GamesBeat have published a very intersting article : Comparing the virtual worlds of Warcraft, Second Life, and Eve Online to our own yields some surprising stats. The article itself links to a funky report by digital marketing agency Epiphany with a blurb of :
The online world is very different to our own, with new rules, new races, and new ways of living. There are, however, some similarities – take a look at our breakdown of the internet’s biggest virtual worlds to find out how they measure up against real life.
This isn’t the most detailed report in the world but the site does provide some interesting stats. Introducing Second Life they say:
Second Life is seen as an online marketplace as well as a game, and many players have been able to earn serious cash thanks to the easy way in-game currency can be sold for real-world money. More casual players use the game to build, customise and create, developing a literal second life in which their character can live out the player’s desires and fantasies – whether that’s a mansion and a helipad or the romance of a lifetime!
The website has a series of icons which lead to other little gems of information when clicked, I’m not going to cover them all but I’ll mention a few. In terms of Second Life they point out that English is the most popular language with 54% of users speaking that language, which compares to 18% in the real world.
Between 2006 and 2011, global internet usage doubled in growth – in the same timeframe, Second Life saw a 4000% increase in users.
That’s rather impressive. Another interesting point is made with regards to financial institutions and economies, although I’m not sure things happened exactly as they seem to suggest :
In 2007, Second Life saw a huge financial incident which mirrored the bank crises we’ve seen in the real world since the start of the recession. When the developers announced that gambling in-game would be officially banned, thousands of users rushed to Ginko Financial, an in-game bank offering astronomical interest rates, to retrieve and sell the currency from their accounts. This caused a run on the bank which eventually resulted in a complete shut-down – wiping out around $750,000 (£457,736) in real world money. The incident has since been used by financial experts across the web as an example of what happens when banks fail to self-regulate.
The part where I disagree with them is regarding the rush of people to Ginko. I don’t remember that happening, I do remember the Ginko scandal but I don’t recall a rush due to the gambling ban. I can recall arguing with people that if real life banks faced a close down in the manner that Second Life banks did that there would be a rush on the banks that they wouldn’t be able to handle.