And the numbers, as they say, just keep on climbing…
Total signups, having just cracked the two-million mark in December, are now within the ace of breaking three million. The 60-day return visits counter stands at over one million, and user concurrency routinely breaks 25,000 most days now. The infrastructure is decidedly showing strain; reports of database-related issues are now almost an everyday occurrence, and even the secondlife.com Web site itself seems to be slowing down. (Given that the Web site is crucial to so many parts of SL, including the LindeX and the land auction system, that’s not good.)
Boom times are definitely here, though. LL has added over 600 new sims to the Grid this month–more than they added in all of December, and we still have a week to go. A message I got recently from Sirux Mahoney of the Fantasyland group (home of the Evans Family Compound) ends with this message: “As from February, we plan to bring up 4 new sims each month.” And I recall seeing, not long ago, that LL was adding fifty new sims to the southwest edge of the southern Mainland continent. Despite this, land demand remains high, pushing average land prices up to L$12.32/sq.m, up 25% from December. The LindeX exchange rate continues to hover at around L$265/US$1, probably because Supply Linden has been pumping L$ into the economy like it was going out of style; nearly L$200 million last month, and over L$120 million month-to-date. This keeps injecting liquidity into the system to match the expansion of the economy.
So, despite the words of the “Negative Nancies” out there, people are still pouring in, apparently from all over the place. Griefer attacks continue, but apparently they’re getting more creative, not resorting to the tired old “prim boy parts” (to use Allie’s phrase) as self-replicating objects. And innovation continues to appear on the Grid, not only from large corporate presence (Pontiac’s six-sim Motorati island is fun to drive around), but from other sources as well, such as The Dune Project, highlighted recently by Reverend Watermelonmother Torley. That’s a sim you’ve got to see to believe, and this is the sort of thing I envisioned SL being used for in the first place. (At left: Danielle and I become sandriders, wearing our new stillsuits and standing atop Shai-Hulud.)
Even today, I can still look at SL with a sense of it being a great adventure, a great experiment that no one knows the outcome of. The star is still ascending, and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. I imagine Philip sitting in his office, looking at it all–the current Grid map, the statistics pages, the “heartbeat” of the world he’s created–and getting the biggest damned grin on his face at what he sees.
“The human adventure is just beginning,” – Star Trek: The Motion Picture