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Second Life Hype Outweighs Impact on Mainstream Interactive Activity

The media hype surrounding Second Life doesn't match reality, and metaverses such as Second Life are experiencing slowing growth and limited impact because of the "tethered" nature of the virtual-world experience, according to the Yankee Group, writes MarketingCharts (via Boston Globe).

The growth in the number of Second Life users has slowed since its peak in October 2006, and user engagement (measured by average time spent per user) has leveled off at just 12 minutes per month, according to a recently published Yankee Group Note, "Wither Second Life?"

yankee-group-second-life-usage-growth.jpg

That's in stark contrast to other highly publicized sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, which are undergoing steady increases in both the number of users and the intensity of user engagement, Yankee Group said.

Facebook's average time spent per user, for example, increased 24 percent over six months to 186 minutes per month - or 15-times more engagement per user than Second Life.

The Note concludes that Second Life's PC-centric approach in an increasingly mobile world is to blame for its slowdown.

"For virtual worlds and metaverses to achieve greater potential in the marketplace and grow beyond early adopters, the experience must be untethered to meet the needs of the 'Anywhere Consumer,'" said Christopher Collins, senior analyst in Yankee Group's Consumer Research group and author of the Note.

"Companies that provide remote access — through mobile devices or other means — to their web experience will have a greater impact than PC-centric companies."

On November 12, 2007, a revision to the Yankee Group's findings was printed. A Second Look at Second Life is available here (pdf).

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