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.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.