I guess that we will only have a definitive answer to that when Linden Lab reveals the transaction data for December 2009, and compares it to last year. My guess is that the difference will be small — enough for Linden Lab to tell everybody that the economy is growing as usual (or as predicted), but it won’t be growing 900% a year, like it did from 2006 to 2007. If it grew 9% this year, it would already be quite nice.
There is, however, something that seems not to be growing at all: the number of residents that remain in Second Life. We are still getting the usual number of signups, close to 10.000 per day. It’s not exactly zero growth! But… none of them stay long enough to make a difference in the number of active users. Linden Lab, for the past few months, have dropped the number of registered users from the statistics and just announce the number of active ones: around a million these days, although I have seen lower figures quoted. The number of users on the login database, however, probably reach 17 million or so, but that’s just my guesstimate.
Where do all those 10.000 users-per-day go? Why don’t we see them around? Why do they leave, often merely minutes after they’ve registered? What’s so fundamentally wrong with Second Life that scares so many users away?