Yankee Group Says Hype of Second Life Far Outweighs Its Ability to Impact Mainstream Interactivity
Future Growth and Consumer Relevance Will Be Limited by the Tethered Experience of Virtual Worlds
Boston, MA, October 16, 2007—Yankee Group today revealed that the hype surrounding Second Life doesn’t match its actual marketplace impact. Despite near-continuous coverage in the popular and business press, metaverses like Second Life are experiencing slowing growth and limited impact because of the tethered nature of their virtual world experience.
According to the revised Yankee Group Note, Wither Second Life, which is now titled A Second Look at Second Life, the decline in average use is pronounced for both the total registered Resident population and the unique Resident population. Average use per Unique Resident fell 66% in the past year to 3.8 hours per month. The decline in average use is compounded by the fact that less than one percent of the total Resident population engages in the site in a regular and sustained fashion, underscoring the challenge of using virtual worlds to reach a broad mainstream audience. The Note considers a number of factors contributing to this niche appeal, but concludes that Second Life’s PC-centric approach in an increasingly mobile world is to blame.
"All is not lost with virtual worlds,” said Christopher Collins, senior analyst in Yankee Group’s Consumer Research group. "However, for virtual worlds and metaverses to achieve greater potential in the marketplace and grow beyond early adopters, the experience must be untethered to meet the needs of the Anywhere Consumer™. Companies that provide remote access—through mobile devices or other means—to their web experience will have a greater impact than pc-centric companies."
This Yankee Group Note underscores the importance of Anywhere access for online community environments and includes recommendations on how all companies—not just metaverses—can strive to integrate their PC-centric features with mobile features.
Yankee Group (www.yankeegroup.com)
The people of Yankee Group are the global connectivity experts-the leading source of insight and counsel trusted by builders, operators and users of connectivity solutions for nearly 40 years. We are uniquely focused on the evolution of Anywhere connectivity, and chart the pace of technology change and its effect on networks, consumers and enterprises. Headquartered in Boston, Yankee Group has a global presence, including operations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Visit www.yankeegroup.com.