18 Second Life Facts in 2023: What It Means to Live in a Virtual World

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

Everyone seems to be talking about the metaverse nowadays, but rarely anybody mentions, or even remembers, the pioneer of this trend. Second Life is truly one of a kind online platform.

It did what the metaverse attempts to perform today, but nearly 20 years ago!

Philip Rosedale, its founder, has just returned to Linden Lab, the company behind this spectacle. That makes for a great time to go through some Second Life facts and see what the hype was all about.

Gripping Second Life Facts (Editor’s Choice):

  • Second Life was created in 2003 by Philip Rosedale.
  • It has over 70 million registered accounts.
  • Its accounts still grow with around 350,000 new ones each month.
  • Second Life has a daily average of 200,000 users from 200 countries.
  • Currently, Second Life has 27,334 regions.
  • According to 2021 statistics, Second Life creators cashed out $80 million over the past 12 months.
  • Second Life’s gross domestic product is at around $600 million.
  • Its own currency is called the Linden Dollar.

What is Second Life?

Is Second Life a game, a platform, or both? There are many questions regarding it as it’s rather hard to fully comprehend. Fear not, that’s why we’re here.

1. Although it may look like one, Second Life is not intended to be a game.

(Source: NBC News) 

Perhaps you’ve already heard about it, so you came here wondering “what is this Second Life game?”

Well, first of all, it’s not a game. At least not according to its creators. Their reasoning why it couldn’t be a game lies beneath the fact that it has no set objective. It also features no conflict, letting its users do whatever they want.

2. Philip Rosedale created Second Life back in 2003.

(Source: Input) 

Rosedale is the CEO of Linden Lab and lead developer of Second Life. He stepped down from his CEO role in 2008 to focus on virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). He moved over to his other company, High Fidelity, and was uninvolved in Second Life for over 10 years. 

At the start of 2022, Philip returned to Linden Lab as a strategic advisor. Most probably, the metaverse’s popularity is what made him come back. As somebody who already has a product similar to the metaverse’s intentions, he has the upper hand. The question is whether or not he’ll succeed in making it popular again.

3. There are lots of fun things to do in Second Life.

(Source: The Life Quadriplegic) 

Second Life is not a game, but it can be seen as one. At least that’s what most of its users have already done. You can roleplay, explore different worlds, go to clubs, or even have jobs. There are SL users that got famous as in-game photographers. Need we say more?

4. For the most part, Second Life is free to use.

(Source: QRCA) 

If you are wondering whether Second Life is still a thing, the answer is very much yes… and that’s in part because it’s free to download. Spending time in SL is also free and you can find a lot of free items as well while doing that. 

If you want to enhance your experience, you’ll need to pay up, though. Money is required to decorate your home, buy land, and customize your character, among other things.

5. Second Life has multiple worlds.

(Source: My Interesting Facts) 

They’re known as grids. This is where you perform all activities and chat with other people.

According to Second Life stats, most of its grids are closed, or just inaccessible to the general public. There are only two big official ones, Agni and Aditi.

The first is also called the Main Grid and it’s where most of the action happens. The second, also known as the Beta Grid, is intended for platform testing before moving on to Agni.

6. There were 27,334 Second Life regions in mid-February 2022.

(Source: Daniel Voyager) 

Grids have many regions. The main one, for instance, has almost 30,000! This number is on the rise even in 2022. Second Life facts reveal that 18,311 of all regions are currently private, while the remaining 9,033 are owned by Linden Lab.

In comparison, at the start of 2021, there were a total of 25,555 regions and only 17,024 of them were private.

7. You can access Second Life through its viewers.

(Source: My Interesting Facts) 

The apps that let you access everything SL has to offer are called Viewers and it has multiple of them. The official one is primarily free, though, a quick glance at Second Life stats reveals that there are  plenty of third-party viewers. Not only do some of them make SL completely free, they can also offer even better character customization.

Most importantly, you can use them to access the world from different devices, such as smartphones.

8. You need to be at least 16 years old to use Second Life.

(Source: My Interesting Facts) 

It was allowed for 13 to 15-year-olds, but only if they needed it for school or a project of similar nature.

Enter Teen Second Life. This specific version of SL was made in 2005 and used its own so-called Teen Grid, which was available for any upcoming Second Life member aged 13-17. It was accepted pretty well as it was great for educational purposes. Even schools loved it, for the time it was around at least.

9. The Teen Grid was merged with the Main Grid in 2011.

(Source: THE Journal) 

Teen Second Life became rather big and consequently, maintaining it, in addition to the regular SL, became too big of a challenge. Because of production costs, Linden Lab decided to shut down the teen version entirely. Any land owned by users under 16 was sold off, while the avatars of those aged under 16 was put on hold until they reached the needed age.

