Thursday, July 27th, 2017
Worlds
Events
Why Have Virtual Worlds Declined?

by Sigmund Leominster
Published May 15, 2013

Support the Metaverse by sharing this story.

“So little time, so much to do.”

In a recent blog post entitled, “5 Reasons Virtual Worlds Died” [1], Simon Newstead, the CEO of mobile games company, Frenzoo, paints a dismal picture of the slow decline in people’s participation in virtual worlds. He mentions the Second Life® environment by name and appears to be referring heavily to it in his list of criticism. And if not, he’s thinking in terms of the more “open, user-created” types of world, rather than the tightly constrained Halo® or Call of Duty® scenarios.

To summarize, he argues that virtual worlds have (a) no purpose or goals,
(b) no quick feedback, (c) no theme, (d) too much of a learning curve for newbies, and (d) the needs of players in these worlds can be met else-
where.

This may be true of Second Life or OpenSim grids but according to figures published in 2012, the online gaming community is still pretty strong and generating a lot of cash. A report generated by the marketing and consult-
ing firm DFC Intelligence revealed that players of the game League of Legends logged over 1.3 billion hours of activity during the year, followed by a more modest – but still impressive – 600,000 hours logged by World
of Warcraft
devotees.

GAME LOGGED HOURS
League of Legends 1,292,502,456
World of Warcraft 622,378,909
Minecraft 371,635,651
Heroes of Newerth 184,520,156
Diablo III 172,907,605
Battlefield 3 171,852,550
MapleStory 165,503,651
StarCraft II 163,980,293
World Of Tanks 145,702,931
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 126,754,082
Source: DFC Intelligence Report, 2012.

Meanwhile, during the same period, blogger Daniel Voyager [2] noted a steady decline in the maximum number of people online in Second Life on a daily basis – the “concurrency level.” He also points out that the number of regions (land) has dropped from 31,078 in January, 2012 to 28,290 by December. Voyager suggests that people have been switching to the OpenSims grids, where the cost of doing business is lower.  And the recent closing of third-party currency exchanges as a result of changes to Linden Lab’s Terms of Service is likely to depress the economy in Second Life as some merchants pull out due to difficulties in cashing out Linden dollars into their local currencies.

The idea that people are switching to the OpenSim environments is an example of another reason why virtual worlds may be declining; the sheer multiplicity of options. As more and more online environments become available, the more likely it is that people will explore those and possibly stay. In the short term, there will be winners and losers as people migrate from metaverse A to metaverse B, but this will only serve to spread people across the worlds and not necessarily increase the overall use of virtual worlds. Just like entropy in the real universe, there will be some local “heating and cooling” in particular spots in the entire virtual universe but ultimately there will be fewer and fewer people in more and more worlds to the point, potentially, where everyone can have his or her private world, waiting for visitors to stop by for a while.

Finally, there is another significant finite resource to consider: time. With only 24 hours in a day, spending 6 hours in Second Life means not spending it in any other place. And the more new options that appear, the less time is available to players/residents. Competition for time continues to grow as new forms of social media present themselves. Newstead makes a crucial point when he says that “needs can be met elsewhere” because people who use Second Life for social reasons can take part in much larger social spheres using Facebook, Twitter, and even Google Circles! And the ubiquity of text messaging is such that for many people under 25 the idea of being in constant SMS contact with your friends is as natural as breathing.

The phrase, “So little time; so much to do” has never sounded more appropriate.

Sources

[1] Newstead, S. (2013). 5 Reasons Why Virtual Worlds Died. Blog Post, May 12, 2013. http://iteratingfun.com/post/50274986215/reasons-virtual-worlds-died

[2] Voyager, D. (2012). Second Life user concurrency 2012 winter update. Blog post December 5, 2012. http://danielvoyager.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/second-life-user-concurrency-2012-winter-update

 

 

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/metaverse-newswatch/p/4001677813/why-have-virtual-worlds-declined-the-metaverse-tribune Why Have Virtual Worlds Declined? | The Metaver…

    [...]   [...]

  • Talla Adam

    Sigmund is talking about the decline in virtual worlds in general – particularly gaming worlds like WOW – right across the spectrum but actually arrives at what we have been saying all along; the free Metaverse is growing and, far from not having purpose to exist as the writer of “5 Reasons why Virtual Worlds are in Decline” argues, we who advocate a free Metaverse know well that from all our experience in Second Life and in Opensim worlds, we continue to make our world and our imagination.

