impressive number of charts and graphs of the relative memberships and market share of the major multi-player online games. Particularly useful is his downloadable, frequently updated excel file of statistics, which I am sure makes it into a dozens of graduate student papers a week.
For some reason, his May 2006 statistics put Second Life at a mere 45,000 active subscribers. This is strange since Second Life has been at at least 200,000 residents since May.
Still, a very useful resource, for those who care about such things.