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March 9, 2009

Economy hits Second Life

Posted: 10:29 AM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=

caption="While many retailers in the real world suffer, some still are still opening in Second Life."]
We know the economy is not doing so well in the real world, but what about virtual worlds? More specifically, Second Life, which has its own economy and system of money. iReporters in Second Life have been sharing stories of how the real world economy is having an effect on the economy there - and the outlook is mixed.

“I am quite amazed that lots of businesses in Second Life still push for higher prices when so many people in the real world are losing their jobs," Second Life avatar Janey Bracken said.
"As Second Life expands with so many new people coming in lately, you wonder if less people will actually be bringing money into the virtual world, as it's going to be way down on the list of real-life expenditure as the credit crunch tightens.” Read her iReport

iReporter Wil Perian interviewed other Second Life residents on the changes they were seeing. “As the real life economy is a bit more unstable, Second Life will be a bit more stable," said Czari Zenovka, a business owner in Second Life. "One dollar goes a lot farther in Second Life than real life." Read more about this on

Jojogirl Bailey, another avatar business owner, told Perian, “I really think it is affecting folks who were spending large amounts of real money to fund their Second Life stuff.”

According to Linden Labs, the owners of Second Life, the number of total unique users with “positive monthly Linden flow” has actually increased in the past six months, though it did drop from September to November.

iReporter Martyn Vantelli spoke with avatar Kirsty25 Brune who is trying to start up a Second Life employment agency. She tells Vantelli, “I have met a lot of people that want this to work that already have businesses and need employees.” However, she has found that setting up her new business is not so easy. Read more about the employment market in Second Life

Despite these challenges, most of the iReporters and interviewees in Second Life are hopeful for the future. As Perian says, “The economy continues to go down and rarely do we hear some positive news. Perhaps it is Second Life that is giving us that bit of hope.”

Check out more iReport news at the iReport Blog.

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Filed under: economy • Internet

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wilson09   March 9th, 2009 3:21 pm ET

Electronic Supply Chain Forecast: It's bad out there, but there are positive signs amid the negative insanity of gut reactions.

I’m not quite the pessimist of some forecasters out there. A bright spot is electronics, for which December and January sales did not... That said, January shipments were 13% lower... Fear drove December’s IC bookings down to $7.4B, with January...That took content rates below... Another way to look at it is the yearly run rate, which was around 1994/95 levels. So inventory is dropping like a rock. These fear levels are sheer insanity. (

Mike   March 10th, 2009 7:03 am ET

While slightly out of date, shows that population growth for Second Life has stagnated even slightly dropping. charts are based on press releases from the companies, not 3rd parties.

MMOs, and games in general, are an escape. They are an escape from the real world, so riddle me this, why would anyone want a game that seems to copy the real world?

Mark C   March 10th, 2009 11:22 am ET

wilson09: Wff does the "electronic supply chain forecast" have to do with Second Life? Nobody cares.

Roni Scarmon   March 10th, 2009 2:34 pm ET

It's OK not to like Second Life – I'm not a football fan. But I don't go around calling football fans pathetic idiots. To each his own!

I'm sorry you were apparently unsatisfied with SL, assuming you ever tried it to begin with. But the attitude of your post says a lot for why that may be the case; you apparently don't work and play well with others.

So, I think I am speaking for most of SL's netizens when I say we're just as happy you choose not to play. There are enough jerks out there trying to disturb the peace already.

Holymakko   March 10th, 2009 6:57 pm ET

Nicely balanced piece. As a long time Second Life resident, I do not share the same optimism I once did about SL, its economy, and its future. Debacles like the announced 60%+ price hike on some land products have upset thousands of people and left a bad taste in their mouths. Add to this the almost always empty large corporate buildings, the number of large companies abandoning their SL presence, and the future does not look so rosy.

Having said that, within a year, serious competitors to SL will emerge and I believe this will be a good thing for SL and its economy; choice is a good thing, and a virtual monopoly is not in the long term. Virtual worlds like SL do hold a lot of promise, and I believe are here to stay.

Andrew   March 10th, 2009 8:22 pm ET

Psh. That's nothing. The rich are getting richer in Azeroth, and it's to the point where an honest Engineer like me can't even sell high-level crafting materials anymore.

