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Comparing virtual worlds: age vs content creation

Comparing virtual worlds: age vs content creation. One thing is clear – although virtual worlds are a new phenomenum, different worlds attract different types of people.

To date, this has been more of a ‘push’ strategy, with metaverses positioning themselves into particular ages ranges. The teen worlds such as Habbo, Whyville and Gaia Online are obvious examples of this with specific age bands for membership.

  • Habbo: 13-16
  • Whyville: 8 -15
  • Gaia Online: 13+

But other worlds, both in development and currently live place less emphasis on being a certain age or demographic type and openly invite anyone over the age of 18. So, if the age ranges for these types of metaverses is anyone over 18, you might expect the average ages/demographic sweet-spots to be very similar.

As shown in the graph below, this is not the case. Factors are causing different age groups in different worlds (reds are live virtual worlds and yellows are in development).

Note that for the metaverses in development the average age/sweet-spot is a K Zero assessment, not derived from actual data – because they are not live yet. The degree of content creation is based on information released to date and K Zero first-hand discussions.

What is content creation? Continue reading → vs Second Life: demographics vs Second Life: demographics. Ben Richardson from has kindly given me an insight into the demographic profile of the population of This virtual world has almost 1m registered members and is growing strongly. [read more about comparitive virtual world analysis]


To date, the most recognised brand in was MTV, running a walled garden version of Laguna Beach, although several major brands including Capitol Music Group are implementing this platform into their marketing strategies.

. is a virtual world geared towards a slightly younger age profile than Second Life – the average age of a resident is 22, over ten years younger a typical Second Life resident. positions itself much more as a ‘hang-out’ social destination than a creative platform, although content creation and in-world currency (therebucks) are both available.


Here’s an age range comparison between the two:


The minimum age threshold for the main grid of Second Life (18 years) may be a reason why younger dems reside in As shown above, 32% of the registered population are in the 13 – 17 bracket. Although Second Life does has a teen grid, this is kept completely apart from the adult population and does not have a currency or allow commercial activity.

Continue reading →

Western Europe Second Life propensity

Western Europe Second Life propensity. In other words, which countries in Europe are more (or less) likely to be active users of Second Life compared to the others?

We know that Western Europe is leading the way in Second Life adoption and this trend is continuing on an active user and registered account basis. However, looking at these totals in isolation only tells part of the story because countries across Europe have different population sizes as well as broadband penetration. So, propensity index analysis is used to assess the active user %s against the overall broadbrand population %s in order to calculate a comparitive index score. Scores over one indicate that country has an above average propensity compared to others to use Second Life. The graph below shows the index scores.

Continue reading →

Second Life usage per active resident

Second Life usage per active resident. An active resident in SL is someone who has logged in for over one hour in a month. On an overall basis, active residents were in SL for 42.7 hours in June. When looking at usage per active resident on a country and regional basis, some interest patterns emerge.

The graph below shows hours per active resident for the top 40 countries represented in SL.

Clearly some major differences between countries. Both the US and Canada have very high usage (over 50 hours per month). This is explained by the fact that people spend more time in Second Life the longer they have been registered – these two countries drove the initial take-up of accounts because of where Linden Lab is located and SL originated.

Whats of interest here as well is high usage from the Netherlands – in fact the highest out of all the countries with 52.4 hours in June. The dynamics of virtual worlds is clearly impacting people in this country more than others. Germany also appears to have this characteristic.

Exploring the factors behind average usage per month is easier when aggregating countries into regions, as shown below. Continue reading →

Age ranges and gender analysis

Age ranges and gender analysis. What’s often of great surprise to marketers when they first learn about Second Life is the average age of a resident. Compared to MMOGs which have a much younger audience profile, SL has an average resident age in the early thirties – one of the key reasons why companies view SL as an important new marketing channel.

In fact, SL has penetrated much older age ranges, as the graph below shows. This is based on end of June data.

Looking at age ranges on an overall basis, the resident population of SL got older from May to June. This is of particular good news to B2B organisations.

