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Nelson Linden

The Second Life economy remained stable in the second quarter of 2010, despite one-time events that affected a number of metrics. The most notable economic event of the second quarter was a temporary decrease in the exchange rate of the L$ vs. the US dollar in mid-June that has since returned to typical levels. Our research in the weeks since this occurred indicates this change was due in large part to our merge of Residents’ inworld and XStreetSL L$ balances.This had the temporary effect of reducing L$ purchase volume as Residents lowered the total amount of L$’s they were holding because they now had one combined account.  Previously, Residents held a higher combined L$ balance in two separate accounts and purchased L$’s more frequently when they were keeping a minimum balance in each.  You can read more details in our quarterly economic spotlight post.

Changes in Reporting

From time to time we will change our reporting in order to provide the most relevant and accurate summary information for the use of merchants, landowners, content creators, and other participants in the Second Life economy. Our goal is to provide those who participate in the economy and run inworld businesses with the data they need to make informed business decisions.  We are making a change from the recent past by reducing the relatively large set of metrics we have provided--many where causality is complex or unclear--and we will instead provide a more focused data set with a briefer description about each quarter’s activity.  We believe the indicators below are the key items to focus on, and we are adding a page describing the content and methodology behind each figure.

In addition, we will be phasing out the data feeds at http://secondlife.com/statistics/economy-data.php. We’ll have more updates on this shortly, but because this data currently bears little relationship to the health or strength of the Second Life economy, we feel it’s appropriate to discontinue these feeds.

Resident-to-Resident Transactions

At least for the time being, one figure we will no longer publish in our historical charts is the Resident-to-Resident transaction data. As we’ve analyzed this data we believe that it is not as accurate a measure of the inworld economy as we would like. We are currently working to develop a more accurate metric with which to replace this number. For the near term, we will continue to publish a comparable Resident-to-Resident transaction figure for historical comparison. In Q2 2010, Resident-to-Resident transactions totalled approximately L$40 billion, or US$152 million.

RESIDENT USAGE INDICATORS

MONTHLY REPEAT LOGINS

Monthly Repeat Logins indicated improved retention and engagement over recent quarters:

  • Q2 2010 averaged 805 thousand monthly repeat logins, a rise of 8.6 percent vs. the Q2 2009 average of 742 thousand.
  • Levels are flat with Q1 2010.

monthly repeat logins.png

USER HOURS

User Hours were slightly lower, at 108 million for the quarter.

  • The Q2 2009 User Hours figure of 126 million includes substantial usage attributable to “bots” and other scripted agents. Bot policy changes took place in mid-Q2 2009, making it difficult to make accurate comparisons with the year-ago period.
  • User Hours in Q1 2010 totaled 116 million.

user hours.png

MONTHLY ECONOMIC PARTICIPANTS

Monthly Economic Participants (those accounts that receive or distribute L$ in a given month) are the most active and engaged participants in Second Life and the economy. Economic participation in the second quarter, on average, was flat against the previous quarter, and rose against the same period a year ago.

monthly economic participants.png

LINDEN DOLLAR RATES AND RELATED METRICS

EXCHANGE RATE

The average Linden dollar exchange rate moved from approximately L$261 per US dollar at the beginning of the quarter, to just under L$269 per US$ at the end and fluctuated across a larger range for two weeks during June (see second chart below), as we noted at the time. Average exchange rates, however, remain largely unchanged. As noted above, our research indicates this change was due to our merge of Residents’ inworld and XStreet SL L$ balances and temporary market uncertainty immediately after the announcements of our restructuring and changes in senior management. Read more details in our quarterly economic spotlight post.

average exchange rate.png

 

exchange rate, june.png

L$ SUPPLY

We are also improving and changing how we report the L$ Supply figure with this quarter’s post. Previously, this metric did not include individual XStreet SL account balances, and misclassified some administrative accounts as Resident accounts. For this quarter we have updated the calculation to include only Resident accounts, and have summed their balances across both XStreet SL and inworld. This number now more accurately represents the total purchasing power of all Residents in Second Life. Note that we have shown both calculation methods in the charts.

  • L$ Supply in Q2 was US$25.9 million vs US$26.2 in Q1
l$ supply USD.png
LINDEX VOLUME

Historically, LindeX volume has been very stable, and the slight decline from Q1 is within past ranges. This metric is traditionally less volatile than many other indicators we report, and we expect this behavior to continue.    