Tailors and blacksmiths are raising their prices for Lich King armor, but who can blame them, with the prices of raw materials being what they are? Alchemists are going out of work left and right since potion-chugging was nerfed for Northrend dungeons. Scribes are a copper-a-stack and have been since the pre-WotLK patch, but only the very best glyphs are in demand anymore.

Still, the only bright spot is jewelcrafting. Even in bad times, people want their bling for their socket items. Nobody wants to imagine the derision they would face or the whispers behind their backs if they went to raid with un-gemmed sockets in their raiding outfit. It would be...unseemly, dahling. Oh, heavens, just *try* and get a regular invitation to weekly events again! You'll be shunned, positively shunned, and relegated to wiping with five-person heroic pickup groups that formed from /yells in major faction cities! *shudder*

Doug C   March 10th, 2009 9:07 pm ET

Second Life has been a mystery for years. No one can actually gather the correct daily user base. Linden will not give a true figure. When you go into SL there is never anyone around yet SL continues to state a good economy. The bulk of SL users are on the free account, this isnt helping bring in money. Second life is nothing more than WoW, Warhammer Online, The Sims, Star Wars etc. yes you could make money when it first debute but currently no one makes a living in SL. Of course there will be those who contradicte this comment but the simple way to do it instead of yada yada is provide actually data that seems to be more hidden than Obamas agenda. Until then have fun playing the online game called Second Life...

arnbkr   March 10th, 2009 10:45 pm ET

Enough of Second Life already. It's not even a has been, it's a never was.

Mike   March 11th, 2009 10:34 am ET

I've never really seen a use for Second Life. It strikes me as a waste of time. That said, I welcome constructive comments that can inform me on the usefulness of Second Life. Maybe you can change my opinion. 🙂

Mark C   March 11th, 2009 2:46 pm ET

*** but currently no one makes a living in SL ***

You haven't got a clue what you're talking about. I know several people that make their entire income in SL.

Mark C   March 11th, 2009 2:53 pm ET

In January 2009, 621 SL users had positive cash flow of more than $2000 for the month. And that includes only in-world sales. It would be higher if sales of SL merchandise on external web sites were included.

Teresa Ashby   March 11th, 2009 4:21 pm ET

Second Life serves a very useful purpose for many people. For example, I am surprized by the numbers of people (avatars) I meet who are very ill, or are taking care of very ill people. The people behind these avatars are unable to go out and have a social life in the real world, but Second Life allows them to make friends, and socialize.

Also, many people are too busy in their first lives to have much of a social life. With Second Life they can sign on and see their friends, and even date. There are many sims that I visit that are so busy that I can't even get in. If you think Second Life is empty, you are going to the wrong places. And, yes, many people make their living there.

It is better to get accurate information before you make statements that are untrue. Take Care, –Teresa

Franko   March 11th, 2009 5:10 pm ET

Great concept, marketers missing out, try out virtually, before you buy
Don't have to take back, just delete.

Try out my avatar, before the nuptual, required by marriage insurance ?

Mark   March 13th, 2009 1:30 am ET

Why in gods name do you keep pushing 2nd life? Its a game for old people that NO ONE plays yet you keep pushing it like is has the membership of World of Warcraft WHY?

Its a stupid game thats a rip off of the SIMS SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY!

R   June 10th, 2009 9:45 am ET

I made millions of L$ (thousands of US$) selling slaves on SL. It was a great market and it's one thing not possible in real life. The economy crisis stopped it. I hope I can reopen the slave market as soon as possible when the economy will restart to run. I had an incredible number of customers and an incredible number of women waiting to be sold as slaves. it was funny and very very very profitable.

Awaken Yoshikawa   January 14th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

I have been in second life for over 2 years. In that time, I have made quite a bit of money in sl doing land trades and also lost quite a bit. Like real life, that is one of the risks of doing business. There is no difference I can see from this or any other pastime.

Everyday people go and spend thousands of dollars on different spots equipment with dreams of being a superstar athlete (at 40!) or go take classes at the local community college with some dream that odds are will never be fulfilled. (remember when everyone was going to be a web designer?)

Money can me made in second life. But not quick money, it takes real planning and effort (business plan), some imagination and some luck.

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