In an article entitled Mathew Kumar on Why Virtual Worlds Miss the Mark, the writer, Natalie Caron notes that Kumar "...mentions that the Second Life user base is growing stagnant and even dwindling now, proving its weak long-term potential."
Kumar is apparently one of "Canada’s most renowned games journalists" so you have to think he does his homework. Well, coincidentally, as I was doing my homework for an upcoming article on IP and virtual worlds, I came across a posting dated February 1st, 2007, at the Law.com site. While giving some background information in Second Life, the author, John Bringardner says "More than 2.5 million people have visited Second Life, with 15,000-20,000 playing at any given time."
15,000-20,000 at a time? I have been tracking the concurrency rates informally for the past month and it hasn't been below 50,000 and is not unusually over 70,000. If tripling your numbers over two years is "stagnant," then either Canadians use a different dictionary from the rest of the world or Kumar is a little off target. Perhaps even - gulp - wrong!
There is no shortage of virtual world "experts" who pontificate at events, and I believe some of them might even have been inside a virtual world once or twice, but I can't be sure. Anyone who spend even a few hours on the internet googling Linden Lab and Second Life will, once they get past all the stories of perversion, sexual deviancy, and doom-saying, find that there has been growth in the company, growth in the population (of SL), and growth in investments.
Kumar, in what is either an effort to play at being "controversial" or a show of arrogant ignorance, concludes by condemning all virtual worlds to the flames. Says Caron, "So what is the future of virtual world games according to Mathew Kumar? Perhaps none at all. Mathew Kumar urges game developers to stick to real games as the virtual world genre’s failures and inherent flaws are bound to doom it."
I wonder if Kumar has a tattoo on his ass that says "insert own head here."
What, what? I'm just saying...