    A full response is at Google Plus community “Virtual Opensim”…

    https://plus.google.com/106115943375300299121/posts/iBfJULeCNm2

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.j.wiseman.9 Mark John Wiseman

    I am afraid I have to disagree with the owner of this gaming company, who seems to want to paint the picture that non-structured worlds have no future, and that gamified worlds (and therefor structured by rules) are the way forward. Also, quite scary, he says he would rather tap into a humans weakness for addiction to quick-fix rewards than actually create a living and breathing world based on its users. But then, they dó run a gaming company, and delivering continuous relatively meaningless rewards in a game is a way to create a succesfull business model; see Zinga and their Farmville example.

    So it may be true for an audience looking for a quick game or pre-cooked experience but does not apply to innovators, creatives and socially oriented web users. Those groups thrive in an open environment. The interesting thing here is, that those groups tend to go and create smaller, rule bound/contextualised, environments inside this open space, for instance by building a club and having a dance, or creating a learning experience for others to enjoy. this may result

    As for the figures, hypergridbusiness published their monthly figures again just yesterday, and it shows, again, a growth of the open-sim metaverse with another 1000 sims. Id rather trust the numbers. ;) http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2013/05/grid-outages-hurt-traffic-slow-growth/

    Bottom line to this is : Not everyone wants to have their dopamine and adrenaline pumped up all the time while they are enjoying their lives online. There is room for all kinds of experiences online..

  • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

    OpenSim’s long-term success will depend on federation instead of fragmentation. The main problem these days is that each grid operator (with a few notable exceptions) wants to become a “mini-Linden-Lab”, creating their own closed environment, with their own currency, their own content, and no way to use it on other grids. While this attitude can be seen as “protecting one’s investment”, it also means that, as time goes by, OpenSim will become more and more and more fragmented. And the more fragmented it becomes, the less of a “threat” it is to Linden Lab’s Second Life.

    By contrast, a fully-federated OpenSim-based environment would seriously get Linden Lab thinking again if it’s such a good idea to be the only player left out.

    So ultimately it all depends on LL’s attitude.

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/virtually-educated/p/4001847853/why-have-virtual-worlds-declined-the-metaverse-tribune Why Have Virtual Worlds Declined? | The Metaver…

    [...] In a recent blog post entitled, “5 Reasons Virtual Worlds Died” [1], Simon Newstead, the CEO of mobile games company, Frenzoo, paints a dismal picture of the slow decline in people's participation in virtual worlds.  [...]

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-media-literacy-cyber-arts-performance-centers-connected-to-broadband-networks/p/4001872948/why-have-virtual-worlds-declined-the-metaverse-tribune Why Have Virtual Worlds Declined? | The Metaver…

    [...] “So little time, so much to do.”In a recent blog post entitled, “5 Reasons Virtual Worlds Died” [1], Simon Newstead, the CEO of mobile games company, Frenzoo, paints a dismal picture of the slow decline in people’s participation in virtual worlds. He mentions the Second Life® environment by name and appears to be referring heavily to it in his list of criticism. And if not, he’s thinking in terms of the more “open, user-created” types of world, rather than the tightly constrained Halo® or Call of Duty® scenarios. To summarize, he argues that virtual worlds have (a) no purpose or goals, (b) no quick feedback, (c) no theme, (d) too much of a learning curve for newbies, and (d) the needs of players in these worlds can be met else- where. This may be true of Second Life or OpenSim grids but according to figures published in 2012, the online gaming community is still pretty strong and generating a lot of cash. A report generated by the marketing and consult- ing firm DFC Intelligence revealed that players of the game League of Legends logged over 1.3 billion hours of activity during the year, followed by a more modest – but still impressive – 600,000 hours logged by World of Warcraft devotees. Click headline to read more and view report–  [...]

ADVERTISEMENT
Tribunaries  »
The Virtual Heart»
Lights, Camera, Wannabe
Linus Lowbeam
Money, class and elegance are all that we desire. -BS Avatar elegantly moved down the red carpet, lights......
Read More  »
Stary Eye'd»
London City
Stary Dreamscape
This year I have been sifting through my inventory, searching for something a little special. I have......
Read More  »
Thinking Metaversely»
Second Life and Virtual Currency Entreprenuer Found Dead
Metacam Oh
Promising American entrepreneur Autumn Radtke was found dead nearby her Singapore residence on February 26. According to......
Read More  »
Are you interested in Technology, Virtual Worlds, the Internet, MMORPG's, and more?

Perhaps you would like to share your journey and exploration of the Metaverse? Contact us to join the Tribune team today!