Economic Growth. Many of our economic metrics showed much slower growth from Q2 to Q3 as can be seen in the charts below. We believe the slower growth was primarily due to the impact of stricter security on credit card processing, shutting down gambling in July and beginning to charge VAT September. With those things behind us in the fourth quarter, the Second Life economy demonstrated its resiliency. The LindeX – the purest measure of economic activity in Second Life – grew 13.2% to nearly $7.6 million USD for December and $22 million USD for the full quarter.
Concurrency. Peak concurrent users, shown in the red line on the chart below, grew 12.5% in the fourth quarter to more then 58,000 – up more than 210% for the full year. We’ve seen a growth in concurrency almost every week since the beginning of September. Growth continued last weekend when concurrency grew another 5.3% to 61,500.
User hours. In December, approximately 893,000 residents logged more than 25.6 million user hours (shown in pink in the chart above) or more than 30 hours a month per user. Of that just 519,000 Active residents, spent 25.5 million hours – averaging more than 49 hours per month. (“Active” is defined as users who spent over an hour inworld during the month.)
Combining a few of these metrics, indicates that residents spent more than $0.30 USD on the LindeX per hour used. Most of this economic activity went to the more than 50,000 residents generating what we call “positive monthly Linden dollar flow” from their activities in Second Life. We believe that many of these 50,000 users are creating the diverse creations and experiences that make Second Life such an interesting place to explore. This is the powerful engine fueling the steady long term growth of Second Life. The growth in Q4 combined with continued growth in January demonstrates that the Second Life growth engine is alive and well.
Transparency. I really enjoy the fact that we are such a transparent company. Throughout the good times and difficult times in 2007, we posted our numbers in a consistent fashion. Even with all the data we publish, its funny sometimes to see how people get it wrong. I wish other companies believed in transparency the way we do. I’d love to see our registrations, active users, user hours, economic activity and anything else comparable on lots of virtual world and MMORPGs. I’m sure some of the data is out there – and I’d love to see what you can find. Please post links to others data in the comments or send them directly to me (Zee Linden) inworld.