10. Esteban Winsmore and Ralph Pootawn were some of the biggest Second Life trolls.

(Source: VICE) 

SL doesn’t fare well with many people because of its backlash. It’s often criticized because too many people have “virtual sex” there, or aim to fulfill their weirdest fantasies. For some, that turned it into a place for “trolling” other users. Ralph Pootawn, a troll avatar, mocked virtual sex participants by spying on them. 

Another popular one goes by the name of Esteban Winsmore. They even managed to revive the game by mocking others and trespassing into their territory in 2013. Their exploits are still up on YouTube.

Second Life Demographics and User Count

What has kept Second Life alive all these years is its user base. It has way more people than one would think, even for 2022, almost 20 years after its conception. Let’s see exactly how much that is!

11. There are over 70 million registered Second Life accounts.

(Source: Daniel Voyager)

At least that’s how many were in June 2021. We can’t tell if this number has reached the 80 million mark by now, but honestly, we highly doubt it.

Though, a pretty known among all Second Life facts is the one concerning its rapidly growing user base in the late 2000s. Of course, that doesn’t mean it stopped rising after that. Its growth is pretty consistent and certainly satisfactory, especially considering all the circumstances. It had 40 million accounts in December 2014 and reached 61 million on October 7, 2019. Not bad at all!

12. Second Life has around 350,000 new accounts each month.

(Source: Daniel Voyager)

Those who called it a failed, dead project couldn’t be more wrong. Nobody can argue with the stats, which reveal 350,000 new registrations each month! Even in 2022, people report that they’re unable to enter a certain location. That, of course, wouldn’t happen on a dead platform.

13. As of February 2022, Second Life has an average of 40,000 concurrent users.

(Source: Daniel Voyager)

Do people still play Second Life? The number of its concurrent users currently ranges from 30,000 to 50,000. You tell us. The peak number for 2022 even reached 55,737—pretty close to 2021’s record of 57,746 users.

14. The peak number of concurrent active Second Life users is 88,220.

(Source: Daniel Voyager)

The platform had its highest concurrent user count on March 29, 2009. This even further confirms Second Life’s incredible run with numbers soaring sky high in the 2006-2009 period. 

It started with only 6,000 concurrent users in the beginning of 2006. By the end of the same year, that number jumped to 20,015! Nearing the end of 2007, the peak concurrency was recorded at 50,872 active users. In September 2008, 70,000 users were online at the same time.

15. On average, Second Life has 200,000 daily users that come from 200 countries.

(Source: Daniel Voyager)

If 50,000 doesn’t sound like much, what would say about 200,000? Second Life stats claim that’s the average number of daily active users.

Even more fascinating is how they come from approximately 200 countries. SL is open for users all around the world and it sure puts the “worldwide” in “worldwide phenomenon”!

Second Life Revenue

Not much is known about SL’s revenue since Linden Lab is not a public company. There are many knowledgeable enthusiasts with info on the platform, but we still don’t know how much it makes. What’s more, info on creators and the marketplace is pretty scarce, too. Still, here’s everything we know about it.

16. Second Life has a virtual currency of its own.

(Source: QRCA) 

It’s called Linden Dollar, and it was planned to resemble its real-life counterpart. You can even trade these on an open exchange. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as worthy as it used to be.

In the past, one US dollar used to have nearly the same value as a Linden one. In 2020, though, one US dollar was worth 320 Linden dollars. At least that’s good news for people looking to get into the game in 2022—they can get much more items for less real-life currency.

17. Second Life had a $600 million GDP in June 2021.

(Source: Daniel Voyager)

It’s not meant to be a game, yet it’s still bigger than most of them. SL had an astonishing revenue, even in 2021. Near the second half of the year, its gross domestic product was estimated at $600 million. The Second Life economy is going pretty strong because it still gains money from all the subscription fees.

18. According to mid-June 2021 stats, creators in Second Life cashed out $80 million over the past 12 months.

(Source: Daniel Voyager) 

Second Life still has many profitable creators. It’s much harder to become one from scratch than it used to be, though. The competition on the Second Life marketplace is fierce, but some still manage to make a living out of it. Creator cash-outs in 12 months prior to June 2021 are approximately at $80 million. Not all that surprising, since some have been taking part in this for the last 10 years.

Wrap Up

The time has come to leave the grid and return to real life. We hope our Second Life facts have made you consider visiting its big, colorful world.

It’s the perfect time to do so! The metaverse might be becoming increasingly popular, but don’t forget, this is the platform that started it all.

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.