  • LindeX trading volume of US$29.4 million in Q2 2010 was up slightly against the year-ago Q2 volume of US$29.1 million, but off from Q1’s US$30.7 million
lindex volume.png
XSTREET SL MERCHANDISE SALES VOLUME

Q2 2010 saw 39% growth in sales over Q1 2010 and 124% growth over the same quarter a year earlier. The primary driver of this growth was the merging of users’ Xstreet SL and Second Life Linden dollar balances. This simplified the purchase process on Xstreet, producing an immediate jump in sales volume. In addition to the benefits of the balance merge, we continue to show healthy growth from the acquisition of new users paired with the development of new creative products from our merchants. Q2 continued the trend of setting record sales volume and this quarter in particular contained an important milestone, as Xstreet SL had it’s first month with over US$1 million worth of sales.

xstreet sl merchandise sales volume.png
LAND

WORLD SIZE

World Size grew to 2,110 square kilometers at the end of Q2, from 2,070 at the end of the previous quarter, and 1,900 for the year-ago period. Private regions accounted for the largest portion of inworld land (44 percent), and private homesteads the next largest (36 percent). Mainland regions accounted for 19 percent of the total inworld land mass.

world size.png

Joe Linden

As of 10am PT Wednesday, September 8, the Emerald Viewer will be blocked from logging in to Second Life as a result of violations of our Policy on Third Party Viewers. Residents who have been using any version of the Emerald Viewer will need to use a different Viewer to access Second Life. You can download the official Second Life Viewer, developed by Linden Lab, here. Or you can learn more about alternative Viewers, developed by third parties, here. There are several new Viewers listed in the TPV Directory, so there are many alternatives available to you.

We take Residents’ privacy, safety, and security very seriously and will take action to enforce the policies that help protect it. As our CEO, Philip Rosedale, has blogged about, we recently removed the Emerald Viewer from our Third-Party Viewer Directory due to violations of our Policy on Third-Party Viewers.

Since then, we have been in communication with the Emerald development team and have requested several changes in order to remedy violations of our policy, including changes necessary to meet our privacy requirements, and to address GPL license violations. Unfortunately, the team was unable to comply within a stipulated time frame. As a result, we have decided to block logins from the Emerald Viewer in order to protect our Residents. All versions of the Emerald Viewer will be blocked from logging in to Second Life as of tomorrow at 10am. Please be aware that attempting to circumvent our blocking to access Second Life with a banned Viewer is a violation of the Policy on Third-Party Viewers and may result in the loss of one's account.

Wallace Linden

kim_linden.pngLinden Lab recently welcomed a new addition to its executive ranks: Kim Salzer, who became our Vice President of Marketing, at the beginning of August. Kim (known as Kim Linden inworld) joins us from Activision Blizzard, where she was Vice President of Global Brand Management for properties like Guitar Hero and Call of Duty 2, among others. Kim brings a deep background in gaming (including experience at Electronic Arts working on massively multiplayer online games and hit sports franchises), and in online learning, and we’re excited to have her as part of the team. As an introduction to Residents, I asked Kim to tell us a bit about herself in her own words:

Q: What’s the one thing you bring from the gaming world that will be most useful to you in your position at Linden Lab?

A: Working in gaming taught me a lot about just how creative and  passionate that audience can be, and I think the same is true for the  Residents of Second Life. And SL provides so many great tools to enhance  and bring out that creativity, I’m really looking forward to helping foster that as we move into the next phase of the platform’s growth. I  want to see if we can make the range of what’s possible in Second Life  even broader.

Q: What are your goals for your new position as VP Marketing at Linden Lab?

A:  What I really want to do here is help the Lab figure out what the “X  Factor” is going to be for Second Life. When I was working on games, I  always tried to choose a single idea to focus on and bring out, an X  Factor that helped people get into the game and helped them discover all  the rest of the possibilities there. If I can help bring that kind of  focus to Second Life, I’ll be happy about how I’m doing my job.

Q: What excites you most about working on a product like Second Life?

A: I’m excited about the prospect of helping to build a product that  really empowers people to express what they’re about, and that can make a real difference in their lives. I think we’ve only just started to see  what can be done here, and I can’t wait to see where we and our  Residents can take things from here.

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