Second Life may be the 8000 pound gorilla in the virtual worlds universe, but it’s not the only one. There are several dozen worlds for you to choose from, though most are still small and even the largest doesn’t yet come close to matching Second Life’s massive user base.
Comparing worlds by population size is not easy, because of the difficulty in determining how many are actually active users, of determining how many are multiple avatars of a single person, and because not all worlds report population in the same way.
An alternate way of measuring world size is by the number of regions in that world. HypergridBusiness.com reports that the dozen largest virtual worlds (Open Sim worlds and Second Life) by region are:
- Second Life: 31,552 regions
- OSGrid: 5,758 regions
- Avination: 925 regions
- Virtual Worlds Grid: 819 regions
- InWorldz: 816 regions
- New World Grid: 612 regions
- ScienceSim: 338 regions (for science researchers and projects)
- AlphaTowne: 316 regions
- Meta7: 292 regions
- NexXtLife: 288 regions
- FrancoGrid: 262 regions (French speaking)
- MyOpenGrid: 245 regions
OSGrid is run by the same group that has established the Open Sim platform for hosting virtual worlds. All the virtual worlds on this list except Second Life are based on it. It has a feature that will appeal to people like me: the ability to host a region in the world on your own computer, at no cost other than the cost of operating your computer.
Avination has unique feature that I haven’t encountered in other worlds: although when you’re creating your account, it forces you to choose from a list of avatar last names, you can change it to your Second Life avatar name through a two step process in which you first register your Second Life name with Avination and then visit an Avination ATM in Second Life, where you complete the linkage. Avination appears to also offer the ability to use the ATM for transferring funds between it and Second Life through these ATMs, though I didn’t try it.
InWorlds is the world that people I know personally in Second Life are beginning to migrate to, and it’s the world that most favorably impressed me when I first logged on.
I wasn’t able to open an account in Virtual Worlds Grid. I tried but wasn’t able to navigate to the account creation page. Maybe they were having problems today, but it’s the most confusing page I’ve seen in any of the worlds.
The other world where I had a problem was New World Grid. I got several errors when I tried opening my account, including being told that my password was too short (it was) and that my email address was invalid (it wasn’t). When I tried reentering the information, it told me that the avatar already existed, so I tried logging and had no problem, despite the too-short password.
However when I tried creating a second avatar, I got the very same errors but this time I wasn’t able to log on with that avatar. Very confusing!
I use the Imprudence viewer for logging into all these worlds; if a world isn’t listed in the Grids on the Imprudence login page, you can use the Grid Manager to add it. You can also use other viewers, including Phoenix and Hippo.