Linden Labs has quieted down a bit since the Second Life hype and subsequent backlash of a few months ago. But the current issue of Technology Review contains some boggling statistics in their article Second Earth:
According to [CTO] Ondrejka, Linden Lab must purchase and install more than 120 servers every week to keep up with all the new members pouring into Second Life.
Second Life, meanwhile, is gaining roughly 25,000 members a day, sometimes stretching Linden Lab's ability to keep its simulations running smoothly.
Let's reality check that. 120 servers a week is 6000 servers a year, or roughly $25 million a year in hardware expenses alone, not to mention power. I sure hope they're not actually spending that. And 25,000 members a day is 9 million users a year, or just about doubling their 30 day active population in 40 days. Frankly, I don't believe those numbers. Maybe it was a really great week when the reporter called.

Snarks aside, kudos to Linden for becoming so transparent in publishing data. There's some interesting third party analysis. If I read this right, they sold L$ 136M into the game economy last month. At a current exchange rate of about 1:270, does that mean they made $500,000 in real US dollars? Still nowhere near enough to buy 120 servers a week, but at least it's real money. I may well be wrong about their economy though.

  2007-07-10 22:24 Z