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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
1,000,000 Residents
Well, we hit the one million residents mark sometime this morning. My guess is that's about 300k actual players (200k of which play once a month or left SL months ago), 200k alts, and 500k throwaway one-time logins. Yay. Wheee. (Statistics pulled out of whatever orifice was handy.) Does this make us mainstream now? What is the necessary user count for mainstream acceptance? When does SL start becoming the laugh-track heralded punchline on bad Friday night sitcoms? Oh well, at least we have a few hundred more "SL is all about sex and money" mainstream news articles to look forward to. That, and a few score virtually identical "a million users... well, not really..." articles from the gaming press. Just in time for the boys on Capitol Hill to start figuring out how to tax Linden dollars.

That's all I have to say about that.

Addendum, 10/27/06
Wow. I was really having a bad day last Wednesday, huh? I'm still a bit dubious about the true statistical significance of the 1,000,000 number, but I can't argue the positive effect. The big, round numbers sure bring in the traffic. SL is bursting at the seams, but I have no doubt LL will get it all sorted out. We're one step closer to becoming the new and improved web. And, deep in my little early adopter heart, I couldn't be prouder.

Oh, and apparently the whole taxing online transactions thing was just a false alarm. Turns out that congress is advising the IRS against taxing online transactions... For now. The concern was that an ill conceived tax code would be implemented without fully understanding the issue. And a huge concern it is, too! I don't really see the average congresscritter getting the goings on in an online environment. Which means they'd invariably fall back on bad analogies (for example, that it's kinda like a real world, brick-and-mortar business located in the USA), and invariably make bad, unwieldy, unworkable laws because of it. Here's hoping that SL at least hits mainstream, web-level acceptance before the IRS aims its gaze at its communal coffers again.
Considering just how barren and alone the world seems I'd have to agree with you about how pointless the figure is.

I mean I admit that I have 3 alts myself.
Yeah, I've garnered a few alts for various reasons myself. I don't have any proof for this, but I'd guess that single-account users are in the minority.

I suppose big, round numbers are ultimately good for marketing, pulling in investors, and so on, no matter how they're derived. And more money for LL is (basically, and not necessarily in a linear ratio) better for the players. It's definitely good for the bottom line to be able to say "we have the same order of magnitude user count as Wow," even if it's not anywhere near an apples-to-apples comparison. Most folks on the outside of it will just count the zeroes and not even wonder what they mean.

In any case, yeah, I don't see too many seasoned SL users dancing in the streets over this milestone. The unfortunate truth is that there isn't any way to determine unique users. Yet another side effect of the no-cost account registration. At least in WoW, you can be relatively assured that every player doesn't have four alt accounts- they'd have to pay for them all.
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