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.
But why the need for more than one virtual identity? This is explained by highlighting two key different ways people are using metaverses. There are two main types of people in SL, ‘Immersionialists’ and ‘Augmentalists’.
Immersionalists view SL as a standalone virtual environment. A place where they leave their real world identity behind and immerse themselves in the dynamics of the world. These people have wide social networks inside SL and engage heavily in the activities and events.
Augmentalists however, use SL for different reasons. For most, it’s an extension of their real world social networks and activities and in some cases is business driven. This group includes people from real world companies with SL presence as well as those researching virtual worlds.
Key points of difference between these two groups include their choice of first name and their appearance. Augmentalists will typically use their real world first name as their avatar name or a name which could easily be a real world name. This approach provides a connection between the real and virtual world. Immersionalists have no need to make a connection and therefore adopt a wider range of names reflecting their standalone virtual identity. The actual avatar appearance also differs sometimes between the groups, with Augmentalists typically looking more normal (in a comparitive sense) than Immersionalists. Immersionalists however usually have a more developed appearance, in terms of custom skins and clothing.
As the Early Adopters began to enter SL, primarily for augmental use, they soon decided they also wanted to engage in the metaverse on a standalone basis (undercover if you like) free from their real world connections. Therefore many also created secondary avatars to achieve this purpose, thus explaining the increase in average accounts per unique resident.