  • The oldest group (45 year old +) grew 4.5%, accounting for 12.2% in June
  • Next oldest (34-44) increased by 2.5% to 21.7%
  • The highest group in total numbers (24-34 year olds) accounted for 38.2% of total residents in June, falling slightly (by 0.6%) from May
  • The youngest segment (18-24) dropped 3.1% to 26.5% Continue reading →

Metrics for registered and unique accounts

Metrics for registered and unique accounts. At the end of June 2007, total registered accounts was 7.73m, an increase of 869k from May. This represents a monthly growth of 12.7% compared to 14.9% from April to May. So, a slight slowdown in growth explained largely by seasonality – a similar slight slowdown in growth occurred during the summer of 2006. However, the ongoing growth of circa 1m new registered accounts continues.

This now appears to be the trend, which as a result brings down the actual growth rate %’s as the total base grows.

Total unique accounts/residents broke through the 5m mark in June, reaching 5.22m, an increase of 19.5% from May (853k new uniques). This compares to an increase of 16% from April to May. The following graphs show monthly additions and growth rates.

Looking at the relationship between total registered accounts and unique residents also sheds a lot of light onto the types of people using Second Life. This post explains the types of individuals interacting with SL from a technology adoption perspective. The graph below shows total registered accounts per unique resident.

In the period prior to brand adoption of SL, the average number of accounts per unique resident was in the 1.25 – 1.3 range. This coincided with the Innovator group being the main element of consumer type.

However, as shown clearly in the graph, from May 2006 onwards (as brands started to enter SL), this metric started to go north quickly, shifting from 1.3 up to the 1.58 range.

This is explained by the entrance of Early Adopters into SL. These individuals began to use SL in two different ways, hence explaining the increase in avg accs and the requirement for more than one avatar account. Continue reading →

June resident analysis now available

June resident analysis now available. Key metrics related to Second Life resident analysis is now available by requesting the K Zero Resident Data and Demographics report here.

Headline numbers:

  • Registered accounts = 7.7m
  • Increase of 12.7%
  • Unique accounts = 5.2m
  • Increase of 19.5%
  • Hours per month per unique account = 4.18

Continue reading →

Western Europe leading the way in registrations

Western Europe leading the way in registrations. Pre-2007, North America was the dominant region for Second Life registrations. This was not surprising due to:

  • The brands in SL at the time
  • Server availability
  • LL being based in San Francisco
  • Media awareness

Today though, it is a different story, with Western Europe now being the dominant region with a 44.6% market share of total registrations. K Zero is currently conducting research to explain why exactly Western Europe has overtaken North America. The graph below shows the regional split as at April 2007.

Of course, a single snapshot in time needs to be put into context to explore the trend analysis. This is shown in the next graph below. Continue reading →

Monthly SL usage analysis

Monthly SL usage analysis. In April 2007, an average of 3.04 hours per month were spent per registered account in Second Life (source: Second Life key metrics data file). This statistic whilst useful in isolation, produces much more interesting analysis when back-filled using historical data. The graph below shows hours spent per month for the last sixteen months.

The average per month of around three hours appears to be a stabilisation from Dec-06 onwards. However, as clearly shown by the graph, this has been a fast-moving falling average from a high of twenty hours back in Jan-06. Continue reading →

Profile of a Spanish Second Life resident

Profile of a Spanish Second Life resident: Victor Gill from the Cocktail Analysis (a Spanish MR house) has kindly given me the findings from a recent market research exercise they carried out. The findings support the ‘Early Adopter’ profile of a typical user across any country.

Here are the main findings:

48% of Second Life users in Spain access the virtual world on a daily basis

The cocktail analysis has presented today the results of the first study ever conducted on the visibility and profile of Spanish Second Life users. Second Life (SL) is a virtual world platform thats already surpassed 6 million residents, 3% of whom are Spanish, according to Linden Labs.

The profile of the Second Life user from Spain is a male (65%), avg. 33 years old, with a college degree (54%), and employed (69%) . Its a user profile markedly different -mostly because of its older age- to the average users of both videogames and other virtual worlds.

The study: Knowledge, valuation and experience of Spanish users in Second Life. Opportunities for Spanish brands focuses on assessing the current position of this virtual world in Spain through 2 surveys, one directed towards web users and the other towards Spanish users in the largest Spanish community in the virtual world: (

Continue reading →

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