Those of you who know me, know that I currently work as a Systems Engineer for Linden Lab, and we make and run the biggest and best virtual world in existence — Second Life. Unlike the real-world economy, the economy in SL is still growing by leaps and bounds. That link is to the Q2 economy report where, among other stats, it’s pointed out that we did $50 million per month in user-to-user transactions (that’s in real US$ not L$). That’s an increase of 94% from last year. Virtual land ownership increased 11% from last year, and both user hours (126 million) and peak concurrent users (88,000) were all time highs. About 750,000 unique members logged into Second Life at least twice last month.
With resident-owned land growing by 7% last quarter to 1.74 billion square meters of land, SL is larger than Bahrain, Singapore, or Tonga. That population of around 750,000 would make it #161 in the world, right between Guyana and Bhutan. The size of the economy could be estimated as being bigger than Timor or Samoa, with a $560 million GDP ($765 per resident). See this interesting blog post for some more comparisons to the real-world.
Second Life isn’t just for furry sex, goreans, flying penises, and selling virtual hair and clothes. Check out the multiple case studies from corporations and government agencies using the virtual world successfully for meetings, conferences, trainings, recruitings, prototyping, simulations, marketing, and tons of other things. One of my favorites is one that I got a chance to directly work on — the story of how IBM built out a private grid and is holding successful conferences in-world. They’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, and other companies have been jumping on the bandwagon.
I work in Systems Engineering in the Boston office of Linden Lab (we have offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Mountain View, Davis, Boston, Brighton (UK), Virginia, and Singapore). Our group is responsible for maintaining and scaling the systems that keep the grid running, and deploying and designing additional systems and services to keep the grid running well into the future. One other statistic that hits me closer to home is that we remained at nearly 99.9% uptime this past quarter, and had total downtime of 0.24% as a percentage of user hours (downtime during peak times of the day hurts more than downtime in the middle of the night).
So why am I writing all of this right now? We’re hiring! There is a variety of open positions , including at least one for a Systems Engineer. So, if you’re interested, and you think it might be for you, and you might fit somewhere, or just want more information, let me know directly and I’ll help point you in the right direction.